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FREE DOWNLOAD: Martin Bissett’s Practice Growth Checklist

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13 Critical Questions to Benchmark You and Your Firm

By Martin Bissett
CPA Trendlines

These are difficult questions. But the checklist can help you gain a fuller understanding of how your firm is growing – or why not. And it can help you understand and identify the best areas to address.

Now, with a sharp pencil in hand, please proceed with the checklist.

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The CPA Technology Gift Guide
Join David for "Inspector Gadget 2017:" Gizmos and gadgets have become an indispensable part of our digital lives – ever transforming the way we work, play and live. From cloud computing, mobile and hybrid devices to entertainment, home automation, and the Internet-of-Things – every aspect of our days are impacted by the latest technology offerings. Join Inspector Gadget as he shares cutting edge tech trends and the hottest gear that every user will want to consider in the months ahead.  Learn more

Seven high-tech goodies for tax and accounting professionals.

By David Cieslak

Looking for the perfect gift for that special CPA in your life? Or maybe you are ready to splurge in a moment of self-indulgence? Either way, this technology gift guide features options for all budgets. Take a look.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga: If it's time for you to upgrade your laptop, or you're simply tired of carrying both a laptop and a tablet, look no further than the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Lenovo's premium business-class convertible. The Yoga is the standout among the X1-branded ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, and ThinkVision products Lenovo has released in 2016. The X1 Yoga can be used in laptop, stand, tent, and tablet modes and supports an active digitizer stylus pen that recharges inside the notebook. Lenovo touts the Yoga, at 2.8 pounds with a 14-inch touchscreen display, as the lightest 2-in-1 of its kind.

What really sets the Yoga apart, however, is that it offers buyers the ability to pair its business-class computing power with an optional organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. The OLED screen's contrast and color saturation are amazing to behold—and unmatched among business-class 2-in-1s. In addition, as you might expect from the world's No. 1 manufacturer of business computers, the Yoga provides professional performance with almost identical dimensions and technical specifications as the standard ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook. In addition, because it's a convertible, the Yoga allows you to enjoy the tablet experience without having to carry a separate device.


Why More Firms Are Trashing Timesheets

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ARECOMMENDED: Two books to read.

By Ed Mendlowitz

QUESTION: I’ve read that many firms are no longer using timesheets. How do you feel about that?

MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: How Much Overhead Is Too Much?|Clear Billing Procedures Make Collecting Easier | Change Your Thinking About ‘Small’ Clients | Why Adopting New Technologies Is a Must | When Fees Don’t Keep Up With Cost Increases | Lowballing and Why It (Usually) Doesn’t Work | Why the Average Fee Doesn’t Matter | How to Apply Value Pricing to Bundled Services | 8 Times When Hourly Billing Trumps Value Pricing | 14 Ways to Switch to Value Pricing | Pricing, Billing, Costing: Don’t Blame Clients

ANSWER: There is a growing group of firms that no longer use timesheets. The leader of this movement is Ron Baker, who explains his reasons and provides a model in his many books, many of which I have read and recommend.


12 Traits of a Better You

Man facing mirror that has bursting out of it a hand holding a red question markPlus a 12-step annual goal-setting process.

By Rob Nixon

I've said that you should design your business by your rules and the way you want it to be. You’re taking all the risk so you should have all the spoils.

MORE ON STRATEGY: How to Calculate a Value Price | Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical | 8 Ways to Improve Firm Profits | 17 Killer Questions for Prospects | Growing Your Client Database | Niche Markets Are Your Best Buyers | Is Your Business By Design or Default?

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Many partners of accounting firms get the concept and they agree with the theory. What I find is that they often lack the personal development to pull it off.

Create Your Marketing Plan

Sandi Leyva: "If the trust isn’t there, neither is the sale."The 13 channels you have ... but you won't need all of them.

