5 Reasons To Go Paperless This Tax Season

Jesse Wood

Jesse Wood

By: Jesse Wood, CEO of eFileCabinet

Are You Ready To Go Paperless This Tax Season?

As tax season approaches, businesses of all sizes should be reevaluating workflow practices to improve office operations, efficiency and profitability. Electronic document management can create quick wins on an organization’s balance sheet, lower overhead 30% to 40%, and drive profitability and growth during this busy season.

Here are a few reasons why electronic document management will make a difference:

  • Create quick wins on your balance sheet. Electronic document management frees up administrative and productive time spent locating and retrieving documents. For example, a cloud-based document management system can reduce reliance not only on physical hardware and expensive server licensing fees, saving an organization’s office space and IT spending, but it also provides anytime/anywhere access to critical files and documents.
  • Lower key overheads. A well-designed paperless system not only frees up person-hours, it can lower several costs, including stationery expenses and document storage space, and it can even positively influence carbon credit.
  • Drive profitability and growth. The inherent efficiency of a paperless office can be maximized when combined with other productivity tools such as workflow management. Imagine an enterprise where work instructions for every step of a process automatically open when an employee performs the specific step. Secure, paperless offices see significant reductions in cost, turnaround time, risk profile and training periods, and they see better performance on key growth indicators. These growth indicators enable a business to do more with less time and money – another great reason to go paperless.
  • Provide security. Electronic document management and file sharing are the safest way to store and transmit sensitive documents, like tax forms. The security provided through these sophisticated systems protects your customers, your company and your bottom line. It reduces risk from compliance and regulatory requirements (SEC, HIPPA, etc.) and is an easier and safer way of transmitting information than email, FTP and physical document distribution.
  • Produce faster response times. Electronic document management and file sharing allow for faster and more accurate access to information, which not only increases workflow productivity, but also quality perception from customers (the sooner you respond to customers, the more organized you appear and the happier they are).

Jesse Wood is the CEO of Lehi, Utah-based eFileCabinet. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet began as a tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. Since then, eFileCabinet has developed into a full electronic document management solution designed to help organizations capture, manage and protect their data. www.efilecabinet.com

Guest Blogger: Flexible Firms Are Moving to Unlimited PTO Programs

By: Renee Moelders, ConvergenceCoaching

Renee Moelders

Renee Moelders

More Results from Our 2016 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey

With the emphasis on flexible work programs in CPA firms, it’s no surprise that Unlimited PTO has become a hot topic. Employees are drawn to the idea that they could take as much time off as they would like as long as the work gets done.  And firms are using this benefit to better position themselves in the CPA marketplace and attract and retain the best and brightest.

We asked a number of Unlimited PTO questions in our 2016 Anytime, Anywhere Work survey, and in this post, we’ll share the what we learned as well as some specific recommendations for firms who are interested in offering this cutting-edge benefit. If you’re just tuning in to our survey results, here’s what we’ve shared so far: an overview of our survey results, the benefits and challenges firms experience with their flex programs, how firms are enhancing their flexibility around WHEN their employees work, strategies firms are using to allow employees more control over WHERE they work, and seven technology ideas to enable flexible work programs.

Unlimited PTO:  A Major Differentiator

Only 5% of firms surveyed, or 8 leading edge firms, are offering an Unlimited PTO program, while another 19 firms (13%) are thinking about implementing such a program.

In this year’s Anytime, Anywhere Work survey, 97% of firms surveyed noted that they offer flex-time programs, demonstrating that offering flexibility is NOT a major differentiator for firms. If you are one of the leading-edge firms offering Unlimited PTO, be sure that you are promoting this competitive differentiator in your recruiting efforts, employee orientations, busy-season kick off meetings and other team member meetings – because you are special (for now)!

What is Unlimited PTO?

Unlimited PTO programs emphasize a culture of flexibility built on personal responsibility and mutual trust, and essentially the message to your people is “meet your work and production goals, finish your projects, and we don’t care when you take time off.”

Let’s take the example of the team member who crushes it one week, working 65 hours to finish reviewing a series of client deliverables and getting the monthly audit schedule published. The next week, this same team member has a dentist appointment during the work day on Monday and leaves early on Thursday for hockey practice. Because of these personal commitments, this person only puts 36 hours into the system. Under a traditional PTO model, she or he would be asked to take 4 hours of PTO for those two events, regardless of their extra effort made the prior week.

