Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Technology Survey Results

“Once a new technology rolls over you if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Steward Brand, Writer

Every other year the CPA Firm Management Association does a survey of its membership relating to what firms are using relating to technology.

It addresses things like the most used tax software, most used practice management software, and others. It also disclosed that 68% of respondents are in the cloud.

When asked when firm respondents believed that firms would run entirely online without on-premise servers, 33% of respondents estimated it would happen in the next three to five years, while 32% thought it would be less than three years.

Here is a great summary of the findings from the CPA Practice Advisor.

  • If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

News – Rosenberg/Rampe

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

I have known Marc Rosenberg for decades. He is a good friend and colleague. We enjoyed so many enlightening years together in The New Horizon Group. And, I have known Kristen Rampe for many years and have recommended her to many of my clients and contacts. It makes me happy that these two have joined forces to create a new force in the CPA firm consulting world. My best wishes and congratulations to both and to their team.

Below is the news from both Rosenberg and Rampe.

From Marc Rosenberg:

“I am thrilled to be uniting with Kristen Rampe’s team,” said Marc Rosenberg, founder and Co-Managing Partner of the new Rosenberg Associates. “During our five years of working together, I’ve witnessed first-hand how Kristen and her team have enthusiastically embraced and absorbed the CPA firm consulting philosophy and methods I have honed for twenty years. I’m equally excited to add new services such as leadership development, professional coaching, human resources consulting, and strategic planning. These new services will greatly expand our ability to meet our clients’ growing needs. I have been consulting with CPA firms for a long time and enjoyed every minute.  Now, by combining with the Rampe Group, we have ushered in the next (and certainly not the last) chapter of Rosenberg Associates!”

From Kristen Rampe, Co-Managing Partner:

“Our focus, as we merge these two incredible firms, is to continue to provide innovative, proprietary consulting services to CPA firms across North America. Marc has created incredible resources for firms over the years and we are honored to become part of Rosenberg Associates so that we can provide consulting services to CPA firms for generations to come.”

  • If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
  • Henry Ford

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Real Work vs. Busy Work

“The No. 1 cause of burnout is doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing results.” — Steve Kaczmarski

I am convinced that if CPA firm workers were able to do more REAL work, they could easily get it done working four days per week. Of course, I mean more chargeable/billable work. This applies whether you still bill by the hour or by the project.

Here’s a good article for you titled: People spend more than half their day doing busy work, according to a survey of 10,000-plus workers.

Constant interruptions have resulted in some workers saying their attention span is shorter than it was a year ago. Checking email and other tech platforms often result in being “on-call” 24/7. Often this will result in burn-out. You may have noticed some of your team are definitely stressed. They must deal with technology interruptions and also questions from other team members.

Check out my post about interruptions – and read the article referenced above.

Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Berkeley says, “Having a clear beginning and ending to the day is important to not only avoid burnout but it also helps people feel good about their work.”

  • Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
  • Etty Hillesum

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

AICPA Survey Results About Recruitment and Retention Struggles

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” — Napoleon Hill

The following is a press release from the AICPA.

Impact of Unfilled Jobs: Staff Restructurings, Delayed Projects and Deferred Expansions

AICPA & CIMA Survey Polled U.S. Executives on Recruitment and Retention Struggles

NEW YORK (March 30, 2022) – Almost one in four U.S. business executives said the ongoing impact of unfilled jobs had forced them to restructure staff to protect core operations or limited the pursuit of new projects or bids, according to an AICPA & CIMA survey.

A dearth of skilled job candidates had been a top concern for businesses for years before the pandemic and quickly reemerged as the recovery progressed. Business leaders list “availability of skilled personnel” as a challenge second only to inflation in the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls CEOs, CFOs and other senior-level CPAs and management accountants in the finance function. Top-line results of the quarterly survey were released earlier this month.

Some 82% of business executives said their organizations were having at least some difficulty with recruitment and retention, with 17% characterizing it as extreme difficulty. The latter is actually an improvement from the fourth quarter last year, when it stood at 25%.

