Practice Management

Patent predicaments: Be wary of dubious claims

CPA firms and their clients have been targeted by patent-holding companies demanding licensing payments for use of seemingly ordinary business processes. Handling the threat of a lawsuit can be a delicate matter, even as regulators and legislators undertake efforts to rein in patent-holding companies and patent-assertion entities.

Landing more referrals

Referrals are a key to building an accounting practice. Research conducted by marketing consultants Hinge found that 87% of clients turn to referrals first when looking for an accountant and that 76% of clients are “very likely” to recommend their accounting firm to others. Here’s how to get satisfied clients

Seven steps to closing a succession sale

Key to a successful merger or acquisition is keeping the process moving. For firm leaders, there is rarely any item of greater importance than a merger they are pursuing. The adage “time kills all deals” is absolutely true with mergers, and this is why: - Adversarial positions: Naturally, both parties

Survey: Data security concerns soar as more CPA firms access cloud

Concerns about data security are surging as the percentage of CPA firms tapping cloud computing continues to increase, according to a survey from CPA2Biz, the AICPA’s for-profit technology subsidiary. CPA2Biz’s second annual cloud survey found that nearly half of the CPA firms polled said that they are using business-grade cloud

How to value a CPA firm for sale

One of the key components of a CPA succession plan is the sale or transfer of the retiring CPA’s ownership interest. How is the value of that interest determined? In most circumstances, the value of an owner’s interest is different when selling to an external buyer than it is in

Six trends that are reshaping business

Accountants excel at analyzing numbers and developing strategies based off them. The way University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor James Johnson, Ph.D., sees it, the numbers describing the demographics of the United States leave accountants little choice today but to embrace diversity and new business practices. Johnson spoke

Commission to survey accounting profession’s diversity climate

An AICPA-led body plans to gather perspectives on the profession’s views on diversity and inclusion through a survey and provide a new best practices resource for firms that are developing diversity initiatives. The recently formed AICPA National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion is charged with developing methods to help the

How to network and find new clients across borders

Companies increasingly are investing across borders. That includes foreign companies establishing operations in the United States or Canada. The North American investments require accounting and tax services, making foreign companies potential new clients for North American accounting firms. But what is the best way to network across borders and attract

A two-stage solution to succession procrastination

The 2012 PCPS Succession Survey, a joint project of the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) and Succession Institute LLC, found nearly 80% of CPA firm owners expect succession to become a major issue for their firms in the next 10 years (see “Succession Planning: The Challenge of What’s Next,”

Write it down: The importance of documenting oral advice

CPAs routinely provide oral advice to clients. While professional standards generally do not require such advice to be documented, the experience of the AICPA Professional Liability Insurance Program demonstrates that undocumented advice weakens the defense to a professional liability claim. This real-life scenario provides an example: A CPA providing bank

Tackling the top issues

For many, if not most, accounting firms, the quest to survive the Great Recession and its aftermath has ended. The focus now is on growth. That’s one of the overarching themes derived from the 2013 Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues survey, which found that accounting firms

Women's initiatives: A strategic advantage

The recent AICPA supply and demand survey found that women constituted 44% of accounting employees at CPA firms but only 19% of the partners. The partnership percentage was a step back for women in public accounting. The percentage of female leaders in firms had risen from 1% (partners and principals)

How to select a successor

Selecting the successor for a retiring partner in an accounting firm can take on many forms. The decision can be made by an individual CPA or by the firm leadership. It can involve the transfer of clients, ownership, and/or responsibilities internally or the sale of ownership to an outside entity.

When is a partner "retired"?

When a longtime partner or employee retires from a CPA firm, a sense of loyalty often compels the existing partners to allow the individual to have a symbolic role at the firm. This can include a courtesy title, office space, and invitations to company soirees. While this may seem like

The long goodbye

The best time for an accounting firm to start work on a succession plan is the day the firm is formed. Of course, most firms don’t do that. The question in many cases has become: “How quickly can I put together a succession plan and head into retirement?” The answer

Ernst & Young becomes EY as new leader takes helm

Ernst & Young has a new brand name, EY, and a new leader, Mark Weinberger. Weinberger, 51, officially became EY’s global chairman and CEO on Monday, the firm said in a news release. He replaced Jim Turley, who retired after 12 years as the firm’s chair and CEO. Weinberger’s previous

How to open new doors by closing your office

Virtually no one who has leased office space has enjoyed writing that rent check every month. It might have been satisfying at first, when the firm or company was young and having an office was a sign of progress, but watching money go into a landlord’s pocket inevitably gets old.

Mergers emerge as dominant trend

Powerful forces are transforming the accounting profession in the United States. The Baby Boomers are heading into their retirement years. Baby Boomer CPAs are in charge of most U.S. accounting firms. And most U.S. accounting firms don’t have a signed succession or practice-continuation plan in place. These realities are rewriting

Is this client the right fit for your firm?

A contentious divorce. Clients who want to file delinquent tax returns. The new client who represented himself as an upstanding businessman but has been indicted—for the third time. After malpractice claims are resolved, CPAs often say, “I never should have taken this client.” But there is a way to help

Staffing, succession emerge as top CPA firm concerns

Succession planning and staffing joined new client acquisition and dealing with the complexities of rapidly changing tax regulations as the top issues facing U.S. accounting firms, according to an AICPA survey released Tuesday. The 2013 Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues survey found evidence that CPA firms


Why cybercriminals are targeting CPAs

This free report expands on the most commonly found scams, why education and specialized IT knowledge help to lessen security vulnerabilities, and why every firm should plan carefully for how it would respond to a breach.


How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.