Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Still Using Business Cards?

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” – Laurence Sterne

I have definitely noticed that over the last five years or so, the need for giving someone your business card has decreased.

With all of the exposure, your firm gets via your webpage, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. people know how to get in touch with you. People can Google your name and find you. That is why it is so important for ALL your contact information to be on your website. I still find it disappointing when I look for an email address of a CPA and their website discourages visitors from easily contacting people at the firm.

All that being said, I know that the majority of CPAs still carry and distribute business cards. For young people at the firm (and maybe for some older ones), there are some etiquette rules surrounding how you distribute your business card.

Here’s a great article via Fast Company – How to give out your business card without seeming like a jerk. Here are the tips (but got to the article to find out more about each tip).

  1. Don’t use them to impress
  2. Don’t rush to give your card out
  3. Choose the right situation
  4. Make sure it’s presentable
  5. Think about what the card says

When I was working at a firm, I encouraged our newest team members to place their business card in those goldfish bowls at restaurants so that the firm name showed through the glass!

  • Civility costs nothing and buys everything.
  • Mary Wortley Montagu

Monday, July 1st, 2019

That Mystical Place…. the Cloud

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Now that tax season is over and somewhat slower summer months are upon us, I am hearing from and talking directly to more CPA practitioners.

I continue to be amazed at the slowness with which so many accounting firms are advancing in paperless and movement to the cloud. Many firms tell me that they are paperless in that they don’t keep paper files. Yet, they admit that paper still flows around the office (client source documents, route sheets, etc.). As for the cloud, they confess that they are “somewhat” in the cloud.

That’s why a blog via Right Networks and written by Gene Marks caught my eye. He explains The Five Risks of Not Going To The Cloud. He notes, “Yes, you should be leveraging the cloud for all of your firm’s data – including your clients’ data. In fact, not doing so creates more risk than rewards.”

I hope you take the time to read the article that explains more about these five significant risks:

  1. The risk of data loss.
  2. The risk of your internal infrastructure.
  3. The risk of your IT staff.
  4. The risk of security.
  5. The client expectation risk.

Read more here.

  • For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

A Reminder About the Rosenberg Survey

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” – Mark Twain
The Rosenberg Survey is so valuable to me as I talk with CPA firm clients throughout the year. Don’t forget to take part in this year’s survey. The deadline is July 15th.
Why is The Rosenberg Survey Valuable?
  • Customized comparison of like-sized firms in similar markets for participating firms.
  • Accurate and valid results reviewed by three CPAs.
  • Reliable year-over-year comparisons with a return rate of 82% from previous year’s participants.
  • A robust pool of 360 participants makes our data relevant to firms of all sizes.
  • Clear cut data displayed by firm size for comparison.
Click the link below today to take part!
to participate in the Rosenberg Survey!
  • Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
  • Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

It’s Time to Talk About That Elephant

“You’re not learning anything unless you’re having the difficult conversations.” – Gwyneth Paltrow

Maybe you have already had your annual partner retreat. Did you talk about the elephant in the room?

Maybe your annual retreat is coming up soon. Will you talk about the elephant in the room?

I have been involved in and facilitated many retreats and often, as the old saying goes, it is like pulling teeth to get partners to be completely honest and talk about the elephant.

Whether you are in a partner meeting or in a performance feedback session with a team member, it can be difficult to address those elephants.

Marlene Chism has some great advice for discussing the undiscussables in her article via SmartBrief. She gives some specific, practical advice on how to:

  1. Get out of your head
  2. Get out of the story
  3. Own your stuff
  4. Set a positive intention

Read the article and begin to practice these helpful tools.

  • Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
  • Ambrose Bierce

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Flashback Friday – Young CPAs Start Sooner!

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking

If you are not a young CPA – I hope you share this blog post with young CPAs. There is so much more to becoming a successful CPA than just knowing how to do the work.

  • It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
  • John Wooden

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Continuous Testing for the CPA Exam

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”     Jack Canfield

Great news for your future CPAs. In case you haven’t heard, continuous testing for the CPA Exam has been approved.

Be sure you are constantly encouraging your new hires to take the Exam! Here’s some information released by the Ohio Society of CPAs:

Soon CPA exam candidates won’t have to wait until the next testing window to retake a section, thanks to a revised NASBA rule.

In April the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approved the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2) rule, stating “…a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” The news was announced in the May board report.

“It’s one of those things that everyone has always wanted,” said Laura Hay, CPA, vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “It’s just now the administration and technology have all caught up.”

Most states, including Ohio, will have to change their rules to permit the revision, but Hay predicted most states will be in favor, and it will be a question of resources and how quickly they are able to make the change.

