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Guest articles

Practice Management

Common Characteristics of Peak Performers

By Kerry L. Johnson, Ph.D. - Are you a peak performer? It seems as though every pro thinks they are the best. Nobody else can sell like them, or close like them. But yet, when I press them on exactly what it is that makes up a peak producer, they usually say, a strong positive mental attitude, goals and aspirations. It's shocking to see what little knowledge most salespeople have of what it takes to be a top producer. The Xerox Corporation recently conducted a study to learn what makes a top performer.

Help Your Clients Take Control of Their Retirement Assets

By Jim Wagner, President & CEO, Trust Administration Services - Do you have clients that are frustrated with their retirement plans because of limited investment options or poor investment performance? Today many accountants are finding the answer to this question is a resounding YES.It is easy to understand why. It is estimated that investors lost in excess of $7 trillion in the equity markets from 2000 to 2002.
Technology

Security Fundamentals For your Firm

By Matthew Wilson, MCSE As technology consultants to CPA firms, we at Boomer Consulting are often asked for “the” solution to a given technology issue, question, or problem. Easy answers to the question of security do not exist. This article gives the non-technical reader a glimpse into the world of computer security. Hopefully, you will understand the threats, preventative measures, and countermeasures that comprise the cat-and-mouse game of security.
Community News

Sure-Fire Selling Approaches For Professionals To Win More Business

By Allan S. Boress, CPA, CFE, and Michael CummingsWould you like to close more sales - faster -easier? Work with a better quality of client? Never be concerned about where the next client is coming from?Mistake #1 Selling On The Customer's TurfProblem: Professionals try to qualify and close at a prospect's office -- because it is more convenient for customers and makes it easier to get meetings.Solution: NEVER conduct the initial sales interview on the client's turf.If you do, two problems occur.
Community News

What's Your Marketing Attitude?

By, C.J. Hayden, MCC - Entrepreneurs pay a lot of attention to the mechanics of marketing. They take workshops, read books, and hire consultants to find out how to do the best job they possibly can. With my own clients, I often discover that their knowledge of marketing techniques is quite good already. What they might lack is the right kind of marketing attitude. Do any of the attitudes described below sound familiar? If so, you may be sabotaging your own marketing efforts.
Practice Management

Organizational Effectiveness: What Can You Influence?

By, Phyllis Weiss Haserot - People at all levels have some power to influence factors in their work lives based on their personal strengths, their ability to interact with others, and the knowledge that they hold or share. Those in leadership positions are poised to exert more influence than followers, but they have to be willing to take a stand, give consistent support, and be ever vigilant to maintain trust among their colleagues and "followers." Unless the leader is truly a dictator, direct influence is limited.
Community News

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Alienate Your Employees

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc. - During the past decade, top management has done an excellent job of alienating employees. Their concern for people has taken a backseat to cost reduction, outsourcing of jobs, and a focus on short-term profits. And forget about training programs, promotions, or pay increases.As a result, many employees have said that once the economy turns around, they will be leaving for greener pastures.HOW TO ALIENATE YOUR EMPLOYEES
Tax

Helping Whistleblowers Help Organizations Fight Fraud

By White-Collar Crime Fighter - The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires audit committees of public companies to establish procedures to confidentially address all employee complaints regarding questionable accounting practices.While that requirement doesn't specifically guarantee protection to whistleblowers who want to report other internal frauds, the spirit of the new law does strongly encourage companies to set up systems and procedures for encouraging employees to come forward when they observe or suspect internal fraud.Key: With the new emphasis on corporate ethics i
A&A

Unique Staffing Strategies For Your Firm

by L. Gary Boomer, CPA, CITP, CEO - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Baby Boomers comprise 60% of the prime-workforce today. A year ago it appeared accounting might follow a shortage in IT talent around the year 2005 or 2006. Today it looks like the shortage will occur in the accounting industry first and has already started in selective parts of the country. This is particularly true with auditing and accounting skills. California firms are reporting shortages of experienced accountants and auditors.
Practice