Or how about the employee who has a three-week bank of PTO available to her. She has planned a two week fall vacation with her family, and has used the other week by the end of July. She tells her family that because she’s already scheduled her full three weeks, she won’t be able to take an extra two days at Thanksgiving, even though she’s ahead of her realizable revenue goals and other metrics. She feels like there should be a way to have the time off with her family but the firm’s policies don’t allow her that flexibility.

In both cases, instead of being treated like a trusted professional, empowered to integrate their life with their work, these team members feel like they are being “nickel and dimed” about their time.

Why offer Unlimited PTO?

While improving the morale of your people and empowering them to manage their own schedules, there can also be an attractive financial benefit for your firm in eliminating PTO. When you stop accruing and tracking PTO, you will ultimately experience a reduction of a sizeable accrued liability. In addition, firms spend so much time administering PTO accruals – tracking them, monitoring timesheets and employee accrual balances, and encouraging team members to burn PTO to keep accruals in check. Upon the creation of an Unlimited PTO program, the firm can regain that administrative time which can be repurposed for more meaningful HR efforts.

Another advantage of an Unlimited PTO program is the goodwill it creates in teams, where you trust your people to meet their production goals, hit their metrics for the year, bring in the amount of agreed upon business, and achieve whatever other expectations have been established for you. In essence, we treat our people like professionals. Many firms find that Unlimited PTO programs create more committed team members with a passion for the firm (and in turn, the firm’s clients!).

If you are already offering high levels of flexibility to your team members…if your leaders are less focused on using “face time” to measure an employee’s success…if your firm is doing a great job setting clear expectations and situations where there is poor performance, these matters are being managed…then you might be a candidate for an Unlimited PTO program.

In our survey, the few firms who are currently running an Unlimited PTO program shared these positive comments about their experience:

“Best policy we have implemented in a while!”
“I intend to take the entire month of July off this year.”
“Time worked is completely at the discretion of the team members.”
“Do it! You will be surprised how much your staff loves this benefit. They are professionals and manage their schedules fine.”

Managing the transition

One of the benefits the firm realizes when transitioning to Unlimited PTO is the removal of the accrued liability for PTO that firms would ordinarily carry on their balance sheet. It may, however, be hard for firms to imagine how they’d make the transition to Unlimited PTO without generating feelings of “takeaway” in the team. We asked our survey participants how they managed this transition and learned that of those firms with a program, 50% chose to dissolve any accrued leave upon conversion, 40% did not allow carryover of leave under the PTO model and therefore had nothing to convert, and 13% paid out some of the accrued leave to participants. None of those surveyed chose the answer options “Yes, we paid it out in full” or “No, but we will payout accrued leave if employees leave the firm.”

 

Firms may benefit from planning ahead for a transition by encouraging team members to “spend down” accrued PTO balances to minimize any feelings of loss associated with the conversion to an Unlimited PTO program. When asked the time of year when they converted from a traditional PTO program to Unlimited PTO, 25% indicated January – March while 13% chose the July – September timeframe. These differences may be the difference between December and June year-ends. The remainder of respondents chose “have always had Unlimited PTO” (25%), “N/A or not sure” (25%) and “When promoted to manager” (13%.)

Sharing best practices

Unlimited PTO programs are still a relatively new offering and as a result, there are many different options when structuring your program. Even so, there are best practices when transitioning to an Unlimited PTO program and we’ll share those with you here.

  • Eligibility for the program. Of the eight firms surveyed who offer an Unlimited PTO program, half make the program available to all exempt employees. No firms indicated that they offer Unlimited PTO to non-exempt employees and for many firms that makes sense due to legal issues around overtime that introduce barriers to establishing one program application for all employees. Firms should carefully design communications to minimize any feelings of resentment or feeling “less than” by non-exempt employees.

