Practice news

Practice Management

Watch Your Fax Volume

Fax machines are great, but know the economics of sending many pages. Sometime it is less expensive to send multiple documents via overnight mail. Better yet, why not email a draft instead of faxing, you'll save ink toner, paper and you'll show some respect for the environment too.
Practice Management

Empower Your Employees

The other day, I called AT&T to tell them I had an error on my bill. The service rep told me she couldn't reverse the charge due to the billing cycle but she would be happy to give me an hour of free long distance for the next 6 months. I thought this was interesting for two reasons. First, it was nice that she could make a decision and take care of my issue without transferring me around the world and second, I ended the conversation with a feeling that I got something "extra." Would you ever consider giving your employees the same power to resolve a client issue?
Practice

The Right Client

You know who they are. They pay on time. They aren’t a hassle. You don’t want to hide under the desk when they call. They pay you for your time and don’t squabble about the fee (most of the time). They are called “A” clients.Do you know who your “A” clients are? Are you providing them with superior service and adding that little “extra” that will keep them coming back to you (for computer services, consulting and every other product you sell)? If you aren’t throwing added-value services their direction, it may be because you spend too much time with marginal clients.
Practice Management

Consider Prepaid Calling Cards Instead of Telephone Credit Cards

Give employees prepaid calling cards to use when they are away on business instead of company telephone cards. You will save money by eliminating per-call charges, and eliminate the risk of fraud if a card is lost or stolen.
Practice Management

Effective Meetings 101: Quiz Brings Results

How many boring, unproductive meetings have you sat through lately? If you're like most of us, you can't even begin to count how many times you've walked out of a meeting thinking about how much time you wasted.Face-to-face meetings are still the preferred method of communications by 44 percent of those surveyed in a recent poll conducted by staffing service Office Team.
Practice Management

Business Travel Airfare Reductions

If you are traveling with someone else on an airline and are willing to sit separately, you could save a lot of money on the flight. Lower priced seats may be available as "singles" and may be sold out as "doubles." Be sure to ask your travel agent or airline reservationist if this is an option.
Practice

Working With And Retaining Generation Xers

As a Gen Xer, I can say that I don’t like being lumped into a group of people that the media has widely reported is “self absorbed,” “unwilling to pay dues, “ and “woefully lacking loyalty and work ethics.” These stereotypes do little to motivate us.As a firm that is committed to growing in the future, you will be working with Generation X. The good news is that there are a lot of really good people out there that just happen to also be Gen Xers.
Practice Management

Recovering Customization Costs

Off the shelf software tends to need extra care and handling inside professional service firms to make it do what you want it to do. Recover some of the costs of customization by reselling your new-and-improved software to other professionals who have a similar need. Where can you find a market for your enhanced software? You're looking at one right now. If you have software to sell, let us know and we'll make it available to our readers.
Practice Management

Reducing Hotel Phone Charges

If you need to make several long distance calls when you get to your hotel, simply push the # key after each long distance call to disconnect. This keeps the hotel from charging you a connect fee for each long distance call.Have any $$$ Savers tips to share? Please send them to our editors and we will post them to the site. Thank you!!
Practice

Legal Eagles Nest at Ernst & Young

Remember when non-CPAs could not become owners of CPA firms? Times are changing ... and it looks as if Big 5 giants like Ernst & Young may be entering the legal arena some time soon.Getting around the system is the key, according to experts who understand that State Bar ethics rules prohibit non-practicing lawyers from owning or controlling law firms. As a result, E&Y is reportedly in negotiations with lawyers in the Washington, D.C.
Practice Management

The Product We Sell

If someone asked you what you sell, what would you say? Oil, chemicals, whatever product you sell, right? We really sell something so much bigger than the products and services our customers pay us for. In small dollar sales the customer is less conscious of value. With larger sales, the product and the resulting relationship with the buyer are harder to separate…so you are selling yourself.What makes up a relationship that adds value to your products? Our credibility, reliability, and anticipation of customer needs are the keys to a successful relationship.
Practice Management

Is "Business Coaching" Part of Your Service Mix?

The thought of hiring a business coach to help us reach our professional objectives may seem ridiculous - at first. But as an increasing number of entrepreneurs turn to professional coaches to help them successfully grow their businesses, the idea seems more reasonable.And that spells "opportunity" for CPA business advisors.Professional business coaches can help small business owners find answers to business and personal issues ranging from personnel situations to complex business obstacles.
Practice Management

Banner Ads are Five Years Old: Are They Already Dead?

Believe it or not, the banner ad you see on many popular Web sites is five years old ... but have the candles all blown out on this advertising medium, once touted as the newest way to reach mass audiences?Experts at the eretailing '99, a conference sponsored by shop.org, believe there are better ways to reach consumers and steer traffic to the Web.
Practice

Customer Service is a Core Value, not a Core Chore

Take Marketing 101 and the textbook will tell you that good customer service is one of the primary components of any operation, but what about customer service within CPA firms or CPA-owned businesses?It shouldn't be any different.
Practice Management

Growth and Considerations for Office Space

Your business is growing and bursting at the seams: you've got employees stacked literally on top of each other and can't figure out what to do … ever thought about moving offices?The first step is to determine, of course, how much you can afford and how much space your really need. For example, you have to think beyond current boundaries and figure out how many offices, workstations, conference rooms and storerooms you'll need in a new arrangement.The bottom line, or cost, is probably the largest concern - as it should be.
Practice

CPA Firm/Company Retreats are Productive Ways to Regroup

Remember the firm or company retreat of days gone by where everyone felt as if they had to participate or face a pink slip? Gone are the days of this mindset as companies across the globe have discovered the inherent benefits to the company retreat - a journey that mixes practical activities with long-term success.The retreat can be held anywhere and can be kept inexpensive. From posh Caribbean resorts to something as simple as the club room at a local restaurant, the trick is to keep it manageable.
Practice Management

Is It OK To Spy On Your Employees?

According to a survey by the American Management Association International, two-thirds of businesses eavesdrop on their employees in some fashion -- whether through email tracking, Internet usage, by videotape or over the phone. And in just about every situation, they have a right to do so.Employers have the fiduciary responsibility to protect the business they are working in, and part of that responsibility is to ensure that employees are not abusing the rules and regulations of the business.Technology has allowed the ability to monitor employee activity very easily.
Practice Management

CPA Firm Marketing Done Through E-mail Newsletters

Sometimes, the most inexpensive marketing techniques make the most impact, like the e-mail newsletter. Sure, all of us get some form of news bulletins via e-mail, so how do you make your newsletter different … and really stand out from the crowd?The trick is customizing your content and truly making the newsletter seem personal rather than spam mail.
Technology

Download This Computer Usage Policy

Does your firm have a policy for staff use of computers or the Internet? If not, you need to implement one sooner rather than later. Info Tech Partners North America, a leading technology consulting organization working with CPA firms, authored a sample policy that was used in the MAP handbook and has weathered the test of time. Please send your comments (or thanks) to Roman Kepczyk for making this sample policy available to the profession.
Practice Management

Sucessful Companies Do

Whether you are planning to grow your firm for the 21st century or you are providing business planning for your clients, a lesson from top-performing companies can help.According to AnswerThink, a consulting group, top performing companies integrate strategic planning with tactical and financial planning processes. More than two-thirds of companies worldwide currently rely only on financial planning to realize business goals.Successful companies also don’t keep strategy a secret. They share it with all levels of the organization.

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