Practice Management

Practice Management

How to defend yourself against receivables fraud

Fraud investigator Andy Wilson has produced a list of self-tests that companies can use to measure how well defended they are against receivables fraud.Here's a rundown of his guidelines..."I don't understand it. Business is as good as it has ever been ... but there is no money in the bank," said the owner of a floral business to a group of anti-fraud professionals he had retained to determine if the business was bleeding cash via internal fraud.Two days before the fraud examination was to begin the bookkeeper failed to report to work.
Practice Management

Personal liability for sales tax - not just for corporate officers anymore!

Are you a "responsible party" party when it concerns the collection and remittance of your company's sales tax? Most corporate accounting and finance people would respond to this question by saying "I don't know" or "I'm not an officer of the company, so how can I be personally liable?" If you answered "I don't know" you may want to find out for sure. If you believe that only corporate officers can be personally liable, guess again.
Practice Management

The ten rules of effective team selling, By Allan Boress

As a sales and marketing consultant, I strongly recommend "team selling." It is a very powerful tool - when orchestrated correctly. Unfortunately, more often than not, team selling can backfire and cause sales to be lost, rather than won.The Advantages of Team SellingThere are several vital advantages of working as a team when attempting to bring in a new customer or client or to sell additional business to a customer:Psychological SupportDon't laugh - this is the most important benefit of going in as a team.
Practice Management

Ten things to think about before offering a payroll service to clients

Online payroll processing technologies are rapidly changing the economics of payroll services and are providing profitable solutions designed for accountants whose small business clients want help managing the process. "Offering payroll services leads to a higher retention level. The client has the need and can go somewhere else," says Phil Christensen CPA, sole proprietor and owner of Christensen Consulting LLC in Olympia, Washington.
Practice Management

Change Management: Get it right

Strong skills for managing change are an important part of any organization's development program. David Kelly, head of development at UK-based Unicus Coaching and Development, gives his five steps for success. These steps can be used within your own organization that is experiencing change or can be communicated to a client who's company is facing a change.When it comes to leading change, many managers assume that because a change has been announced most of their people will react negatively or at least apprehensively.
Practice

To retain or detain: The case for staff development

A good accountant these days is hard to find. So what can you do to stop them from leaving your practice? Well, put those bonuses back in your bank balance as, according to features writer Rob Lewis, expertise and experience is what they really want.Like the sun, suitably qualified accountants have been hard to find this summer. In fact, according to a swathe of surveys and reports we are in the grip of an accounting recruitment crisis. So if accountants are so hard to come by, surely firms should be doing everything in their power to hold on to the ones they already have.
Practice

Tips for that first call to a prospective client

Making that good first impression on a prospective client usually begins with a phone call, when in a few minutes you must identify yourself, show interest in the prospect's business and make an effort to establish rapport. Thank the potential client for taking the call and identify yourself, briefly, telling him or her whether you are making a call through a referral or as a follow up to an introduction at a business or social event.
Practice Management

Inspired employees mean good customer service

Organizations that have excited and passionate people are more likely to create a service-focused culture that delivers great customer service.That's the conclusion of a new study by California-based consulting firm, The Ken Blanchard Companies, which also concludes that employees are in fact an organization's most critical customer service asset - one that requires focused development and nurturing. Research found that most organizations agree that customer loyalty is a powerful driver of organizational success and one that ties directly to the bottom line.
Technology

Teaching old blogs new tricks

Despite understanding how valuable blogging can be, many firms are still failing to fully embrace it. Marketing management provider WebTrends found that contrary to 85 percent of marketers' perceptions that an effective web presence is important in achieving sales and objectives, just 5 percent blog on a regular basis.Instead, its research showed Internet tools such as e-direct and web analytics continue to dominate. Podcasts are another medium to watch for business, says the firm, as despite relatively low usage at the moment, it registered the highest level of user satisfaction.
Practice Management

