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Editor's Corner: What's New in Vendor and Firm Plans?

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May 8th 2015
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Every so often I am going to use this column to call particular attention to some of the latest news and other content on our site, just to offer some perspective beyond what is there and in the hopes it will generate more conversation.

This week I would like to explore a couple of key vendor moves as well as some powerful viewpoints and reports that can have an impact on your firm’s and clients' future.

To start with, I’d like to take a look at a piece from contributor Bill Carlino, managing director at Transition Advisors – a New York-based accounting profession consultant. He explains that there are five common myths when if comes to a firm’s succession plans, and in fact, the lack of succession planning has reached “crisis proportions” as many firms have not thought theirs through, or simply have not thought of one at all.

Now, is Carlino being alarmist? Ask yourself if you have a plan or even thought about one lately. If you’ve been in practice for even a decade or so and don’t know what’s next, you could be setting yourself up for a very difficult situation.

These days the trend in the profession seems to be either jump ship and start something new or simply just lock the door and throw away the keys. Which, if you think about it, is kind of disappointing given the decades you gave to the profession. And what about your clients? (won’t somebody please think of the clients). Without a proper plan, they get left in the cold.

Next, to continue on the succession-planning tip, our contributor Terry Sheridan talks about how the North American Securities Administrators Association’s new model rule for business continuity and succession planning by state-registered investment advisers now requires written procedures.

Basically what the rule says is: “Advisers face significant risks if they become unable to serve clients, either temporarily or permanently. Failing to address these risks with a [business continuity and succession plan] can result in harm to advisers’ clients, exposure to regulatory actions, and litigation for failure to satisfy legal, regulatory, or contractual duties.”

In short, thinking about succession planning for your firm and your clients is more of a priority.

Ok, so on to the vendor world. One of the more interesting items we found for your discussion is Intuit’s announcement of their upcoming ad campaign, whereby small businesses, and now even their accountants, can win free advertising from the QuickBooks maker.

Whether you are a Super Bowl fan or not, or maybe you just like seeing the ads, you may have caught a spot from toymaker Goldiblox. The small business entered a contest, whereby they submitted video about their story and posted via social media, and was ultimately selected to receive a multimillion dollar ad spot in the Super Bowl. The company also happens to be a QuickBooks user, and the product was soft-promoted at the end of the ad, as was Intuit ... which did pay for the spot.

Well, this year, Intuit is doing a similar contest for Super Bowl 50 in 2016, only this time the accounting firms that work with the winning companies will receive local advertising (billboards, papers, etc.) from Intuit.

Look, we all know that Intuit has been about accountants for years. Heck, until the last few years, its QuickBooks product had very little competition, and accountants used and recommended it to their clients without question. Now that the cloud movement is on, Intuit has been “all in” with getting accountants to help transition clients to the cloud and its QuickBooks Online product in particular. Moreover, efforts like this go a long way to help try to show that the company still really cares about accountants and wants them to do well, too. Who knows, maybe one of your clients will indeed be selected for an ad.

How do you feel about Intuit’s latest efforts, not only for small businesses, but for accountants, too?

Also, speaking of cloud accounting, keep an eye out for some news from Sage North America as it has just announced some enhancements to its one-and-only true cloud product, Sage One Accounting. There will be improvements to pricing, including a free version, and numerous product additions, including full bank reconciliation capabilities.

Finally, next week is the New Jersey Accounting Technology Show which, much like the New York show, typically has roughly the same service and product vendors in tow, and similar speakers as well. Even so, I’m expecting a bit of news out of at least around the time of the event so stay tuned.

In the meantime, as ever, if you do have comments, suggestions, or discussions you would like to see feel free to email me or post in our Forums.

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