  • Create accessibility and response time expectations. Firms that develop clear requirements for how quickly calls and emails are returned (even if it’s only to confirm receipt and set a future date for follow-up) are likely to have fewer upsets operating in a more flexible manner. Team member calendars should clearly reflect accessibility details – whether team members are off or not and how they can be reached when they are available but working away from the office.
  • Plan how Unlimited PTO will intersect with other types of leave. Unlimited PTO still exists in the “Wild, Wild West” of HR policies because there isn’t much case law yet upon which to base policies and practices. There is, however, one clear recommendation – ensure you separate any legally required leave of absence programs from your Unlimited PTO program. For instance, time off due to extended illness, injury, maternity, disability and FMLA would have separate rules and requirements and your staff won’t use Unlimited PTO to cover those needs. We’d recommend you contact your firm’s labor counsel before finalizing any policy to ensure that your state’s labor laws are covered appropriately.
  • Map out changes to blackout periods, coverage requirements and the process to request time off. There will likely be times when the team needs to all be working together and time off would be less acceptable. To maximize the feeling of flexibility, we’d recommend that you minimize blackout periods and make the request process as easy and flexible as possible.
  • Teach your team to flex up. Flexible work environments require flexibility from those using flex, too. They require clear, specific and frequent communication, as well as accessibility and responsiveness. Clarify ahead of time when peak periods or “all hands-on deck” client engagements will require the team to change their ordinary schedules or come into the office.
  • Consider mandatory time off. Under traditional PTO programs, HR often has to coax certain team members to use their leave, and under an Unlimited PTO model that will likely be the case as well. In Take a Vacation: It’s Good For Productivity and the Economy, the author notes that time off results in higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention and significant health benefits.

 One survey participant shared this recommendation:

“Often the high performers take less PTO time than if they had a bank of hours. You really have to encourage them to use their PTO.”

If many of your team members are reluctant to use time off, stay tuned for our upcoming blog on sludge and learn more about creating acceptance and transparency on the team for the use of flex programs.

Measuring success and ensuring accountability

As you transition to Unlimited PTO, plan to assess the program’s success at regular intervals. Building in an evaluation process will provide support among your leaders who are less confident about the change and will allow them to rest assured that the program will be adjusted if results aren’t what you’re anticipating. Any program you create should protect your firm’s business model deal-breakers like:

  • Production is at or above expectations
  • Projects are being completed in the anticipated timeline
  • Client service hasn’t been negatively impacted
  • Team members are taking time off as expected and are satisfied with the program as designed

Consider evaluating your program at 90 days, 180 days and year-end, with an ongoing annual review after year one. Rather than trying to build the perfect program out of the gate, be willing to adjust and make changes over time to ensure the program meets both the needs of the firm and your team members for the long-term.

We are encouraged by the interest and buzz around Unlimited PTO programs and can’t wait to see new developments unfolding in the public accounting firm marketplace!

Guest Blogger: Predictions for 2017 and Beyond

By: Joe Tarasco

The firms that will take full advantage of the huge opportunities for the accounting profession in 2017 and beyond will be those that attract and retain the best staff, offer more formal advisory and solutions-oriented services, and control their direct labor costs through process improvements and financial management of engagements.

As we close out 2016, the accounting profession landscape and marketplace is changing rapidly. Here are some predictions and trends that you may wish to consider in your strategic planning for 2017 and beyond.

