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Ask yourself this question about how your firm, your business, or you deliver services to customers: Do you give clients more than what they really want just because you can? I've had conversations with several accountants who were frustrated after pitching prospective business clients – especially when they've invested considerable time and effort in crafting proposals and presentations – and then the potential client says, "I would have signed on if you had just typed the basics on a sheet of paper." We're all victims of overkill at times. Just because we can do a task to the nth degree, doesn't mean that's always the best route.

Memories of overkill flooded my mind when looking online for a weather forecast from a local source, such as a TV station. I only wanted the "bottom line" on what's going to happen; I did not want loads of videos, charts, and maps relating to the forecast. Give me the choice of elaborate or simple – don't assume. Overkill!

Having spent many years in banking and also at an accounting firm, I certainly witnessed (and participated in, I'm sure) overkill. We thought about having flashing lights and sound effects on this newsletter, but sometimes "simple" is better.

Rob Nance
CFO survey: U.S. leads Europe in economic, business confidence
Chief Financial Officers in the United States lead CFOs in Europe in optimism, access to credit, and plans for hiring new workers. Despite their differences, U.S. and European CFOs share some of the same business challenges and economic worries as they kick off 2011. Read More >>
Small business employment index indicates job growth in January
Small business employment continued to show encouraging growth in January, with hours worked showing a strong increase as wages grew slightly, according to a recent survey. Read More >>
Texas Society of CPAs recommends separate standards for private companies under FAF
TSCPA officials said that the society has long supported the development of accounting standards that meet the needs of privately held companies in the United States, especially those that are the backbone of the economy, and are not adequately served through current GAAP financial statements. Read More >>
Five cool Web apps for running your firm
You've probably noticed that most new software is now developed for the Web rather than the desktop. This actually isn't a trend; instead, it's expected that Web-developed software will become the norm. Read More >>
Employers offer training, flexible schedules, mentoring to attract, retain staff
Companies concerned about keeping top performers and attracting new ones might be sweetening the pot with non-monetary benefits, according to a recent survey. Subsidized training and education topped the list of perks. Read More >>
What key words are tax accountants searching for?
Intuit, the makers of, among other software, ProLine Tax Research, has agreed to share with our readers the most-sought-after tax research terms that accountants are searching for this busy season. Read More >>
CPA firms make Super Bowl wager for charity
It won't just be the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers battling for bragging rights on February 6. Independent public accounting firms in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have joined the fray, with an eye toward helping a charity. Read More >>
A cautionary tale: Busy season can be life threatening
During the tax season of 1995-1996, Norm Lorch was not feeling well. He had a sore throat, but told himself it would go away. In any case, he did not have time to go to a doctor. Lorch is principal of Owings Mills, Maryland-based Norman J. Lorch, Chartered. Read More >>
How an embezzler stole millions from a small company
New details have emerged on the methods used and the outcomes following the case of 47-year-old convicted embezzler Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva, who was the trusted 15-year veteran vice president of finance, secretary, and principal accounting officer of Koss Corporation. Read More >>
What frustrates you about the UK?
For me, it's bad customer service. There, I've said it. The inability to handle our complaints in a competent manner and fob us off with excuses, only to then be passed to another member of staff, in another department, and having to explain the whole situation again. Read More >>
Those aren't swans – swans are white
It's hard to find an ardent defender of the billable hour anymore. Oh, they're out there, but they are a marginal fringe group--late adopters on the diffusion curve; the type of people who only buy a touch-tone phone because rotaries are no longer available. Read More >>
Secure exchange of information with clients
We don't just want to send information to clients. We need a secure place to receive their data and signed documents, as well. The system needs to be secure and affordable. And, most of all, it needs to be user-friendly. Read More >>
Connecticut introduces three bills to tax Internet sales
The Connecticut General Assembly recently introduced three bills, which, if enacted, would impact Internet retailers. Read More >>
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