Some 31% of survey takers said mid-level staff openings have been the most difficult to fill, while 28% said the problem is across the board. One in four identified entry level positions as the most challenging category to recruit.

While 40% of business executives said unfilled jobs have not had a significant impact on operations, a majority said the problem had manifested itself in several ways within their organizations. The most common outcomes (survey takers could choose more than one):

  • Restructured staff to protect core operations (24%)
  • Limited new projects or bids (23%)
  • Delayed service expansions (16%)
  • Slowed customer/client acquisition (9%)
  • Reduced hours of operations or  work shifts (7%)
  • Closed some work locations (3%)

“We know from our survey that 57% of business executives report they have too few employees,”  said Ash Noah, CPA, CGMA, vice president and managing director of CGMA learning, education and development for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing the AICPA and CIMA. “Pandemic-related trends such as the Great Resignation have complicated an already difficult hiring situation, and that can exacerbate burnout and disaffection among remaining staff if the situation isn’t managed carefully.”

To combat the tight labor market, companies have adopted a number of recruitment and retention strategies, principally higher wages and more flexible work arrangements, although the former has been driven in part by inflationary pressures. Signing bonuses are also increasing as a tactic to attract new talent.

Methodology

The first-quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey was conducted from Feb. 2-23, 2022, and included 461 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies. The overall margin of error is less than 3 percentage points. A copy of the report can be found on aicpa.org.

  • Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.
  • Marian Wright Edelman

Monday, February 21st, 2022

I Always Listen To Roman

“There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.” – Douglas MacArthur

In January, I listened to a webinar presented by Roman Kepczyk about the findings of a recent technology survey conducted on behalf of The CPA Firm Management Association. It is the fourth comprehensive Information Technology survey tailored specifically to member firms with the goal of identifying the applications, products, and processes utilized by peers. 

The survey was conducted in December 2021 to determine what information technology firms would be utilizing in 2022 and compared to the results from previous surveys where appropriate.  This survey further highlighted the unique nature of CPAFMA member firms which tend to be medium and larger-sized firms. 

If you are a member, you can get the complete results via the CPAFMA website. It’s worth becoming a member just to get benefits like this survey.

Here are just a few bullet points I jotted down during the web presentation. When it comes to CPA firm technology knowledge, I always listen to and trust Roman.

  • 162 firms participated. 43% were multi-office firms.
  • Only 19% host their own.
  • 63% us RightNetworks or another integrator.
  • Firms are providing dual, over-sized monitors rather than three or four smaller ones.
  • Most pay a stepend to staff for mobile phone costs ranging from $30 to $50 per month.
  • 60% do centralized scanning.
  • 33% use individual scanners.
  • 68% use cloud versions of practice management software.

There is much, much more in the full survey results. I hope this gives you a brief snap-shot of what I heard during the webinar and encourages you to read the entire findings.

  • Distrust and Caution are the parents of security.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Over Paying

“There is no way I can justify my salary level but I am learning to live with it.” – Drew Carey

Many firms have acknowledged that they are willing to overpay when pursuing new, hard to find, talent. Where will it end? When will it end? Who knows?

I have two concerns. First, will new, unproven, maybe less skilled employees be making more than proven, long-time team members? How that plays out can cause severe headaches for management.

My other concern is, in response to the situation mentioned above, firm leaders will increase salaries for ALL team members. This could result in significant increases for less-than-stellar performing employees.

I still think that pay for performance applies. Not everyone needs to be treated the same. Top performers should make top wages and get extra perks.

In the CPA world, firm owners worry about what “the other” team members will think and how will they react. They will be complaining loudly.

Don’t ignore the complainers. Talk to them immediately and honestly. Explain to them that Jessica All-Star makes more and receives more because she is a top performer. Then, explain to them exactly how they can become a top performer and thus, make more money. Set goals and challenge them.

