Practice news

Practice Management

Creative Strategies for Delivering 5-Star Customer Service

by Bea Fields Customer satisfaction is valuable, but customer loyalty is priceless. In today's competitive world of business, it is becoming more and more important to deliver customer service that is unbeatable. These ten creative strategies can support you in turning your customers into walking billboards for your business.
Practice Management

2004 Accounting Practice Survey Launched

Forty-three states, in addition to the Association for Accounting Administration (AAA), are participating in this year’s PCPS/TSCPA National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey, which launched last week. The PCPS/TSCPA National MAP Survey provides local and regional CPA firms with the most comprehensive information available for benchmarking management policies and financial results against other firms.
Practice

SEC Charges Lay, Enron's Former Chairman and CEO, with Fraud & Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission today initiated civil charges against Kenneth L. Lay, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Enron Corp., for his role in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud by falsifying Enron's publicly reported financial results and making false and misleading public representations about Enron's business performance and financial condition. The Commission also alleges Lay profited from the scheme to defraud by selling large amounts of Enron stock at prices that did not reflect its true value.
Practice Management

Study Shows Non-Audit Fees Drop Below Half Of Auditor Payments

A new analysis of corporate payments to auditors suggests companies are more wary of using their auditors for non-audit services.Only 42 percent of total fees that companies paid their auditors during their most recent fiscal year went toward non-audit services, with 58 percent going to the audit fees themselves, according to data on 1,652 companies reviewed by the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC).The Wall Street Journal reported that the figure is down from 55 percent a year earlier and an even bigger drop from the 72 percent paid for non-audit fees in 2001, the first year
Practice

Judge Rules in Favor of BDO Seidman in Tax-Shelter Suit

In contrast to recent court rulings ordering accounting firms to turn over confidential tax-shelter documents, a federal judge has cited attorney-client privilege in handing BDO Seidman a partial victory in its tax-shelter fight with the U.S. government.Federal Court Judge James F. Holderman on June 28 ruled that the firm had to turn over only six of the 110 documents sought by the Internal Revenue Service, which is investigating questionable tax shelters and the firms that promote them, the New York Times reported.
Practice Management

Bigger Workload Means Better Compensation for Independent Directors

Long gone are the days of attracting marquee names to corporate boards with the promise of generous compensation for one or two days of work a month. Corporate reform has meant longer hours, more board meetings, a burdensome workload and huge responsibilities.An analysis of 2004 compensation data shows companies are paying their independent directors far more for the increased duties and heightened risk. According to Pearl Meyer & Partners, the New York compensation consultant, pay rose 13.4 percent to $177,000 for "non-employee" directors at the top 200 U.S.
Community News

Regional Firm Raises the Bar for Competition With Web Site

Gilbert Associates, Inc. recently annouced the launch of their redesigned Web site at www.gilbertcpa.com With the use of streaming video, the firm's Web site now has the impact of a successful television and print campaign online. Managing Principal, Thomas Gilbert, provides a brief commercial on the homepage directing clients, guests and future employees to different areas of the site. Colleen Harrison, Gilbert Associate's Marketing Director commented, "We are extremely pleased to announce the completion of our Web site.
Practice Management

Ideas to Improve The Quality of Your Firm

By Nancy BlodgettHere are some helpful ways to improve the quality of your firm. Adjust Your Attitude Be open to new ideas! Make time for quality improvement. Don’t manage by fear. Help people feel secure in their jobs.Don’t let the statement: "we’ve always done it this way," keep the firm from trying new approaches to problem-solving. Change the "Us vs. Them" culture of management and staff by adopting quality principles and methods.
Technology

Tips for Effective Internal Investigations

by Stuart R. Buttrick, Baker & DanielsEmployers are forced to defend themselves against large numbers of EEOC charges and lawsuits, many of which could be avoided by prompt and effective internal investigations. A primary goal of any human resource or EEO officer should be to have an effective mechanism for allowing work-related complaints to be resolved internally.
Practice Management

Effective Employee Incentive Programs: Bring Out the Best in Your Firm

By Lisa A. Rozycki, Marketing Director, Reinsel & Company LLPIn a firm-wide marketing survey, employees were asked what would motivate them to market the firm’s services. Not surprisingly, the top two answers were "incentive compensation" and "recognition" for their efforts.Like many CPA firms across the country, we’ve had the standard commission structure on new business and cross-selling services to existing clients for a number of years. Three years ago, the paper forms that needed to be filled out for compensation almost never left the shelf.
Tax

