Guest articles news

Embracing Opportunity in a Multi-Provider Environment

By Gale Crosley, CPAFor decades, a simple, one-to-one relationship existed between CPAs firm and clients. Now, Sarbanes-Oxley has changed the landscape, potentially pairing a single client with multiple providers. Although the legislation chiefly affects the public environment, it has brought heightened sensitivity to conflict-of-interest in the private sector as well. The scenario is analogous to 1984 and the breakup of AT&T, which had held a virtual monopoly in the telecommunications industry.

The Road to Success; Growing Your Network

By Alvah Parker, Parker Associates "How do I grow my business through referrals?" "I was just downsized and need another job, what are your suggestions?" "How do I find that company?" These are the questions people ask me. While each question has an array of answers, one answer that comes up for all these questions is to network. Whether you are a business owner, work in business or are starting a new career, having a network of people to support you is imperative. A client told me she was concerned about her job.
A&A

Targeting the Best Prospects, Narrow Your Focus

Many partners think that selling to the widest possible market is the likeliest path to success. They are afraid to pursue a market niche because they fear they'll lose business by turning away customers. But this 'take all comers' approach is not very effective. It's hard to stand out when you market your business without a distinctive set of prospects in mind. Occupying a niche means you won't be competing with a lot of similar businesses solely on price.
Practice Management

Tips for Loss Prevention Policies; Employee Theft Solutions

by Stuart R. Buttrick, Baker & Daniels. It goes without saying that all employers are concerned about employee theft. As a result, employers are constantly looking for tools to prevent their, or their employees', property from becoming the victim of "sticky fingers." One of the most common practices used by employers to combat workplace theft is to search employees' personal belongings. However, as will be discussed below, there are a host of legal considerations that employers must take into account before it embarks on employee searches.
Practice Management

Doing Well by Doing Good; Organizing Contributions With A Firm Giving Policy

By Bruce W. Marcus, marcus@marcusletter.comWe’re getting to that time of year when the requests for corporate donations to good causes begin to come in. So much need. So few available dollars. And as you grow larger, and make deeper inroads into your community and your market, so too do the demands and urgings for your participation increase.Obviously, you can’t respond generously to everyone who solicits your help.
Practice Management

The Firm of Tomorrow....Ready, Set…Grow!

By Gale Crosley, CPAFirst, Consider Hiring a Business Development Professional. For years, the Big Four have used business development professionals. Now, Sarbanes/Oxley and other environmental changes make it a wise best practice for mid-size firms, as well. Although smaller firms have greater potential to pursue larger, more sophisticated clients, they may lack the needed large opportunity development skills. But it’s more complex than simply hiring the right person.
Practice Management

Seven Ways to Motivate Employees

by Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.THE PROBLEM
Practice Management

Opportunity's Knocking for New Revenue Growth

By Gail Crosley, CPA To understate the situation, the rules governing opportunity development for CPA firms have changed dramatically. What's different? Almost everything. When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 became law, we knew we were dealing with a set of rules that would guide how and what kinds of services CPA firms delivered. But what many CPAs didn't anticipate is that the rules have created a regulatory environment that is significantly driving new marketplace dynamics.
Technology

Selecting a Spam Solution; The CPA Firm's Dilemma

by Matthew Wilson, MCSE, MCSA, Boomer Consulting Spam is a problem; everyone knows it. Most CPA firms know that it takes money to solve. However, most CPA firms don't know that it doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars per year. There are several ways to allocate the costs of dealing with spam.Let the users handle it? Many firms don't have a spam solution, and what they don't know is killing them. Each email user can spend up to an hour per day deleting email, trying to distinguish and sort the legitimate messages from the unsolicited bulk messages.

Energizing Your Practice Group Meetings

by Patrick J. McKenna It can be very challenging to manage a group of professionals with different substantive skills, diverse experiences, a variety of work styles, and sometimes conflicting priorities. Nowhere is this more visible than in the fundamental workings of practice group meetings.Casey Stengel, the renowned former New York Yankees coach, once said, "Getting good players is one thing. The harder part is getting them to play together". Imagine a professional ball team on which every player could debate the signals and challenge game strategy.
A&A

Searching for Solutions to Employee Theft: Tips for Loss Prevention Policies

It goes without saying that all employers are concerned about employee theft. As a result, employers are constantly looking for tools to prevent their, or their employees', property from becoming the victim of "sticky fingers." One of the most common practices used by employers to combat workplace theft is to search employees' personal belongings. However, as will be discussed below, there are a host of legal considerations that employers must take into account before it embarks on employee searches.
Community News

Information Rights Management: Does It Have a Place in Your Firm?

