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Practice Management

Document Your Processes - It Pays!

By James K. Boomer, MCPThere are a number of tasks we do on a frequent basis that become so routine that we take for granted that “everyone in our organization knows how to do that!” This assumption is most likely untrue. More likely, a number of employees are sitting at their desks right this moment stumped about where to begin with this new project they have been assigned. Documented processes provide a perfect starting point for new projects.The first step in documenting a process is identifying a repeatable process that is frequently used within the organization.
Practice

The Focus of Firm Management

By L. Gary Boomer, CPA, CITP, CEO While there are seminars and on-the-job training for managing partners, there is no book or school on how to manage an accounting firm. Too often managing partners get strapped with administrative duties and fail to lead the firm toward strategic objectives. It is often lonely in the managing partner’s role, as they have to enforce discipline, manage partner disputes, deal with financial issues and in many firms simultaneously manage a book of business in order to retain security and status.
Technology

Color Rows According to Criteria in Microsoft Excel

You can use coloring to isolate data in lists and to differentiate between various types of data.Make sure the list is set to AutoFilter. Filter the year 1996 according to the following criterion – from the drop-down list for the Year field, select 1996. Select a cell in the list of data – press Ctrl+* (select the current region). From the Formatting toolbar, select Fill Color, and then select any color. Filter the year 1997 according to the following criterion – from the drop-down list for the Year field, select 1997. Select a cell in the data l
A&A

Small Businesses Should Start Tax Planning for Next Year Now

Don’t want to look at that 2003 tax return for a good long time?Understandable, but a bad idea, tax analysts say. Now is the time for small business owners to start thinking about their 2004 return, if they haven’t already."Once you complete the return, it's a time for reflection," said Paul Gada, a senior tax analyst with CCH Business Owners Toolkit, based in Riverwoods, Ill.
Community News

Good Questions Uncover Client Related Problems

In his book SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham discovered that sellers are fearful of asking problem questions while buyers welcome them. Buyers report that professionals, who ask problem questions seem to understand the business, seem to talk about valuable things and are more interesting.
Community News

Five Ways to Build Your Business

by: Troy Waugh Is this going to be your year for turning the power of marketing and sales on in your business? If your answer is yes, here are five keys to success: Focus on client's profits, not your own. There is a limited demand for tax return preparation services and audits, but there is unlimited demand for accountants and consultants who can help clients improve net profits! If youare still focusing on increasing your billable hours, billing rates or net fees, it's time to reorient your thinking. 
Tax

Hey, They Tried: Tax Deductions that Wouldn’t Fly

If you’ve ever thought about claiming your dead parents as dependents, think again.An elderly client of CPA William Philbrick believed she met the five tests to claim dependents on her tax return.Philbrick, a former IRS revenue agent, said the woman reasoned that her dead parents hadn't filed a tax return, they weren't being claimed by anyone else, they were related to her and they didn't have any gross income.
Tax

April 15 - A Lighthearted Look at an Infamous Date

Everyone knows the implications of "April 15" - Tax day is here. When the 16th Amendment was adopted in 1913, allowing Congress to institute the income tax, the original tax return preparation deadline date was March 1. Five years later, Congress inexplicably changed the date to March 15. In 1955, the date was changed again to April 15, presumably "to spread the workload," according to IRS spokespersons.
A&A

SOS from Financial Institutions: Stop Excessive Spending on Risk and Compliance!

BearingPoint, Inc., a business consulting and systems integration firm, announced the findings of a survey of leading financial institutions, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), that found wasteful spending and duplication of efforts around risk management and financial transparency, due to the absence of data standards.
A&A

Executive Compensation Emerges as Number One Corporate Governance Issue

Executive compensation has emerged as the top corporate governance issue this proxy season. Compensation panels are being scrutinized at unprecedented levels and shareholders are voting "no" on them when a disconnect between pay and performance is observed."The perceived failure of boards of directors to self-regulate and curtail excessive executive compensation has increasingly angered shareholders and incited dialogue regarding legislation to control compensation," states Bill Ide, Sr.
Community News