Why you should hire a training professional

Boomer Consulting is dedicated to providing visionary leadership and consulting services to accounting firms that are seeking to make more money, grow their business, and attract quality people. This article, written by Scott Morrill of Boomer Consulting, describes the author's position on how accounting firms can benefit from having a full-time training professional on staff.I recently had to ask my 8-year-old son for the correct answer to a question about dinosaurs.
Practice

Women at work: AICPA guide addresses off-ramping issues

Over the past few years, it has become clear that organizations in the financial services, accounting, and consulting industries need to focus their energies on the attraction and retention of women professionals. The talent of these individuals is essential to the success of any professional services firm, and as the below statistics will reveal, this talent pool is experiencing tremendous change.
Tax

Is your data safe? Survey reveals scandal of snooping IT staff

Results of a recent study reveal the hidden scandal of IT staff snooping at the confidential information of other employees.
Practice Management

Customer service takes a turn back to low-tech solutions

Businesses can save money with automated phone systems and online help centers, but what is the cost in terms of customer aggravation?Business owners may want to rethink their machines, with their endless lists of options, when they consider the case of online movie rental company Netflix, along with the "get human" consumer movement.Netflix has decided that offering real customer service - with real people at the end of the phone line - is a viable business option.
Technology

Intuit announces new CEO

Intuit Inc. has announced that Steve Bennett, current president and chief executive officer, will step down at the end of December 2007. Intuit's board of directors has appointed Brad Smith, current senior vice president and general manager of Intuit's Small Business Division, to succeed Bennett effective January 1."Steve Bennett has been an outstanding leader for Intuit over the last eight seasons," said Bill Campbell, chairman of Intuit's board of directors.
Practice Management

It takes two: Making mentoring work

Do you have mentoring experiences of your own, either as mentor or mentee? Please share your experiences with our readers by clicking on the Comment option below this story.They say two heads are better than one, which is why mentoring can help unlock the potential within staff looking to develop within the company. But it's not all one sided.
Practice Management

The best kept secret: How to market your firm in one easy step

What they teach you in marketing school is that marketing is a sum of the coordinated efforts of many tools. And essentially, that's true. Rarely, in marketing a practice, does only one thing work to carry the full weight of marketing. But what if you've got a small practice, and time or money to do only one thing?What if you could use only one of the many marketing tools. Which tool would be your best choice? Easy. Writing articles. And it doesn't matter whether you're a one-person office, or a partner in a major international firm. No one tool can do more for you on its own.
Practice Management

We have to stop meeting like this

With managers experiencing meeting overload, Bert van der Zwan of WebEx gives a web-conferencer’s view of why having fewer face-to-face encounters can benefit both companies and their staff. How many meetings do you attend every month? For some of us it may only be one or two, but for others a meeting every or every other day would not be an unusual state of affairs. Recent research on the subject found that on average, each working person in the UK attends almost eight meetings every month, and over 90 every year.
Practice Management

Institutional fraud is on the rise

Oversight Systems, the leading provider of automated continuous monitoring solutions, has released the results of its annual report on corporate fraud. Although the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act took effect five years ago, three out of four survey respondents feel institutional fraud is more prevalent today than it was in 2002. In addition, an eye-opening 56 percent of respondents said they have personally observed financial misconduct in the past year.
Practice

Corporate world welcomes wikis

Almost everyone who owns a computer knows about Wikipedia, the huge, do-it-yourself online encyclopedia. The software that makes Wikipedia possible is becoming increasingly easy to use, and corporate America is starting to embrace wikis as a tool for simple and swift collaboration.In fact, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told Newsweek that the wikis are becoming mainstream, not just for "tech geeks." And in corporate settings, wikis break down barriers.
Practice Management

Twelve ways small business owners can ensure their best employees never want to leave

Every entrepreneur knows the hectic lifestyle that comes along with starting and running a company. (Heck, most of us live for the craziness!) But have you ever considered how this work schedule affects your employees? You can bet the fate of your business on the fact that they don't enjoy the long hours or the days (and nights) they must unexpectedly come into the office to handle the latest emergency. If too many such days come and go without any acknowledgement from you, you can bet they'll be handing out their resumes all over town.

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