Bill Would Require Some Tax Preparers to Register with IRS

A bill that is winding its way through Congress would require certain tax preparers to register with the IRS by passing a qualifying exam and annual exams afterward.The bill would apply only to those who have prepared five or more tax returns a year and are not covered by IRS Circular 230 — mainly financial planners. The Financial Planning Association says about 17 percent of its 28,000 members provide tax preparation services.
Practice Management

Top Ten Strategies for Boosting Small Biz Profits

by Bea Fields No matter what stage your small business is in, one thing is for sure: money matters! If you are in a slump, the fastest way to jump-start your sales is to reach out and touch as many people as possible using your unique talents and gifts. These ten tips will guide you to maximizing profits from your small business while becoming a biz expert one day at a time. Choose your words with care.Each time you speak, you have the chance to make or break your business.
Practice Management

Executives Surveyed Reveal the Biggest Mistakes They've Made as Supervisors

Nobody’s perfect, including the boss. Executives polled recently acknowledged making a number of mistakes, from not recognizing staff accomplishments to overworking their teams. While the examples were diverse, some common themes emerged. The most frequently cited issue was lack of communication, which was at the root of 20 percent of the errors. Poor hiring decisions accounted for 13 percent of the responses.The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.
Community News

What Your Staff Needs to Know When Dealing with Clients

Following are some ideas that any business should consider when designing policies and procedures to deal with customers/clients.Clients are not transactions!While transactions are important, when we confuse transactions and customers we lose the leverage of the customer relationship.Build relationships INTO your policies & procedures!When we design an organization, we need to consider how our policies and procedures will ALLOW our employees to build client relationships.Transaction density is just as important as transaction intensity!The
Practice

Many Companies Fail to Achieve Success with Pay-for-Performance Programs

Companies nationwide are placing greater emphasis on performance-based pay (in both salaries and bonuses), yet most have done little to ensure this approach to compensation is successful in meeting their goals, according to a new study from Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing firm and WorldatWork, the leading association for total rewards professionals.
Practice Management

Building a 'Ferrari' Referral Network: Fasten Your Seatbelts!

By Gale Crosley, CPAEver wish you could turbo-charge your referral efforts? The need for speed has never been greater for CPAs. If your referral program is plodding along when it should be setting the pace, there's good news: a network-building strategy that is innovative, focused and proven. Caution! This is not your father's Oldsmobile! No Free LunchCPAs have traditionally sought business through bankers and lawyers, what I call the "free lunch" program.
Practice Management

Do Your Retreats Advance Your Firm?

By, Bruce Marcus, The Marcus Newsletter We're in the middle of the retreat season. Lawyers, accountants and consultants will assemble, tie less, at fine resorts throughout the nation, to explore the futures of their firms and what can be done to sustain the present or alter the future. Good food, great weather, good golf and good sightseeing for the wives, with a couple of hours of serious business built in. Recharging the batteries, and maybe, the minds.
Practice Management

A New Era in Competing For Clients

By Bruce Marcus, The Marcus NewsletterThe conversations with Professor Philip Kotler, and Larry Smith’s findings and their interpretations in his book Inside/Outside, focus on what may be an unheralded change in professional services marketing.From the time of the Bates Decision (Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 1977), which laid the groundwork for a new era of marketing for professional services, until now, professional services marketing has concentrated on the traditional tools of marketing – the press release, the newsletter, the seminar, the brochure, etc..
Practice Management

IRS Taking Hard Look at Executive Bonuses, Deductions

The Internal Revenue Service is scrutinizing companies that give bonuses to top executives when they haven’t met previously agreed-upon performance goals.Publicly traded companies can earn tax benefits by tying bonus pay to executive performance. Deductions are limited to $1 million for the company’s top five executive officers — unless shareholders approve plans to link the compensation to specific performance targets.
Practice Management

Court of Appeals Upholds Arthur Andersen's Conviction in Enron Case

A federal appellate court has upheld a jury’s conviction of Arthur Andersen LLP for obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of its client Enron. The former Big Five accounting firm was convicted June 15, 2002, and the 5th U.S.

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