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April 2016 Article Archives

Some Thoughts on Workload Compression: From a Managing Partner's Perspective

Published on April 22, 2016 by Joel Olbricht, CPA, CGMA, OlbrichtStorniolo

As an owner and managing partner of a 14-member CPA firm, I must accept the fact that workload compression is a part of the firm's annual calendar - understanding that I cannot totally control the challenge.  I love tax season and that is not a personality defect!  I get a sense of purpose from meeting our mission every year within our corporate strategy.   

We get to rediscover the life journey of clients in our re-connection meetings.  We find out what worries them on family and business.  Becoming their life coach and adviser restarts every February during these one-on-one meetings.  Nothing gets better than solving problems and financial frustrations in our annual meetings.  So I embrace the annual meeting and client service (aka tax) season.


Why Should You Attend the National Practice Management Conference in Baltimore?

Published on April 22, 2016 by Bob Biddle, AAAPM, Bowman & Company, LLP

I have been a member of the CPAFMA since 1985.  Yea, I know I don’t look that old…ok keep those snide comments to yourself.  And my first conference was that same year in Dallas, which happened to be only the second conference overall (the first was the previous year in Philadelphia).  For a number of years thereafter I missed the conference because of a scheduling conflict with partners’ meetings but I have attended the conference for the last 14 years and I wouldn’t miss it for anything (yes, I got my partners to switch the dates of our June partners’ meeting because they understood that my attendance at the conference added value to our firm).


Tax Season Debrief

Published on April 22, 2016 by Alan Alexander, Strategic Project Director, RSM US

Right now is the time to start thinking about analyzing what went right and what went wrong this tax season and the answers will be found within your tax department. As a professional in firm management, you are uniquely positioned to help in this area because you are not bound by history. You will be able to look at the process from start to finish and make unbiased determinations of what is working and what needs work. Whether you choose to undertake and lead the process yourself or hire an independent third party to come and in and work with you is the first step and may be dependent on your existing firm culture. If your culture is open and collaborative, it might make sense for you to lead the effort. If your office tends to be more restrictive, you may feel a third party would make management more receptive to proposals.



Published on April 22, 2016 by Jim Fahey, AAAPM, CPAFMA Chair

Friends are usually something associated with things after work, but they also play a critical role with all things at work.  You’ve probably read from multiple sources that people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.  This statement emphasizes the importance of relationships – both good and bad – and their effect on the time we spend a majority of our waking hours doing – our careers.  If you don’t have friends at work, something is amiss.

Just like your personal life, friendships at work are developed over time.  Time, there certainly is a lot of that at work!  People will default to relationships at work with their co-workers – either you will want to hang out with them more or try to avoid them altogether….and of course, there is somewhere in between.


CPAFMA and INSIDE Public Accounting Need Your Help

Published on April 22, 2016

CPAFMA has once again partnered with INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) to sponsor and promote the 2016 IPA Firm Administration Survey. The survey covers administration costs, partnership issues, compensation, charge hours, utilization, business incentives, workflow and more.   We would be grateful if you would consider participating in the survey, along with three other benchmarking surveys IPA provides to the profession.

The deadline for submission is June 3, 2016. THERE IS NO COST TO PARTICIPATE.


Engagement Letters for the Individual Tax Practitioner

Published on April 22, 2016 by John F. Raspante, CPA and Stephen Vono, NAPLIA

Tighten language limiting your professional liability.

Professional liability insurance carriers and defense attorneys have always proclaimed that engagement letters are one of the first lines of defense in a malpractice cause of action against a CPA. After all, when drafted properly, engagement letters form the basis for an enforceable contract and should have caveats unique to the scope of service provided, the amount of risk inherent in the engagement, and the need to satisfy professional standards. 


Meet Kristin Holthus, CPA from Anton Collins Mitchell LLP

Published on April 22, 2016

Read more about Kristin Holthus, CPA, Controller with Anton Collins Mitchell LLP (ACM), a Colorado-based firm.  Kristin has been CPAFMA's Colorado Chapter President for the past two years.

What is your hometown?
Pinedale, Wyoming

Where did you go to school?
I have a BS degree in Accounting from the University of Wyoming with a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Denver.

How did you get into accounting firm management?
I always knew I wanted to be part of the business world; I just wasn't sure in what capacity. Once I began taking accounting classes, it clicked and I knew what my career path would be.


Busy Season: Staying Connected and Having Fun!

Published on April 22, 2016 by Ann White, AAAPM, BDO

We know all too well how the long days and weeks during spring busy season can take a toll on those who work in public accounting. Employee engagement and retention are even more challenging with the impact of workload compression. There is no shortage of articles on this topic but what does your firm actually do about employee retention and is it working?

It’s no secret that employees want to spend more time with their family and friends, I know I do! Do you keep your focus on the big picture and long lasting impact rather than the here and now? What creative options has your firm considered? This is truly one size fits one; what works in one office may not work in another. Options that convey empathy and caring for working long hours but still maintain the emphasis that client needs must be met, will improve your office morale and commitment. This is a people business after all and when we find ways to show our employees that we care about them, most employees will do their best work! Keep your plan simple – simple implementation, simple details to remember and explain, and simple to assess.


Take the 2016 AICPA, PCPS, National MAP Survey

Published on April 22, 2016

How does your firm stack up against others in the profession? Curious about the latest technology trends in firms around the country? How are you and others leveraging staff in the current economy? Find out by taking part in the CPA profession’s premier benchmarking study – the AICPA PCPS National MAP Survey.

The survey covers key practice management issues that will allow your firm to compare its financial performance and operations to other firms, as well as gain strategic insights into building a more profitable and rewarding practice. Additionally, survey results will help accounting firms benchmark themselves against same-sized firms regionally and nationally.


2016 CPAFMA Technology Survey Review and Results

Published on April 22, 2016 by Roman Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, CGMA, AAAPM, Xcentric

The CPA Firm Management Association recently conducted its first comprehensive technology survey tailored specifically to member firms with the goal of identifying the applications, products and processes utilized by peers.  Where possible, the survey attempted to identify which applications firms are moving to in the cloud compared to traditionally on-premise managed solutions.  The survey was conducted in January 2016, with 140 members participating, 90% of which had between 11 and 149 personnel and almost half being multi-office.   The findings of the survey are summarized below and were presented by CPAFMA Advisory Board Member Roman Kepczyk via MAPCast on Friday, February 26, 2016. For a copy of the podcast, click here.