How to Effectively Delegate Work and Responsibilities

Effective delegation will not only give you more time to work on your area of expertise, but you will also give others in your firm the opportunity to learn new skills and achieve their goals. Delegation helps people grow underneath you in an organization and thus pushes you even higher in management. It provides you with more time, and you will be able to take on higher priority projects. Delegate whole pieces or entire job pieces rather than simply tasks and activities.
Community News

Articulating The Values of Your Professional Service Firm

By Nancy Blodgett - To come to consensus about what its stands for and where it's headed, one South Carolina-based professional service firm recently took the time required to produce an organizational mission statement.Taking a key idea out of Stephen Covey's best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, decided it was important to draft a mission statement for the law firm.
Community News

How Smart Leaders Reach Out

by Cheri L. Swales, Monster.comDedication to your company is not the only thing you need to consider when developing your career. Volunteering can be an important part of your leadership skills repertoire. Networking is the best way to enhance your career status, and volunteering is one of the best networking opportunities. Why Do People Volunteer?People volunteer in the community for a variety of reasons.

Employees Need Soft Skills - Good Manners Matter

Today's business is plagued with stories of lost sales, eroded relationships, and missed opportunities that may have been caused by a lack of "soft skills." The phrase, soft skills, in this context, is synonymous with good manners, such as how to introduce your colleagues, how to butter your bread in a restaurant, and even how to carry your golf bag. A lack of proper manners and good etiquette can cost you business in today's competitive environment.
Technology

Save Customized Microsoft Excel Chart Styles

If you create charts in Excel, chances are good that you adjust the formatting of the standard chart style each time you create a new chart. You may change the size of the font, perhaps you add some background color, you might include your company logo on the chart, you may prefer the currency format for your numbers, or you may prefer a line graph to the default column style.
Practice Management

How Your Firm can Fully Utilize the Talent of Your Employees

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. Close to 35 percent of employees feel that their job does not make good use of their skills. When employees aren't fully using their abilities, they are:- Unhappy; - Less productive; and - More likely to quit.When employees are underutilized, organizations suffer because they are not maximizing the results they can obtain from them. Management often contributes to the problem by:

Embracing Opportunity in a Multi-Provider Environment

By Gale Crosley, CPAFor decades, a simple, one-to-one relationship existed between CPAs firm and clients. Now, Sarbanes-Oxley has changed the landscape, potentially pairing a single client with multiple providers. Although the legislation chiefly affects the public environment, it has brought heightened sensitivity to conflict-of-interest in the private sector as well. The scenario is analogous to 1984 and the breakup of AT&T, which had held a virtual monopoly in the telecommunications industry.

The Road to Success; Growing Your Network

By Alvah Parker, Parker Associates "How do I grow my business through referrals?" "I was just downsized and need another job, what are your suggestions?" "How do I find that company?" These are the questions people ask me. While each question has an array of answers, one answer that comes up for all these questions is to network. Whether you are a business owner, work in business or are starting a new career, having a network of people to support you is imperative. A client told me she was concerned about her job.
A&A

Targeting the Best Prospects, Narrow Your Focus

Many partners think that selling to the widest possible market is the likeliest path to success. They are afraid to pursue a market niche because they fear they'll lose business by turning away customers. But this 'take all comers' approach is not very effective. It's hard to stand out when you market your business without a distinctive set of prospects in mind. Occupying a niche means you won't be competing with a lot of similar businesses solely on price.
Practice Management

Tips for Loss Prevention Policies; Employee Theft Solutions

by Stuart R. Buttrick, Baker & Daniels. It goes without saying that all employers are concerned about employee theft. As a result, employers are constantly looking for tools to prevent their, or their employees', property from becoming the victim of "sticky fingers." One of the most common practices used by employers to combat workplace theft is to search employees' personal belongings. However, as will be discussed below, there are a host of legal considerations that employers must take into account before it embarks on employee searches.
Practice Management

Doing Well by Doing Good; Organizing Contributions With A Firm Giving Policy

By Bruce W. Marcus, marcus@marcusletter.comWe’re getting to that time of year when the requests for corporate donations to good causes begin to come in. So much need. So few available dollars. And as you grow larger, and make deeper inroads into your community and your market, so too do the demands and urgings for your participation increase.Obviously, you can’t respond generously to everyone who solicits your help.

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