Practice news

Practice

Focus Your Efforts For Results

Do you know that old tradition of meeting with bankers and other "referral" sources? Or maybe you have participated in many of the "happy hours" designed to get people talking and referring business. The question, though, is how much business did you really get from the event?Many firms participate in referral activities, however, the results are often sketchy. Ask yourselves about the last one you attended. How many referrals did it actually yield? Often, people will say that it increased the potential for referrals in the future.
Practice Management

News You Can Use

It’s a competitive market out there. With consolidators gobbling up firms and others hiring salespeople to sell services, it’s important to keep an edge on competition. Soliciting feedback can help. It might even point you in a strategic direction that’s best for your firm.When clients are dissatisfied, they usually won’t complain to you; they will simply leave. What’s more is that when that person leaves, they take 250 contacts with them (this is the average number of people each person knows).
Practice Management

Four Easy Steps to Better Firm/Company Newsletters

How long has it been since you've taken a good look at your firm or company newsletter? Even if you don't write it in-house and buy it from a trusted source, you'll want to make sure your newsletter is a good reflection of your firm or company and truly maintains a long-lasting relationship with your clients and customers.First, set objectives for your newsletter - what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to improve networking, communicate information in print rather than in person or e-mail ... or something entirely different?
Practice Management

Business Card Manager

I’m running, not walking, to the nearest store so I can check out the latest tool I found. The new specialized scanner and software combo, the Corex CardScan Executive, Version 5.0 ($250), is designed to help me put all the business cards I collect into electronic format. A quick calculation of the time involved to enter business cards tells me this is going to be well worth the green.The CardScan 500 scanner has a convenient tray for catching scanned cards and the companion software, CardScan 5.0, now better recognizes international business cards.
Practice Management

Candidates Prefer Dot Com Companies Over Firms

Finding qualified employees is getting tougher and tougher, thanks to the rash of online companies. Job candidates are literally lining up to work for high-tech companies with concerns on the Internet and avoiding the brick & mortar routine.What does this mean to CPA firms and companies hiring CPAs? More accounting professionals, especially risk-takers in the younger ages, will go to work for online companies rather than firms.The result?
Practice Management

Knowledge Management Works

How are world-class companies saving millions and improving systems? They are harnessing the power of knowledge management systems specifically designed to directly contribute to larger corporate goals, according to Best Practices, LLC’s report, “Knowledge Management of Internal Best Practices.The report cites a leading chemical manufacturer that uses a systematic approach to ensure that knowledge management supports corporate strategy as an example.
Practice Management

Tips for Timely Collections

Most of us would rather buy a new car or go to the dentist than deal with overdue collections. Although we are numbers-oriented, we fall flat when it comes to taking the initiative to collect what's due.The trick is to act fast. For example, if a receivable is just one day overdue, call immediately to find out if something went wrong. There may be a very good reason, or the sender may indeed be tardy for no good reason.Still, acting quickly will jog the sender's memory and should help with collections.
A&A

'Tis the Season to Ship - Who's the Cheapest?

In this supersonic age of getting it there on time with few moments to spare, which of the mailing services is the most economical?Kiplinger.com decided to test the waters by sending a 10- pound fruitcake across the United States. They surveyed various overnight carriers as well as the U.S. Postal Service.The results? They found that the service was mostly the same around the country, but found that the U.S.
Practice Management

Virtual Assistants Perform Tasks Efficiently

If you're business is like most businesses, the secretarial or administrative assistant pool is one big revolving door. People agree to work, but support positions at the bottom rung of the ladder are merely stepping stones to other positions in the company or to another company entirely.There also is the matter of training every new person that takes the job.How about forming a relationship with a virtual assistant?
Practice

Move That Home Office Meeting to a Public Place

Meeting clients in public spaces is a solid alternative than meeting at your office, especially if you telecommute and that office is in your home.Although almost anyone that has a home office is proud of his or her environment, the home as "meeting space" is not always idea. There are children, of course, that can be a distraction, but so are pets and other interruptions.
Practice

Former FASB Official Urges Technology Savvy

A former FASB board member who is dean of Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management validated the theory that CPAs need to be well-versed in technology in order to compete in the financial marketplace.Robert J.
Practice Management

Check Your Cellular Phone Plan

Nearly 40% of cell phone customers have a plan that is inappropriate for their level of usage. Contact your cellular provider and ask them to do a rate analysis on your usage and recommend the best plan available. New plans are implemented all the time, and competition is forcing the providers to be slightly more flexible in allowing you to jump in and out of plans depending on your usage.
Practice

Improve Routine Tasks -- Cautiously

Finding a better way to do routine tasks can save time and money. Find a process where you can shave 10% off the time it takes you to do these tasks, and the numbers will start adding up. But beware: putting your energies towards improving efficiency on unnecessary work is foolhardy!
Practice Management

Working With Employee Morale

As a manager, you know that employee morale can work for you or against you. When employee morale is high, so is productivity and vice versa. What makes employee morale go south is another idea completely. It could be a result of any one of hundreds of workplace situations. Do you have a partner or manager who disrupts your work environment? Do employees feel unappreciated? Your role as a manager is to ferret out these issues and put employee morale back on top.Figuring out the root of the problem can be a challenge.
Practice Management

360 Degree Feedback – Ever Heard Of It?

What in the world is 360 degree feedback? Well, it’s one of the tools that performance management consultants use to help organizations improve. This “tool” works by providing full-circle feedback.
Practice

The Ultimate Price War - Free Tax Return Preparation

The audit department has been dealing with it for years: deep discounts in the price of an audit in exchange for higher fees on the consulting side. Now the commoditization of tax return preparation -- already hammered by do-it-yourself software -- has reached the ultimate in price wars. Financial management company H D Vest announced that it will provide it's customers with free tax return preparation beginning this next season. The hook? More clients, more assets under management, more profits for HD Vest.Through the H.D.
Practice Management

Wow!

As the internal marketing director at my firm (yes, this is a real title), I’m always searching for fresh, hot ideas that will motivate and inspire. I talk to many accounting firms across the country and our conversations usually drift to “how can we keep our best people?” or “how can we have fun at our firm?”Enter Tom Peters. No matter what you think of him personally, this guy has some really cool ideas. I picked up his pocket booklet, The Work Matters at a recent Fast Company meeting.
Practice Management

The Training Game

When you were a little kid, your brain was like a sponge. It soaked up everything that spewed out of the teacher’s mouth. Well, you’ve grown up and now your brain is like the rest of your muscles – it needs a break in between periods of hard work. Learning is hard work for the adult mind, you know.Adults learn better in short, concentrated sessions followed by on-the-job practice where they can immediately put their new concepts to work.
Practice Management

Emotional Intelligence

Once upon a time good grades were all that counted. Times have changed. Ever wonder why that guy who dropped out of high school is at the helm of a multi-million dollar company while a certified “genius” mops floors at the local high school?
Practice Management

People Mean Business

The results are in. People management and development are the drivers of business success in the 90s. At The Institute of Personnel and Development’s (IPD) recent National Conference, the message is loud and clear: People Mean Business.IPD’s research indicates that the way people are managed and developed is the determining factor in sustainable success for companies today. The organization says that many companies tend not to incorporate people strategy within the business strategy. This could be a company’s fatal flaw.

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