Joe Tarasco

Joe Tarasco

  • Fee pressures, rising staff labor costs, increased regulations and client demands will force firms to carefully examine their mix of services, industry concentrations and niches. Client engagement profitability will be more scrutinized and evaluated while making partners more accountable to increase realizations. The future holds tremendous opportunities for accounting firms who are highly leveraged, with well trained professional staff, using state of the art technology and efficiency methods. To take full advantage of this favorable marketplace for accounting firm services, partners need to be highly effective client relationship-trusted advisors and rainmakers, not grinders.
  • Firms will continue to acquire consulting and advisory companies that complement their traditional services to provide integrated solutions services to their clients.
  • Career development and leadership training will be further expanded into firm CPE curriculums as succession planning evolves into a crisis mode. Progressive firms will significantly increase their training budgets. Firms will have no choice but to invest heavily in their best and brightest in all stages of their careers to remain competitive and avoid merging into a larger firm.
  • The firms who have grown through consolidation of aging practices will begin to deal with intensified succession issues in terms of transitioning clients to qualified partners who can play the trusted advisor role.
  • Consolidation of firms in the country will continue at a faster pace. There will be more mergers of mega firms into larger firms. More firms will merge as a competitive strategy to gain more resources and services rather than for near term succession problems. There will be more mergers of accounting associations and networks.
  • Managing Partners and Executive Committee members will be held more accountable by their partners in their ability to lead and manage successfully and to achieve the goals and objectives as documented in their strategic plans.
  • There will be an increase in the number of firms hiring professional lead generators to supplement the practice development efforts of the partners. In addition, firms below the Top 200 will outsource their marketing and practice development programs to marketing consulting companies as the need for diversified multi-faceted marketing professionals becomes necessary to maintain a competitive edge.
  • The partnership structure will continue to fade away and be replaced by a more corporate type structure. More firms will hire professional COO’s from outside of the CPA profession to assist them in managing their organizations.
  • Partner compensation will be more geared toward higher levels of profitability and results driven contributions to the future success of the firm. Aligning the firm’s goals and vision with partner performance criteria and accountability will be a key objective for progressive firms.
  • More small firms will split up due to a lack of partner consensus on succession planning and investing in the future direction of the firm.

The future is bright for accounting firms that can quickly implement initiatives and strategies to adapt to the changing marketplace and the needs of quality clients. All of us at Accountants Advisory Group wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017.

Joseph A. Tarasco is founder and CEO of Accountants Advisory Group, a consulting firm focusing on practice management, marketing and human capital strategies to help CPA firms achieve long-term success and profitability.

A Managing Partner’s Guide to Social Media

By: Lee Frederiksen

Lee Frederiksen

Lee Frederiksen

Guest Blogger

As a managing partner or top executive, you’re probably more focused on taxes than Twitter. Growing your firm, finding great talent and fostering profitable client relationships are probably at the top of your to-do list. But what you may not know is that social media can play an important role in all of those areas.

In my decades of work with accounting firms, I have witnessed the impact of social media on growth, profitability and recruiting. And this observation is supported by the research my company has been conducting into professional services firms. Those that use social media stay ahead of the game. They’re the playmakers, the fast growers.

Social media is important in today’s competitive and increasingly Internet-fueled marketplace. If you’re not harnessing the power of social media, you are missing key opportunities.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech guru to put social media to work for your firm. But you do need to understand how and why it’s being used – and you’ll need a basic working knowledge of one or two key tools, starting with LinkedIn.

In this article I focus on the role social media plays in the marketplace and why you may want to consider upping your social game.

Here are six ways to think about it:

  1. Social media is here to stay.
    Like it or not, social networking is not a fad. It’s only going to become more important to firms like yours. For instance, social media is being used today to vet potential employees, expand firms’ networks, nurture prospects, develop visibility, demonstrate expertise and position executives as thought leaders. If you aren’t doing these things today, you will be at some point in the future. The question is, can you afford to be much later to the game?
  2. Your competitors and prospects are already using it.
    I get it. Not everyone at your firm is going to be excited about social media. Even if you or other top executives don’t want to participate on LinkedIn or Twitter, you can still benefit from being on social media. That’s because your clients and prospects use social networks to do everything from research to finding and vetting possible vendors. If your firm isn’t visible, it is missing out on a growing source of new business. In fact, six of 10 buyers use social media to check out a firm before they do business with them. So long as someone on staff is paying attention to your firm’s social media, you’ll at least be on people’s radar. Many of your competitors have embraced social media. If you want to compete, so should you.
  3. It is the new “face” of networking.
    Social media is just another form of networking. You still may prefer to meet with colleagues or prospects over lunch or at an in-person event, but face-to-face networking isn’t the only way to forge connections. Sure, social media isn’t as personal as traditional networking, but it offers other advantages. It’s the perfect medium to build a thought leadership following, for example, and you can use it to reach far more people with less effort. Keep in mind that your clients are using social media to network – if your firm isn’t part of the conversation, they are likely being influenced by a firm that is.
  4. All social media is not created equal.
    Social networking encompasses a wide range of platforms that use different formats – micro-blogging (Twitter), photos (Instagram), videos (YouTube) – each designed to reach different kinds of audiences. It can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can safely ignore the vast majority of these platforms. If you focused only on one, LinkedIn, you’d cover most of your bases. LinkedIn offers a variety of channels designed with businesses in mind. LinkedIn Pulse is a great place to publish articles, while LinkedIn Groups is where like-minded people gather to share ideas, discuss their business challenges, and offer up possible solutions. Other platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have their place, but you can add them to your mix over time as you need them. When it comes to social media, figure out where your audiences interact and put your energy there first.
  5. Using social media requires an investment.
    Creating a social networking profile may be free, but you still have to invest in it. How? You’ll need a strategy, one or more writers, social media policies, someone to post messages and someone to manage the whole thing. While it’s fine to start small, to make the most of a platform you’ll need to commit real resources to it. That’s when you’ll begin to see a real return on investment.
  6. It can boost morale – and much more.
    If you want your team to tout your business, let them loose on social media. This process has a name – employee advocacy – and it can turn your employees into powerful brand ambassadors. We’re not talking about bald-faced bragging. Rather, it’s a way staff can share industry insights, client success stories, and expert advice. Getting them involved cultivates a sense of “ownership” in your firm. According to our research on employee advocacy, firms with a formal employee advocacy program grow faster and see more benefits than those without one. In fact, high-growth firms are twice as likely to encourage staff to use social networking.