Imagine this scenario: You have two clients, both leaders in their business niche, who are intense local competitors with one another. Each has agreed to let you work their account, trusting in your confidentiality and comfortable that what they tell you will not find its way to their competitor. One of them sends you an email asking for a copy of a projection you have done for them. You find the document on your network, attach it to the email reply, encrypt the email for security, and send it.
Technology

Web Tip: Making Web Pages Available for Offline Viewing

When you make a Web page available offline, you can read its content when your computer is not connected to the Internet. For example, you can view Web pages on your laptop computer when you don't have a network or Internet connection. Or you can read Web pages at home without tying up a phone line.You can specify how much content you want available, such as just a page, or a page and all its links, and choose how you want to update that content on your computer.If you just want to view a Web page offline, and you don't need to update the content, you can save the page on your computer.
Technology

Outlook Tip: Color Code Incoming E-Mail Messages

With the huge quantity of e-mail messages that arrive in the average businessperson's mailbox each day, this tip for e-mailbox organization should really come in handy. To make sure you see certain messages when they arrive, try associating colors with important senders. Color code a sender so that all messages from that sender appear in a particular color:Click the Organize button that appears on the toolbar at the top of your Outlook window, or choose Tools, Organize from the menu bar.
Community News

Keys to Effective Employee Communication

Employee communication is both simple and complex. We communicate with employees each day. Sometimes directly – when we respond to questions or requests, for example. Sometimes indirectly – when we issue new policies or send out a memo. Sometimes inadvertently – when employees observe our actions. Perhaps because communication takes place so naturally, we often fail to consider the process of communication as seriously as we should.
Technology

Excel Tip: Overriding and Removing Page Breaks

Excel automatically determines where page breaks will occur, but you can create your own page breaks in your worksheets by forcing Excel to begin printing on a new page at the location that is best for you.To create a horizontal page break, follow these steps: Place your cellpointer in Column A in the row below the row in which you wish to insert a page break.Choose Insert, Page Break from the Excel menu.
A&A

The Value of Proactive Service in Your Accounting Firm

Clients want a proactive accountant. They want you using your expertise to look out for their interests and bring them benefits that they didn’t know to ask for. By being proactive, you show your initiative and you create added value.Reactive service gives you fewer opportunities to thrill clients. You have to wait until they ask for something. When you reach out, you not only have more control, you get more credit for taking the initiative. Proactive service thrills clients.For instance, at the new Park Hyatt Hotel in Japan, many staff members have two-way radios.
A&A

How Do Smaller Firms Compete?

By Bob Lewis Q: How can my two-person firm convince clients we can serve them?A: Have you ever heard of “spin?” Spin is how you position a situation. Is a half empty glass a positive or a negative? It depends how someone looks at it, and how the half glass is presented. As an example, at a restaurant, if you sat down and got a half glass of water, you would think it was odd (and not in a good, eccentric kind of way).

Managing the Sophisticated Client’s Expectations - Part II

by Patrick J. McKenna and Ronald F. Pol Read Part I of Managing the Sophisticated Client's ExpectationsIdentify What Adds Value When you are first retained by corporate counsel, you are likely hired to resolve specific problems that the legal department does not have the skills, resources, time, or inclination to handle. In handing the matter over to you, corporate counsel is entrusting you to serve as the bridge between their legal team and those of your lawyers who will work the case.
Community News

Building a Training & Learning Culture

By James K. Boomer, MCPTraining is one of the most crucial aspects of your firm’s strategy. It is an excellent tool to recruit the best and brightest employees and to retain them. Furthermore, it ties directly into your firm’s strategy by helping employees increase productivity and develop personally and professionally into future leaders of the firm. Most firms agree that training is important, however, many of those same firms argue that they just cannot afford the time commitment to send their employees to training. The numbers do not support this argument.

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