You have probably read where KPMG is allocating $160M in salary increases for their 35,000 employees. Their CEO said:

“This increase in salaries embodies our commitment to quickly recognize the value our people create for our clients and firm in times of change,” said Knopp in a statement. “Moreover, it reflects our appreciation for their resilience and consistent dedication to serving our clients and the capital markets with quality.”

Your team members have probably read about this, too.

  • The more they applaud, the bigger our salary will be.
  • Anna Held

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Getting Ready For Tax Season

“Be courteous to all but intimate with few and let those be well-tried before you give them your confidence.” – George Washington

There was an interesting article in Accounting Today this week talking about practitioners getting ready for the 2022 tax season.

One comment caught my eye and made me think of all the complaints I hear from my clients and other practitioners, it follows:

“According to the findings of a recent Wolters Kluwer survey of more than 800 professionals from tax and accounting firms, preparers are adapting to a new kind of normal that includes rapid legislative changes, a longer filing season, difficulties in working with the IRS, and the lack of timely information from clients.”

To me, most of these are not “a new kind of normal.” Firms have been facing most of these challenges for years.

If you want to attract and retain talented accountants, this year, focus on solving one of these (to the best of your ability). Train your clients so that the lack of timely information from them is not as big an issue as it has been in the past. Set expectations for them and follow through. Outplace clients who are not willing to meet your expectations. Changing this one “new normal” will help you attract and retain talented professionals.

Want to easily determine which clients should go? Ask each team member to submit the names of five clients who should not be clients. Their answers will probably not surprise you.

  • By trying to be everything to everybody, you could soon find yourself being a nobody.
  • Michael Sage

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Salaries

“These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.” – Abraham Lincoln

I always get questions about salaries for the CPA profession. Firms want to know what other firms are paying by level – Staff, Senior, Manager, etc. I even did a limited survey myself but was disappointed by the response.

Yesterday, I read a post by goingconcern addressing CPA salaries in eight cities: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, and St Louis. The author used various sources.

There are three salary percentiles.

  • 25th percentile: New to the type of role, still acquiring relevant skills.
  • 50th percentile: Average experience, has most of the necessary skills.
  • 75th percentile: Above-average experience, has all needed skills.

For example, here is the listing for an entry-level tax accountant in Cincinnati:

  • 25th percentile: $41,000 -> $39,975
  • 50th percentile: $50,250 -> $48,994
  • 75th percentile: $59,500 -> $58,013

Read the post here. I think you will find it very helpful.

  • If we expect others to rely on our fairness and justice we must show that we rely on their fairness and justice.
  • Calvin Coolidge

Monday, October 4th, 2021

My Copy Arrived

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

As with every Fall, I anticipate the arrival of my copy of the Rosenberg Survey. I learn so much from this valuable resource and it is a very helpful tool as I do my advisory work with local and regional firms.

For example: Why should firms located in cities with over 2 million in population have partner billing rates that range from $474 down to $277?

  • Firms with lower rates are less aggressive than those with higher rates.
  • Firms with higher rates believe they are worth every penny of their rates.
  • Firms with higher rates are often providing more advisory level work and less compliance services.

You can order your copy of The Rosenberg Survey here.

  • Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
  • Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

The Rosenberg Survey

“Great firms continually reinvent themselves.” – Marc Rosenberg


The 2021 Rosenberg Survey is NOW available!

Each year The Rosenberg Survey does an analysis to see which metrics have the strongest correlation to profitability, as measured by income per partner. It never fails, the Top 4 are all related to leverage and rates!  As we work with firms who are struggling with profitability, we start by looking at their various leverage ratios followed by comparing their billing rates to like-sized firms in like-sized markets. 
CLICK HERE to Order the Survey!
The Rosenberg Survey, a comprehensive benchmarking study for CPA firms, is now available! Our Survey is nearly 200 pages, full of dozens of metrics, ratios and analyses of accounting firm financial performance. Order your book today and receive valuable data to help guide your firm. The fee for the Survey is $500. For questions, please contact us at (314) 209-0922 or email chylan@rosenbergsurvey.com
  • Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
  • Mark Twain