Archive for the ‘Services’ Category

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Skimpflation

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.” – John Wanamaker

Have you been reading about skimpflation?

The quality of service, in various places like The Magic Kingdom, airlines, restaurants, etc. have deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic. It is a problem that the NPR show “Planet Money” has labeled “skimpflation.”

The definition of skimp: expend or use less time, money, or material on something than is necessary in an attempt to economize.

Many businesses, especially small businesses have skimped in order to stay alive. Airlines cancel flights and put people on hold on the phone for hours. Some restaurants have eliminated menus and you must use your phone to see what is offered. Hotels and stores provide fewer services than in the past. Service seems to be very poor just about everywhere. Much of this is because businesses are simply understaffed.

Per NPR: While it may lurk in the shadows, make no mistake: Skimpflation is a form of inflation. As with normal inflation, it means we’re getting less for our money.

Read more about it here and consider the service in your own firm. I have talked to CPA firms who are concerned about obtaining new clients because they fear they won’t be able to offer the awesome client service they were once able to provide.

It is important that your long-time clients don’t feel that they are not getting the same level of service they have received in the past.

Are you guiding your small business clients through the minefield of skimpflation?

  • Fear will make you stingy.
  • Kenneth Copeland

Friday, September 17th, 2021

Flashback Friday – Subscription Pricing

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

This week’s flashback post is a recent one. I think it is definitely worth reading again. It describes Ron Baker’s subscription pricing model.

Now that 9/15 has passed, I hope you have a real weekend – enjoy!

  • Pricing is actually pretty simple...Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product.
  • Ron Johnson

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Your Kind of Firm

 “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”- Walt Disney

What kind of service do your clients want? I bet you have both kinds, the kind that likes a lot of personal attention and the kind that want streamlined, technology focused service.

That should cause you to consider what kind of firm you want to be and maybe you shouldn’t do what so many firms do. They try to be all things to all people. That’s a tough road to travel.

Kyle Walters, in his article for Accounting Today asks – What kind of firm do you want to create?

Walters describes two different approaches to client service – high touch and high-tech.

Which type of firm do you want to be? Can you be both? According to Walters, you can’t be both.

  • How you think about your customer influences how you respond to them.
  • Marilyn Suttle

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Client Accounting Services

“If our true intent is to differentiate CAS from our previous bookkeeping services, we need to offer unique services that tie people directly to our firm and create loyalty.” – Bill Reeb

The growth and success of CAS makes me very happy.

I can remember when accounting services (or bookkeeping as some partners always called it), was the very bottom level of the client services menu. Many firms even quit providing these services because they were simply not profitable enough (and new CPAs thought this work was below them). In addition to that, qualified, skilled bookkeepers were more difficult to find than accounting grads.

There is a good article via the Journal of Accountancy featuring Bill Reeb and his observations about the success of CAS. He identified issues that can prevent CAS from becoming successful.

  • The CAS service line leader and their manager are not in alignment.
  • Partners haven’t bought in.
  • The CAS practice is inadequately staffed.

One other problem is that in many firms the entire CAS operation is on the shoulders of just one highly motivated individual.

How is your CAS division doing? Are you giving it enough support? Are you bragging about it to all your clients?

  • A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.
  • Jeff Bezos

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Rainmakers Retiring

“What differentiates sellers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas.” – Jill Konrath

In many CPA firms, the most successful rainmakers are still in the baby boomer category. Yet, as we all know, baby boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day.

Who will replace your top rainmaker(s)? This is a valid concern in many accounting firms. But, times are changing and so is the role of the CPA firm rainmaker.

In an informative article via Accounting Today, written by Lee Frederiksen, he notes that the rainmaker model is beginning to dry up!

Attracting new clients used to be based on the personalities of certain partners. These partners were out and about in the business community and made contacts that led to new business.

Now, a prospective client has checked out the firm, it’s leaders and the services they provide before anyone at the firm has actually met them. Future clients are searching for the firm with the right expertise to solve their specific business challenges. Hopefully, your firm possesses the services and expertise they are looking for and they can find it on your website.

Be sure to read the entire article.

  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
  • Walt Disney

Friday, October 25th, 2019

How Proactive Is Your Audit Team?

“If it moves, tick it.” – Audit Senior, Audit Day 1

Things are rapidly changing in the CPA profession and the one area that seems to be changing most rapidly is the audit. Many firms are continuing to perform an audit the way they have always performed audits and that is why you need to make sure that your audit leaders are keeping pace with the current trends.