By Sandi Leyva

Once you know the type of client you want to go after and the number of new clients you need to get, you can begin on your marketing plan.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: How to Determine Your Ideal Client | Build Your Revenue Plan in Reverse | 5 Fast, Easy Ways to Turn Annual Clients into Year-Round Clients | How to Teach Financial Literacy | How to Keep Current | 10 Easy Tips to Boost Your Business Cash Flow | How to Fire a Client | How to Manage Client Expectations
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There are simply two steps:

  • Deciding which channels you’ll be using, then seeing how many clients you can get per channel
  • Converting the number of clients you need into the number of leads you need in order to close the correct number of clients. You won’t get a “yes” for every lead you attract, so you’ll need more leads than clients to make your number. The difference is your close ratio. And it varies for each channel you use.


What a Value Proposition Truly Is (and Isn’t)

Words "customer" and "value" on interlocking gearsDo it right and win in 4 key areas.

By Domenick J. Esposito

It is a myth that pricing is the main reason a CPA firm loses clients or proposals.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: The Importance of M&A Culture Due Diligence | Get Your Money’s Worth from Non-Billable Time | Stay Independent But Keep Looking Upward | Ineffective Partners and How to Address Them | The Dangers of Low-Hanging Fruit | 10 Common Leadership Traps | Expand Your National and Global Geographic Reach
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Price is a one-dimensional sales pitch – your firm is either the lowest price or you’re not – end of the story and end of the sales pitch.

6 Questions for Planning Your Succession

August Aquila: "Holding on too long is the most serious sin you can commit."Make your planning spell SUCCESS.

By August J. Aquila

It’s no surprise to anyone thinking about retiring or selling a practice today that the number one issue they face is finding someone to take over the practice.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 7 Issues in Partner Retirement Planning | Solving Underperforming or Dysfunctional Partners | The 3 Types of Partners You Need | How MPs Can Make a Real Difference | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals
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There is a definite shortage of buyers and those who are buying are becoming more and more selective. Many firms will find that it has now turned into a buyers’ market.

Meet the World’s Fastest Camera

Man adjusting camera
CREDIT: Kennet Ruona | Lund University

It can capture 5 trillion (with a T) frames per second.

By Rick Richardson

A new camera developed in Sweden is faster than any other photography gear on the planet.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: How to Beat Robocallers on Your Landline | How Blockchain Makes Accounting Obsolete | Samsung’s Bixby to Challenge Apple’s Siri | The 10,000 Steps a Day Myth | Underwater Imaging Updated for iPhone 7 | The Flash Drive with 2 Terabytes | Go Abroad and Take the Internet With You
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Researchers at Sweden's Lund University built a crazy-fast camera that can capture a staggering five trillion frames per second, or events as short as 0.2 trillionths of one second. Conventional cameras, by contrast, top out at around 100,000 frames per second

Which Wireless?

Blue WiFi symbol over a map backgroundWhat do your employees need? Hotspots.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

One of the revolutions in remote connectivity is happening within your cell phone as digital cellular providers have beefed up and expanded their networks to provide reliable Internet access to remote devices.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Why Unified Messaging Matters | Back Up Your Bandwidth | How to Choose Which Microsoft Office Version to Use | Time to Replace a Server? Consider the Cloud | Monitor Real Estate: More Is Better | Why You Need an Independent Security Review | Standardize QuickBooks Support (and Bring Your Clients) | Remote Deposit Saves in Several Ways | How Efficient Are Your Audits?
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Today, the vast majority of the U.S. and Canada has access to the Internet through the 4G digital cellular network at speeds of 1MBps or more, which is adequate for remote access to most applications, particularly those hosted by cloud providers.

How to Calculate a Value Price

Price and value balanced on scale above a tablet computer3 areas of focus.

By Rob Nixon

The problem with pricing by the hour is that the assumption is that the price per hour is correct (often calculated by a salary multiple) and the time to do the task was correct. The assumption is that time multiplied by the rate equals the correct price.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical | 8 Ways to Become Super-Efficient | Sales Is Like Workflow Management | Sales Is about Trust | How to Dominate the Internet | Marketing Objectives Determine Marketing Amount | What Products Should You Create? | Keep a Watchful Eye on Clients | Rewards Go Far Beyond Money | People Still Needed, But In Different Ways
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In my view, nothing could be further from the truth.