For future test-takers, this means saving valuable time on that 18-month countdown that begins once candidates pass the first section. According to the AICPA website, with the current system, if you take a section of the exam on July 20, you would have to wait until October to take the next section, despite receiving your score on August 6.

The plan is to roll out continuous testing by July 2020.

  • Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience.
  • Fennel Hudson

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Many Firms Are Adding An Extra Holiday – July 5th

“Holidays – any holiday – are such a great opportunity to focus on bringing the family together.” – Lidia Bastianich

Many firms do actually close their office on Fridays during the summer months. I was curious about how many additional firms were going to close this year on Friday, July 5th and treat their team to a four-day weekend.

I surveyed firms of all sizes all across the country. Replies came from Ohio, Vermont, Georgia, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Dakota.

The majority of firms are closing. Several are assuming most people will take a PTO day. To me, this means someone must be in the office for calls and visitors. Some have very creative ways of handling “bonus” days and a few are very generous (allowing 2 extra days off or more).
60% of those responding are closing, 30% are not and 10% are closing but it will be charged to PTO. One firm closes for the entire week because “it is our slowest week of the year.” Another firm allows one floating holiday for each summer month (June, July, August) and assumes most people will use July 5th as their floater. And, one larger firm has unlimited PTO and assumes most people will request July 5 but the office will be open. A western firm notes that they always close the day after July 4th no matter what day it falls because most of their team will be out late watching fireworks and celebrating.
I hope this information will be helpful to you in planning for the future. This year December 23rd is a Monday (and most firms now have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as holidays). You have time to decide how you will handle that quiet business day. Being generous is never a bad thing.
  • Liberty is the breath of life to nations.
  • George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Small Firms Can Also Use AI for Audit

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa

I work with a lot of smaller firms. They are always looking for ways to stay competitive and to take advantage of as much technology as possible. Sometimes small firms assume they can’t compete with what the big national and regional firms are doing.

In a recent article via The Journal of Accountancy, Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA tells the story of how her 15 person firm is using artificial intelligence to identify high-risk transactions as part of its auditing process.

One line caught my attention. It is an important issue for small CPA firms. Do you still have servers on site? Bowling says, “We used to have seven servers on-site. Now everything is in the cloud. We used to be able to remote in to our servers before, but it was slow. The remote access is much better in the cloud. It’s night and day. I’m excited because I’ve never had access to this much technology.”

Just because you are a small firm doesn’t mean you have to think small! Read this article!

  • Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

New Internet Domain for CPAs

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA.

AICPA to Oversee New Internet Domain for CPAs

.CPA Will Enhance Trust and Branding of Profession in the Digital World

LAS VEGAS (June 10, 2019) –The American Institute of CPAs is in the process of being awarded the .cpa domain and is currently in a contract execution phase with the Internet’s global governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The AICPA’s role in administering .cpa will provide a defined global domain for CPAs worldwide to connect with their clients with increased trust, security, and verification.

The Internet, like most things, is evolving. ICANN is charged with developing important future drivers for connection in the digital world. As part of this mission, it has expanded the top-level domain structure to aid navigation on the Internet and support trusted and value-based entities and communities. To supplement traditional top-level domains such as .com, .edu and .org, ICANN has approved more than 1,200 specialized domain extensions – including Amazon’s .aws, Google’s launch of .app, as well as those for other well-known businesses, governments, and institutions, such as .vanguard, .barclays, .kpmg, .mlb, and .nyc.

“By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the president and CEO of the AICPA. “We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

The new domain extension will be available to CPAs and their firms and will signal a clear connection to the profession. For example, Firm Name, LLC, could have a website address of www.firmname.cpa. Jane Smith, an employee at that firm, could have an email address ofjsmith@firmname.cpa.

“Today, there’s a lack of authentication and growing mistrust of online information,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, the AICPA’s technology subsidiary. “This is why many leading companies and communities, such as Amazon, KPMG, and the banking industry are moving to restricted top-level domains. We’re looking forward to bringing this important new capability to the profession.”

More details on registering a domain name will be available later this year. For additional information and the opportunity to sign up for notifications, please visit https://domains.cpa.com

  • By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online.
  • Barry Melancon

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Partner Compensation & Performance Webinars

“Do your job and demand your compensation – but in that order.” – Cary Grant

Compensation and performance issues for the partner group in a CPA firm are always topics that CPA firm leaders want (and need) to know more about.

This month you have the opportunity to learn more about these topics via CPA Leadership Institute. Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will conduct the following three webinars in June:

Partner Compensation Methods and Trends – June 12, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

Partner Compensation – How it Can Be Linked to and Help Create a Culture of Accountability and Unity – June 19, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

How to Maximize Performance of Best Practices in Partner Admission, Transition and Buy-out – June 20, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

  • Do what you love and the money will follow.
  • Marsha Sinetar