Be sure to read an article by Bill Curtis via Accounting Today: Why you and your audit team should consider a remote audit next year. Curtis is the partner-in-charge of the Birmingham office of Mauldin & Jenkins.

  • Audits cause a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience for the client.
  • Modern technology allow audit teams to share and receive data with clients from any location.
  • Remote audits save time and money.
  • The audit team will also be more efficient working in their home office environment with all its tools and comforts — multiple monitors, high-speed internet, familiar scanners and copiers and all the rest. The result is fewer hours needed to complete the work, and probably faster turnaround times for the financial statements company leaders are anxious to see.
  • Some audits can take place entirely in the digital realm, but most will still require some on-site time and in-person consultation.

There are a lot more positives about performing a remote audit, for the firm and for the client. Share this article with your audit leaders. Hopefully, your audit leaders are already sharing information like this with everyone in the firm and taking steps to utilize the amazing technology available today.

 

  • Remote audits are a trend that’s gaining traction rapidly, and it’s easy to see why their popularity is growing.
  • Bill Curtis

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Become Certified in CAS

“The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.” – Dan Quinn

I have written about CPA firms offering Client Accounting Services before:

I know that most of you are already fairly deep into this service. However, I still talk to many firm leaders who are taking a “wait and see” attitude. Others still do not have or know about, the technology it takes to proceed.

Now, if you are offering CAS services you can set yourself apart from others with the AICPA and CPA.com certification in CAS.

You earn the certification in two parts. One, by attending the Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop and two, with Client Advisory Services Self-Study. It gives you a total of 29 CPE credits.

Learn more about it here. Visiting this site will also give you extensive information about the CAS Workshop.

  • Baby steps count, too, as long as you're moving forward.
  • Chris Gardner

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Client Accounting Services (Bookkeeping)

“Many small businesses would rather face an angry barbarian horde than tackle their cash flow statement.” -Nicole Fende

Many firms are enjoying a growing niche. It seems that the niche is new but to me, much of it is a new face on old one (bookkeeping). Yes, CAS involves so much more and can encompass many additional services for clients. It also means that much of the “work” has been automated so that it is not so labor-intensive and little time is required of partners and managers.

Dan Hood of Accounting Today has a good article that you should read if your firm provides bookkeeping services to clients (and most of you do!). The article is titled, The State of Bookkeeping in 2019.  It reports on a survey involving over 700 accountants in the AT audience.

Hood offers charts that tell us:

  • The biggest issues for bookkeepers.
  • The average number of bookkeeping clients.
  • Less time spent at the high end.
  • Less time and more clients.
  • Other services offered.
  • Segmenting the client base.
  • Top industries for bookkeepers.
  • The geographic reach of bookkeeping practices.

Hood’s article is a good one to share within your firm.

  • Few have heard of Fra Luca Pacioli, the inventor of double-entry bookkeeping; but he has probably had much more influence on human life than has Dante or Michelangelo.
  • Herbert J. Muller

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Keep Them Coming Back

“I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

This time of year you are counting your wins and losses.

This busy season you have several, if not many, new clients. You probably give them more attention then they deserve. You also are keenly aware of the clients that have moved on to another accounting services provider. Some of those still have a sting about them.

Those new clients are valuable. However, please don’t give your long-time, loyal accounts less attention because you are focusing on the new toy.

Don’t let losses over-concern you. Keep moving forward and keep giving the best service possible. Continually, work to be the most knowledgeable and friendliest firm in your market.

One of my clients told me some good news this morning. This season, three former, significant clients who left the firm for greener pastures (or so they thought) have returned. They left for various reasons but came back because they all realized “cheaper isn’t better” and “because I realized I need you”. How sweet it is!

  • When I was with Andy Warhol, I thought, 'God, his wig looks cheaper than mine!'
  • Dolly Parton

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Are You The Ritz Carlton of Accounting Firms?

“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”  – Ritz Carlton Motto

Right now you are very, very busy. Everyone is the firm is very busy. Are you too busy to take the extra steps necessary to become known as the Ritz Carlton of accounting firms in your market?

Have you ever stayed at a Ritz Carlton? Here’s a site that will give you some info on the Ritz Carlton Gold Standards:

  • The Credo
  • Motto
  • The Three Steps of Service
  • Service Values
  • The 6thDiamond
  • The Employee Promise.

As you read them, you will see how they can apply to a client service business like a CPA firm.

It’s still early into 2019. How will you make your firm the gold standard when it comes to client service?

It’s Friday – time to smile.

  • A hot dog at the game beats roast beef at the Ritz.
  • Humphrey Bogart