When people talk about
succession, they tend to focus on issues such as valuations, buyout amounts,
deferred compensation, partnership agreements, the development of new leaders
and client retention. Not much is said about the emotional side of succession.
Let’s face it: As with any transition, succession hurts. Owners struggle with
letting go of the business and the relationships they’ve built, and the new owners struggle to gain a foothold
in their new roles.
Even in a well-planned and
executed succession, there are a number of events and circumstances that cause
some level of discomfort. Succession tests
the personal and leadership strength of the outgoing owner and, when not recognized,
can deflate the excitement of the incoming owners and even threaten their future
success. If we acknowledge this side up front, we’ll be better able to set
ourselves on a smooth and successful journey. So, what tough challenges should
we prepare for on the road to succession?
Continue reading "Finding the Silver Lining in Succession" »
Now that the election is
over, the question remains: what does this mean for the upcoming tax
season? In reality, not much will change
between now and Dec. 31 and the potential fiscal cliff continues to pose
challenges. The more we can plan and get our clients prepared for uncertainty,
the better. That’s where year-end planning comes in.
It’s important to reach
out to your clients now to develop plans and analyze “what if” scenarios based on
what Congress will do to tax rates, exemption extenders and overall tax policy.
Continue reading "3 Year-End Planning Resources to Help Clients Face the Fiscal Cliff" »
As CPAs we are experts in determining profitability and well aware of the components that go into it. We do a great job coaching clients in the manufacturing or construction business on the factors they need to manage in order to improve or maintain margin on a product or construction job. Yet despite our coaching, many great clients continue to experience eroding margins year to year. Their attention to what it takes to manage profitability seems to fade away. For us who are CPA firm business owners, we are no different. Owning a business, including a CPA firm, is full of distractions, time demands, fires to extinguish, dates and people to manage, new compliance demands and complexities, etc. Like our clients, we know what we should be doing, but the pressures of the busy season somehow cause us to take our eye off the ball.
Here is my list of the top five ways to erode the profitability of CPA firm engagements.
Continue reading "5 Ways to Lose Money on Your Engagements" »
There are 29 million private businesses in this country, and every one of them needs their CPA like never before. Today’s complexities and post-recession external forces have made even the simplest business decisions difficult. As practicing CPAs, we face the very difficult dilemma of getting all the calendar year financial statements and tax returns out in a timely manner or seizing the time to capitalize on the opportunity to get deeper with clients and provide the value they seek from us. We all know what we should be doing, but the pressures of the busy season always seem to override them.
For decades practice management surveys consistently revealed that the main reason clients leave their CPA is a perceived indifference on the part of the CPA/CPA firm. CPAs care passionately about their clients. So what is it that we do to give our clients the feeling that we don’t?
Continue reading "Five Ways to Lose Your Best Clients" »
As I travel the country meeting with small firm owners, I am finding that most have weathered the recession. Most firms report flat revenue or very moderate growth (1-3%). Firms have done a good job sharpening the pencil and controlling expenses effectively, and this has enabled them to keep their bottom lines respectable. They are running lean and mean today; but what about tomorrow?
Continue reading "CPA Firms are at a Crossroads - 2012 and Beyond" »