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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.
Practice Management

Ten Strategies for Client Retention

by Bea Fields Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's competitive world of business, it is more important than ever to aim for more transactions with existing customers by using the power of customer follow-up and attention to good service. These ten tips may help you in turning your existing customers into walking billboards for your business. Spend thirty minutes each day talking with two existing clients.
Community News

From the Archives: 'The Future of the Accounting Profession' Special Report

Back in November of 2003, fifty-seven men and women, including leaders from the worlds of accounting, finance, law, academia, investment banking, journalism, non-governmental organizations, as well as the current and former regulatory officials gathered together for the 103rd American Assembly entitled "The Future of the Accounting Profession."Over the course of the Assembly, the distinguished professionals considered three broad areas of the accounting
Community News

Three Things Every Recruiter Looks for in a Resume

By Deborah Walker, CCMCIf you are in the middle of a job search, recruiters can be either your friend or your foe. They make the choice to keep you out of the hiring process or to introduce you to corporate hiring decision makers. The quality of your resume is a key factor in determining how recruiters will treat you in the job market.

Herding Cats Into Groups: The Attributes That Distinguish Effective Group Performance

by Patrick J. McKennaEvery few years a new theme emerges in law firm management. Yet the latest theme is more than just a passing fad. It is, in fact, a theme that speaks directly to how law firms are structured, how the profession is practiced, and to how services actually get transacted and delivered to clients. In recent years, there has been a strong new emphasis on practice groups as representing the heart and soul of effective organizational and business development strategy.

Managing the Sophisticated Client’s Expectations: Part One

by Patrick J. McKenna and Ronald F. Pol It is reported that a major law firm has been dropped from the approved list of a Fortune 500 company due to a lack of satisfaction with the relationship. For many law firms this is not an isolated instance. We regularly work with firms who share their tales of woe – often only after discovering they are no longer a client’s preferred choice.Notwithstanding expressions of disbelief from some lawyers, changing law firms is seldom something that corporate counsel undertakes lightly.

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