In particular, employee advocacy encourages Millennial staffers to get involved in marketing the firm using a medium they are already comfortable with. If they balk at the prospect of attending a networking event, why give them an equally valuable way to contribute? Our research finds that Millennials want to participate in social media more than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers because it helps them develop relevant skills, differentiate themselves from their peers and boost their career opportunities. And of course, the younger members of your firm can probably teach you a few things about using social media in the process. Win-win.

Social media can help the modern accounting firm in many ways. From marketing strategy and operations to employee development and recruiting, social media is changing the way firms grow.

Lee Frederiksen is managing partner of Hinge Marketing, which focuses on professional services firms.

The 2016 IPA Most Recommended Consultants

We are proud to announce the 2016 IPA Most Recommended Consultants, listed in alphabetical order, and their firms. The full list will be highlighted in the October issue of INSIDE Public Accounting.2013_IPA_Most Recommended Consultants_Artwork

Each year INSIDE Public Accounting asks firms from across the nation in the IPA Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms to name one consultant, whom they have used during the past year.

Congratulations to this group and IPA thanks this group for their hard work and dedication to the profession.

Boomer Consulting Inc.
Gary Boomer
www.boomer.com

Carl George Advisory
Carl George
www.carlgeorgeadvisory.com

ConvergenceCoaching LLC
Jennifer Wilson
www.convergencecoaching.com

Crosley Company
Gale Crosley
www.crosleycompany.com

Koltin Consulting Group
Allan Koltin
www.koltin.com

The Rosenberg Associates
Marc Rosenberg
rosenbergassoc.com

Steve Erickson LLC
Steve Erickson
www.steveericksonllc.com

Succession Institute
Bill Reeb
www.successioninstitute.com

Upstream Academy
Sam Allred, Tim Bartz
www.upstreamacademy.com

Xcentric
Roman Kepczyk
xcentric.com

Boomer Consulting Expands Consulting Team

Boomer Consulting announced that Marc Staut has joined the team as a principal and consultant. Staut will help meet the growing needs of CPA firms by leveraging his experience to provide strategic technology assessments, planning, visioning and coaching.

Staut comes to Boomer Consulting with more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry. He was most recently a principal and CIO of one of the nation’s largest accounting, tax and advisory firms, CohnReznick. With 17 years of experience in accounting technology, Staut has held many roles and advised firms of all sizes as an industry thought leader.

“Marc’s reputation, leadership and foresight in the accounting profession will help position our clients to be successful and future ready,” says Jim Boomer, CEO, Boomer Consulting. “We have watched Marc flourish throughout his career. First with Reznick, and then leading the technology side of the CohnReznick merger and its growth during the last several years. He is highly respected by his peers, gives back to the profession, and develops talent – a great fit for the Boomer team and our clients.”

Staut has been a speaker for the AICPA Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ conference since 2010, and a member of the conference planning committee since 2014.  He is a regular speaker, author and panelist on technology in the accounting profession, cloud computing, mobile technology, leadership and vision.

