Golden Business Ideas

Payoff of Speed

Although many CPAs scoff at the notion of upgrading their computers every two years, there are some very good reasons for such a strategy—and the best one is that you’ll save money. The following is from Theresa Campbell, CPA, of Campbell & Co., Chicago: “As a per diem tax season accountant, I am continually amazed at the number of CPA firms that ignore the processing speeds of their computers. If a per diem worker on a fast computer can process two extra returns every hour, then it doesn’t take very long for the computer to pay for itself. The single biggest boost to billable time at tax season is the processing speed of the in-house computers.”

Getting Past Procrastination

Want a surefire way to put an end to your procrastination?

Pick something you want to do and then go public with it. Tell your supervisor, colleagues, friends and family members what you plan to do and when you plan to do it.

Travel Bargains Online

If you’re planning a business trip, visit the Web sites of the airlines, car rental firms and hotels servicing the cities of your destination. Most are so anxious to attract prospects to their Internet sites they often post special deals available only online. Aside from a lower airfare, car rental fee or room rate, the deals might include

  • A hefty discount if you buy a second airline ticket for a friend.
  • A big discount for booking an airline and car rental package.
  • Coupons for discounts on future flights.
  • A lower rate if you reserve a hotel room online rather than phone for a reservation.

Better Voice-Mail Messages

Voice-mail messages often are curt (or downright impolite), and hastily spoken, and they inevitably fail to provide all the vital information. When leaving a message, first pause for a moment to collect your thoughts and then

  • Speak clearly and slowly—especially when giving numerical information, such as your phone number.
  • Say when is the best time to return the call.
  • If a return call isn’t necessary or expected, say so.
  • Don’t leave messages that are longer than a minute.
  • Repeat your phone number at the end so the person you call can check to see whether he or she wrote it down correctly, without replaying the whole message.

Sharpen Your Corporate Vision

Sure, it’s a great idea to develop a corporate vision. But then what?

Too often the vision is all dolled up with fancy words, printed with stylish graphics and then distributed to all the company’s executives.

And in no time the vision fades.

This time try something different. First, translate the vision into language the people on the loading dock and the mailroom understand. Then ask them if they get it. If they don’t, go back to the drawing board.

Unless a vision is understood and shared by all, you may find people interpreting it in different ways—and then acting at cross purposes.

An Invitation

The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail ( or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.