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April 2017 Article Archives

PCPS Engagement Review Tool

Published on April 20, 2017

You're wrapping up engagements, so take some time to get feedback from your clients. You can improve your relationships with clients and identify opportunities to improve your processes using the PCPS Engagement Review Tool from the Trusted Client Advisor Toolbox.

This PCPS Engagement Review Tool is an example of the turnkey tools and solutions PCPS delivers.  PCPS is an add-on firm membership section within the AICPA.  A PCPS firm membership at only $35 per CPA, up to a max of $700 per firm, is a great investment for a broad range of practice management resources.  Find out if you are already a PCPS member or take a quick tour to learn more.


Random Thoughts and Ideas

Published on April 20, 2017 by Bob Biddle, PAFM, Bowman & Company, Voorhees, NJ

Random Though #1 - It is hard to believe but I am more than three quarters of the way through my term as your Chair of this great organization and I am very grateful for this honor.

Random Thought #2 - For some of us, we are wrapping up tax season; for others, we have been busy with calendar year end audits; and others, with ongoing consulting engagements with our clients.  For others this is a time to get ready for budgets, evaluations or any number of other Practice Manager responsibilities.  We hope you got through “busy season” and are ready now for another busy season, because if you are like me, you are busy 12 months out of the year.  And I would not want it any other way.


Fort Worth: Where the West Begins!

Published on April 20, 2017 by Ann White, PAFM, BDO USA, LLP

As you know, the CPAFMA 2017 Conference will be in Fort Worth, Texas this year. Since Fort Worth is where I “hang my hat” and most people think of Dallas rather than Fort Worth, I thought I’d take a few minutes to describe what awaits you! This is of course in addition to the amazing CPAFMA Conference experience. Hopefully you will be able to bring a family member, extend your stay and take in “where the West begins”! There is a lot more here than Western wear shops and the Stockyards daily cattle drive.


Are You Going to Join Me at the National Practice Management Conference?

Published on April 20, 2017 by Larry Sheftel, PHR, SHRM-CP, PAFM, Aprio

We are excited that we are about two months away from the 2017 National Practice Management Conference. As CPAFMA's Director of Education, I want to let you know that there are a lot of exciting activities planned while we are in Fort Worth and I’m sure we will have a few surprises for you.

If you are still debating on if you should attend (you should!), here are a couple of teasers . . . 

Still deciding if this is right for you? Well, if you are . . . 

Are you nervous about asking your Managing Partner if you can attend? Give me a call and I will call them for you! This is a great opportunity for you to network with like-minding individuals and I guarantee that there will be lots of take-aways for you to bring back to your firm.


What Does 2017 Have in Store for You?

Published on April 20, 2017 by Jeanie Price, PAFM, DeLeon & Stang

So many good things happened for me professionally to make 2016 a great year and I’m excited for what 2017 will bring!  A few of the highlights of my amazing 2016 included our firm’s best year ever, a booming tax season, the decision to open a third office location (which will come to fruition in 2017), my 25th anniversary with DeLeon & Stang, and best of all, I was nominated and received the 2016 CPAFMA ACE Award.  Every time I think back to that night I get chills as I recall the awesome things my partners said about me and the added surprise of my husband and one of the partners showing up at the event.  I was lucky the event was close to home!


The Noticer: A Help with Awareness

Published on April 20, 2017 by James G. Fahey, PAFM, HBK CPAs and Consultants

It was at a CPAFMA conference several years ago – the speaker was best-selling author Andy Andrews – and his topic was his book The Noticer. The tagline for his book (and presentation) was “All a person needs is a little perspective to receive the gift of noticing things that other people miss.” This presentation stood out to me, not only because I added to my Useless Facts Collection i.e. how monkeys open up a banana compared to most humans, but it helped me with the awareness to notice things that others probably don’t. Well, here is something I’ve noticed.

Having been a member of CPAFMA for over twenty years now, it’s fair to say I’m an old timer. Going from thoughts of being alone in the profession to the discovery of an association of peers – that was a defining moment in my career. It was satisfying to know there were others that also wore many hats at their firm.