“Boomer Consulting has been providing critical consulting and advisory services to the accounting profession for a long time and I’m honored to play a role in expanding their mission,” says Staut. “Technology should be an enabler – something that’s approachable, aligned with and integral to the success of each firm. With Boomer Consulting’s focus on vision and strategy, together we can provide actionable advice and guidance for firms to leverage technology as a competitive differentiator.”

IPA Spotlight On . . . Sandra Wiley

Sandra Wiley

Sandra Wiley

Name: Sandra Wiley

Firm: Boomer Consulting

Title: President

Accomplishments:

  • Accounting Today top 100 Most Influential People
  • CPA Practice Advisor Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
  • CPA Practice Advisor Top 25 Thought Leaders
  • Leading Edge Alliance “On the Edge” Innovation Award

As host of regional trainings around the country, what are emerging leaders telling you about what they need to learn to be effective managers?

I see next generation leaders every day that are smart, motivated and truly care about the future of their firm and the profession.  They are excited about what they are hearing about, including Advisory Services, deeper relationships with their clients and team, and less compliance work.  However, a reverse effect is happening that makes them very frustrated.  The lack of change they are seeing in their firm in all of these areas is demotivating.  They want to move forward, but they feel stuck.

You’ve said Boomer Consulting’s client base is “future-focused.” Can you give us an example of a firm that’s implemented a future-focused initiative and seen positive ROI?

We have been working with the firm of Bold Carlisle and Smith for the past 4 years.  They started as a foundationally good firm with challenges in leadership, process development, technology struggles and a lack of overall direction.  Today, they are seeing positive change in all of these areas.  Through the process of strategic planning, coaching, the Boomer Technology Circles Community and a new focus on process improvement they are a new and improved firm – and are certainly future focused!  Oh, and they reduced the number of hours spent on business entity tax clients significantly this year.

You’ve done quite a bit of work around employee engagement as an HR expert in the profession. If you could wave a magic wand, what’s the one thing accounting firms should do to better engage their employees?

Make time to truly manage their team.  Continuous and ongoing feedback, mentoring and reverse mentoring and including them in the strategic planning process are just a few ways to truly engage the team that surrounds you.  This is less generational than it is relational.  People will engage when they feel valued, and you can’t feel valued if you don’t really know the people that you are working with.  It sounds simple, but it is hard work.  Hard work does lead to amazing results in the area of retention, attraction and motivation!

You were recently named president of Boomer Consulting, Inc. as part of its long-term growth and succession plan. What do you hope the firm will look like in five years?

In 5 years Boomer Consulting, Inc. will continue to be a leader in the profession transforming firms in the areas of Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth initiatives.  We will use The Boomer AdvantageTM to ensure that our clients are growing in each of these areas and are connecting the dots between each of them. This will enable firms to be future ready.  We will continue to build a unique team of professionals that are consistently innovating and creating new services and new successes for our clients.

Final thoughts?

I am excited about the change that is occurring in the profession today.  It’s truly an exciting time. The firms that are ready to face the future with innovation and a positive attitude will be winners.  Helping firms transform and actually create a practice that will sustain them for the future is what gets me excited.  My passion – helping firms that are feeling stuck and even a little demotivated get excited about their future!

The Perfect Partner

By: Joe Tarasco

Joe Tarasco

Joe Tarasco

Does the perfect partner exist? Probably not. I was asked at a retreat to define the attributes that the perfect partner should possess and came up with the following list:

