Practice news

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.
Practice Management

With Help of Accounting Industry, Career Paths are More Clearly Defined

Men in the accounting field aren't alone anymore on the path to becoming partners in their firms. CPA firms are making great strides toward assuring women the same opportunities as men by providing mentoring and a clearly defined path to success.The latest data available from American Colleges and Universities shows that in the 2001-2002 academic year, 57 percent of those receiving bachelor's degrees in accounting were women, compared to 43 percent male accounting graduates. Over one-third of all these graduates will take their first job in public accounting.
Practice Management

Two Strikes and You're Out ... for Poor Customer Service

A recent survey commissioned by Amdocs finds that consumers 'will not take it anymore' and are likely to change service providers after two negative experiences. The national survey, which queried 1000 consumers about recent experiences in the banking, cable, retail, and telecommunications industries, shows that consumers hold companies accountable for poor customer service.
Community News

Vegas Firm Permanently Barred from Tax Returns

The National Audit Defense Network of Las Vegas, which last month closed its doors and filed a petition to liquidate its operations, has been permanently stopped from preparing federal tax returns.According to United Press International, the Treasury Department said the telemarketing firm’s alleged abusive tax schemes have cost the U.S. Treasury about $324 million in the last three years. The Justice Department on Thursday said it intends to contact NADN's customers who purchased the firm’s tax schemes or received bad advice.
Practice

SEC Cracking Down on Contingency Fee, Independence

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, acting to preserve auditor independence, is making sure the nation’s largest accounting firms are getting the message that accepting contingency fees for doing tax work for the companies they audit is not allowed.SEC Chief Accountant Donald Nicolaisen held a private meeting last week with the seven largest firms and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants where he reinforced the SEC’s position on the contingency fee issue.
Practice

Why Can't Corporations and Organizations Change?

Adult Learning Expert Gives Managers How-to's for Workplace TransitionsWhy do most organizational change initiatives fail? After surveying over 10,000 managers about their attitudes toward workplace change, Chris Musselwhite, Ed.D.
Practice Management

Lack of Direction and Too Many Goals Keep Businesses from Achieving Top Goals

Workers Need Four Basic Disciplines of Execution. Stephen R. Covey, author of the best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, believes the major reason businesses fail or remain mediocre is not due to the market or product, but because they lack the ability to take their high-level goals and strategies and translate them into concrete actions."U.S. workers have so many goals to work on, they can't stay focused on and execute their organization's top three goals," said Covey, vice chairman of FranklinCovey.
Practice Management

Companies Offering Cash Incentives to Healthy Workers

A slimmer waistline may mean a fatter wallet at some companies looking to contain their health-care costs.Companies have long encouraged healthy lifestyles with the idea that more fit employees are more productive and more satisfied employees, but now they’re offering an incentive — cash."A few years ago, companies might have offered T-shirts or mugs," says Seth Serxner, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, according to CFO magazine.
Practice Management

Seven Steps to the Litigation-Free Zone

While CPAs and finance professionals can’t control the malpractice insurance market, there is still plenty they can do to limit their liability and risk, and to protect their practices. Some cautious steps might even help to keep higher premiums at bay.Here are some pointers from the pros:Prepare—and use—a solid engagement letter - "It’s the ‘Rules of War’ drawn up during peacetime," says Aon’s Dave Sukert. A good engagement letter clearly defines the scope of the work, as well as the responsibilities of both accountant and client.
Practice

Hold Your Managing Partner Accountable

By L. Gary Boomer, CPA, CITP, CEO
Practice Management

Workplace Harassment is Not Just about Sex Anymore

Last year the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 87,755 charges of employment discrimination for $236 million in monetary and other benefits. Sexual harassment and gender-related claims made up only 30 percent of the cases. So what are employers doing wrong now? The largest number of EEOC complaints (35.1 percent) came from allegations of race discrimination.
Practice

One-in-Five Women Are Paid Less and Have Fewer Career Opportunities

Pay disparity continues to be a concern for one-in-five women who say they are paid less than men with similar talents and experience. The same amount of women reported they have fewer opportunities for career advancement than men at their current organizations, according to a new CareerBuilder.com survey. The CareerBuilder.com "Men and Women at Work 2004" survey of men and women was conducted from April 6 to April 19, 2004. When asked why they think men are paid more, four-in-ten women attribute it to favoritism shown by men in management to other men in the organization.
Practice Management

Judges Unpredictable When it Comes to Sentencing White-Collar Criminals

Federal judges are handing down wildly different sentences to corporate criminals. While a former Dynergy Inc. tax executive got 24 years in prison after his March trial for fraud offenses in Texas, three HealthSouth executives who entered guilty pleas to similar crimes in Alabama got off without jail time last week."I don't know what messages the judge is trying to send to white-collar criminals," said U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, the lead prosecutor on the HealthSouth case.

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