In all of those years, I’ve learned quite a bit from those peers – far more than any college course ever taught. Those connections plus life and work lessons helped me arrive in the position and firm I’m at today. As you and your firm grow together, you both become more focused. All the experience you receive helps mold you, then you take that and refine it to the areas that you enjoy most and are most passionate about. The pinnacle of a career – work that feels like play. This analogy is one I’ve often shared with young accountants starting their career – “you won’t be doing simple 1040 prep your whole career – there is far more exotic and exciting client work in your future!”

All that being said, here is what I noticed. I noticed less repeat customers at our gatherings – whether local chapter or national events – and I’m going to make an assumption why. Do people think we are just doing the same old thing over and over – kind of like the movie Groundhog Day? We always had an incredibly high percentage of “first timers” at our events. Do they come once and get turned off? This was my thought until I noticed many conferences had similar percentages. The most recent being attendance to our UltiPro Connections conference (HRIS software) in Las Vegas last week. Of 2,900 attendees, about 60% were first timers!

Whatever the reason may be to go to a conference, make sure you get value from not just the host, but the attendees. You will learn the most from those people connections to bring value back to your firm. There is and will continue to be lots of new things in our profession. I’ll be one of the first to admit that several of our new initiatives are only bought into if there are other firms already doing it successfully over a period of time.

Let’s break this stigma together, let’s try something new that no one else in our industry has done. Start by joining us for the topic “75 Innovative Ideas in 75 Minutes” at our conference in Fort Worth in June!


One Risk of Your "Everyday Jeans" Policy

Published on April 20, 2017 by Art Kuesel, Kuesel Consulting, Inc.

If you’ve been watching the industry news lately, a handful of firms have adopted an everyday-jeans policy.  Essentially, in many cases these policies are worded to say as long as you don’t have a client meeting, you are free to wear jeans in the office every day of the week.  It sounds reasonable – as the work product of your people isn’t going to change based upon what they are wearing.  And, I certainly see how this is perceived as a perk for employees and an advantage in recruiting.  Finally, as a self-described challenger of the status-quo, I think it’s about time that we worry less about what people are wearing and focus instead on the quality of their deliverables.


New Administrative Findings from 2017 Paperless Benchmark Survey

Published on April 20, 2017 by Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, PAFM, Xcentric

CPAFMA has authored the longest running paperless benchmark survey focused exclusively on the accounting profession (since 2003) with the intention of providing firm administrative managers actionable information to improve their firms.  This year, four NEW Administrative questions were added to the 2017 Paperless Benchmark Survey, powered by Canon, to identify emerging trends impacting our own CPA firm back office operations.  These questions focused on the applications firms were using for recruiting, evaluations, CPE tracking and storing of CPE certificates. Below we summarize those items which may provide a solution to one of the administrative issues you are facing today!


ACE Award Nominations Accepted

Published on April 19, 2017

This annual award is presented by the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) and has been awarded to some of the country's most experienced and respected firm practice managers since its inception in 1989.

The ACE Award -- which stands for Achievement, Commitment and Excellence is awarded to firm management professionals who carry such titles firm administrator, director of administration, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief executive officer.

Regardless of the title, nominees must be a CPAFMA member and hold a senior-level administration position for a public accounting firm. Criteria for selection focus on leadership and the individual's strategic impact on the firm's profit and growth. Strong candidates for the ACE Award will have made major contributions to their firms by implementing and overseeing programs that:


Certification Program Re-Branded

Published on April 19, 2017 by Jane Johnson, MBA, PAFM, CMPE, Grimbleby Coleman

To better align with the Association's new name, CPAFMA has officially changed the name of our Accredited Administrator in Accounting Practice Management (AAAPM) designation to PAFM, Public Accounting Firm Manager. We hope our current and future certified professionals like the change.

The Association for Accounting Administration became the CPA Firm Management Association for many reasons, all of which are applicable to our certification program. We want a larger reach, we want to be more inclusive of the firm management arena and we want those involved in managing CPA firms to know they are not alone and as thought leaders, we can make a difference when it comes to the success level of firms throughout the U.S. and Canada.