  • Loves servicing clients and understands what clients need and deserve. Clients seek out the partner’s advice and counsel and is truly considered a trusted advisor in all aspects of their major business and personal financial decisions. Generates additional revenue from clients.
  • Respects other partners and employees of the firm. Is a mentor and counselor, who is fair and objective. The firm comes first before personal gain. Is both client and staff centric.
  • Is entrepreneurial and takes calculated risks to grow and improve the firm. Willing to invest personal capital into the firm.
  • Has a strong network of relationships with professionals outside of the firm such as attorneys, bankers, high-net- worth individuals and corporate executives. Has excellent practice development skills and engages a large volume of new business each year. Receives referrals from clients.
  • Recognized by partners and staff as a trusted leader and manager of the firm. Is a role model to young and aspiring partners. Willing to make tough business decision for the firm. Has the ability to remain calm in times of crisis. Doesn’t make emotional decisions.
  • Has a vision for the firm’s future and works towards achieving personal and firm goals and objectives. Is a team player. Prioritizes the needs of the firm and takes the initiative to complete needed tasks and projects on a timely basis.
  • Is willing to delegate interesting and challenging work and transition clients to up and coming partners. Understands the benefits of continuously upgrading the client base and the value of succession planning.
  • Is willing to be held accountable for performance. Makes no excuses for underachieving. Continuously stays current and upgrades technical skills.
  • Communication skills are clear, concise, and confident whether dealing with clients, staff, or prospects.
  • Has enthusiasm and a positive attitude for the profession, the firm, and clients.
  • Understands the business of public accounting and the importance of increasing profitability each year. Has a history of timely billing and collections, along with high realization clients.
  • Is willing to assist in resolving conflict between partners and the staff by acting as a liaison between people in the firm.

No one is perfect, but this is a good list to aspire toward. We can all benefit in periodically taking stock of these attributes and developing a game plan to improve.

Consultant Releases New Edition of ‘Quantum of Paperless’

Kepczyk_Roman_Xcentric_2015

Roman Kepczyk

Roman Kepczyk, director of consulting for Xcentric, has released a 2016 update of his book, Quantum of Paperless: Partner’s Guide to Accounting Firm Optimization.

In the seventh edition of the book, Kepczyk includes 2016 IT survey results from the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA). The survey provides actionable information on hardware, software, staffing and IT trends and allows accounting firm leaders to compare data with their peers. In addition, the 2015 Benchmarking Paperless Best Practices survey information is included.

Quantum Paperless discusses how every accounting firm is unique yet similar. Firms are unique in the production processes they have developed over time to service clients, produce tax returns, complete audits, enter time and produce billing. However, the transition from traditional manual processes to today’s digital solutions is remarkably similar and it is primarily a matter of identifying where the firm is today and implementing the next proven process that firm personnel are sufficiently capable and willing to adopt.

This guide is broken into 32 mission-critical quantum leaps where your firm production can be optimized. In each section, proven solutions that accounting firms are successfully implementing and using today is listed.

The book answers tough tech questions firms face:

  • Multiple monitors – beyond 3?
  • The Cloud?
  • Hardware selection and replacement?
  • Document management?
  • Managing and retaining data?
  • Digital tax workflow systems?
  • Audit field equipment?
  • Delivering client reports digitally?
  • Client portals?
  • Security issues?
  • Remote access technology?

Kepzyk helps firms throughout North America effectively use information technology by implementing digital best practices. He has spent the past 17 years consulting with CPA firms.

Purchase Quantum of Paperless: Partner’s Guide to Accounting Firm Optimization

Anevski Selected as a 2016 Leading Woman Entrepreneur Finalist

Rachel Anevski

Rachel Anevski

Rachel Anevski, founder and CEO of Matters of Management (M2), a consulting, growth strategy and executive placement firm, was nominated and selected as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur of New Jersey by Leading Women Entrepreneurs.

With receiving close to 700 nominations, judgment criteria for all nominees included innovation, market potential, community involvement and advocacy for women. Leading Women Entrepreneurs is a media and events company that recognizes outstanding women business owners.

“I am humbled to be considered among these 150 esteemed finalists,” says Anevski. “It is ironic that this honor comes on the heels of Matters of Managements’ own Phenomenal Mom Award Contest, where we recognize a mother who goes above and beyond her own call of duty. These contests are a wonderful opportunity to distinguish and empower women with incredible success stories. Both organizations advocate for women to establish goals, and achieve their dreams in a career they are passionate about. Being a finalist really speaks to the heart of what I have worked hard to accomplish as a business owner.”

Prior to starting her own business, Anevski worked for Citrin Cooperman and Smolin Lupin & Company.

A listing of the Phase One finalists will be published in the October 2016 New Jersey Monthly, which will reach over 750,000 households. The Phase One list of 150 nominees will be narrowed to the Top 25 and awarded at a recognition event set for Nov. 14 at The Liberty House in Jersey City. For more information on Leading Women Entrepreneurs, please visit http://www.lweworld.com/.