Client Centered Referrals

By Troy WaughAs I discuss in my book, whenever you have a client in common with another service provider, it’s logical to get acquainted with that person so you can coordinate in serving the client. Get to know your best clients’ other professional service providers. We find lawyers, bankers, bonding agents, and insurance brokers among the best. They are open to you and will readily meet with you because of your joint client.
A&A

Analyst Identifies New Ways to Reduce Risk of ID Theft

Billions of dollars -- that's what identity theft costs U.S. businesses and consumers each year. New research clearly demonstrates that online banking, bill payment and statement viewing is one of the best ways businesses and their customers can protect themselves against identity theft. Yet, consumers still believe incorrectly that online financial transactions increase their risk of fraud.
A&A

Increases in Audit Fees Not as Sharp as Expected

Companies that feared enormous increases in Sarbanes-Oxley Act-related audit fees can rest a little easier. The huge jump in fees doesn’t seem to be materializing in most cases, USA Today reported.Financial Executives International (FEI) reported in February that 321 chief financial officers had predicted audit fee increases of up to 35 percent. Instead, based on a USA Today analysis of data from AuditAnalytics.com of the 100 largest Standard & Poor’s 500 that have reported in for 2003, the jump in audit fees is more like 19 percent.
Community News

How Do I Motivate My Staff?

By By Sandra L. Wiley, Boomer ConsultingApril 15 is in site and you are pushing for a strong finish. Now is not the time you want to put much of your time and effort into motivating your staff! In only 2 weeks they will be planning their vacations, looking forward to the summer and moving on to other projects that they have been dreaming about. So, why would I mention motivation now? Because it is the one thing that you CAN do in the near future to guarantee your employee’s will remain loyal and on task for the rest of the year.
Tax

The 'Top Ten Most Unusual Sales Tax Laws For 2004'

Taxware, a leading provider of tax calculation and compliance solutions, today announced the "Top Ten Most Unusual Sales Tax Laws For 2004." The second annual listing was compiled by Taxware's team of tax specialists that constantly monitor more than 27,000 ever-changing tax jurisdictions around the world.In Ohio, a gift basket of fruit or candy is not subject to sales tax, as the "true object sought is the food items contained within," not the basket.

Ignite Your Mental Pilot Light

by Gary Ryan BlairThat nice, warm shower which you took this morning, and the delicious meal you’ll enjoy later this evening are dependent upon a small, continuous flame called a pilot light.This seemingly insignificant stream of gas operates around the clock and is always ready to ignite your water heater, boiler, furnace or stove into action. It never takes a vacation, never makes an excuse, and is always ready to perform on demand.If the pilot light is not lit then the main burner will simply not work.
Education & Careers

Resume Posting vs. Resume Distribution—Do You Know the Difference?

The electronic age has revolutionized the way job seekers and employers meet. The marvels of online automation take the volume of resume traffic to levels unimagined only a few years ago. With services to job seekers expanding continually, it’s important to understand the different options available to increase the exposure of your resume to potential employers and recruiters.Two such services are Resume Posting and Resume Distribution. Do you know the difference between them?
Community News

Survey: Tiered Benefits Packages Facilitate Employee Retention

One of the best ways to retain top employees is through competitive benefits packages. The best packages offerboth retirement and healthcare programs, according to a financial services industry report recently published by business intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information.Lately, as companies try to cut or control costs, benefits packages have repeatedly borne the brunt of budget slashes. "Long-term strains created by pension programs force executives to reconsider retirement planning's impacton company cost structures.
A&A

Coping with Time Pressure in an 'I Want It Now' World

by Dr. Kerry L. JohnsonJohn needed to process the paperwork on 5 more sales by noon and had another 10 issues to iron out in underwriting. He was falling behind in his client calls and couldn’t even get the standard paperwork done. His wife was getting ticked at him claiming he wasn’t the guy she married. He hadn’t spent more than 10 minutes with his kids in the last week. All this and he couldn’t even claim he was making more money. John was feeling more stressed as the week went on. It didn’t make sense. He should be able to coast a little after all these years.
Community News

How do we Spread Flexibility in the Workplace?

Despite the desire by many attorneys at some time in their careers to have more flexibility in their working arrangements, particularly now that technology makes it so much easier, decision makers and even the candidates for flexibility themselves resist such arrangements. The deterrents to faster progress are perceived fears and uncalculated costs and benefits.

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