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  • Want more banking business? Be a resource

    Many banks boast about their relationship managers as key to their business banking, but Jack Hubbard thinks the most effective bankers today have learned to become resource managers. What exactly are resource managers? Resource managers are bankers that move beyond the role of relationship manager in order to provide value…
  • How to eliminate data entry from loan underwriting

    Processing, underwriting and approving smaller loans for businesses can be as costly for banks and credit unions as handling larger loans, in large part, because extensive data entry is involved in each stage of the process. Financial institutions rightly concerned about being able to capture this business efficiently should look…
  • Generate business valuation engagements: Ask clients these 7 questions

    Business owners have 80 to 90 percent of their financial wealth locked up within their businesses, according to the Exit Planning Institute, which trains and advises succession planning professionals. However, survey after survey by the institute indicates that owners may have trouble liquidating this wealth when they need to. Surveys…
  • Is your website helping you win valuation engagements?

    In a field such as valuation, where repeat work with the same client isn’t as common as it is for, say, tax clients, it is vital for firms to make ongoing efforts to keep the sales pipeline full. In fact, recent polls by Sageworks have found that attracting new valuation…
  • Grow your accounting firm by planning for the 2018 busy season

    Seasonality/workload compression is perennially among the most pressing issues for accounting firms, especially for smaller practices. Indeed, this was a top issue among firms with fewer than 10 professionals in the latest AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues Survey. With the final deadline of the 2016 tax…
  • Retaining and building loyalty with the “right” accounting firm clients

    Retaining the “right” clients for your accounting firm and taking the time to develop loyal relationships with those clients should be a high priority, according to practice management consultant Charles Hylan. It is significantly more expensive to attract a new client to an accounting firm than to invest in client…
  • Accountants: Are you a cost center or a growth partner?

    When business owners think of their accountant, some might immediately think of the money they pay for tax preparation, an audit or other compliance services – the type of service “a client doesn’t want but needs,” as accounting thought leader Allan Koltin has described “Level 1” or “Type 1” services.…
  • Top 5 business valuation blog articles so far in 2017

    Summer is a good time to catch up on novels and non-fiction books you have wanted to read for fun. It can also be a great time to read professional development material dispensed in manageable doses. The Sageworks blog has dozens of brief, timely articles to help business valuation professionals…
  • Offering advisory services: Piecemeal or holistic approach?

    While accountants express the desire to generate a large share of firm revenue from providing advisory services, survey data has shown that many firms derive very little revenue from the types of value-added, consultative services that comprise advisory. Firms sometimes initially “test the waters” with advisory work, offering a handful…
  • Your next accounting client wants paperless, mobile services

    Accountants looking for another reason to justify technology investments in their firms should consider this: The firm’s next generation of business clients are likely to require accounting services that are all or mostly digital. Moreover, younger business owners, in particular, expect accounting services that are in the cloud and accessible…
  • Performing business valuations with optimal efficiency

    Are business valuations at your firm as timely as they should be? Could the practice serve more clients each year if it could accelerate the process of performing business valuations? How long “should” a business valuation take? These are all relevant questions for advisory firms, particularly given the number of…
  • Adding advisory services? Start with your clients

    Developing predictable revenue streams can help your firm grow in ways you may not have initially thought possible. Many CPAs spend the bulk of their careers bearing up under the weight of their tax and compliance workload while bringing in revenues that fall short, given the time and effort invested…
  • Infographic: 3 factors influencing success in business valuation firms

    Success in business valuation practices is driven by many factors, but three have shown to be key components for growing firms, according to market research firm IBISWorld. The first is developing specialized services that provide a competitive advantage. Specialized knowledge and experience allow a more effective, targeted valuation practice, which…
  • Win new valuation engagements by asking business owners these 4 questions

    If the thought of finding your next valuation client causes a jump in your blood pressure, you’re not alone.  Attracting new clients is a common challenge for valuation professionals. Unlike traditional accounting services (such as tax preparation and audits) that some clients need each year, valuations are often performed to…
  • Tips to Prepare Your Client's Business for Sale

    The following is written by Mary Beth Koester, Manager of Business Valuations at Rea & Associates. As you prepare clients for an exit, there are a few key areas and metrics to consider. Keeping in mind that exit planning can, and should, begin years in advance, you will be able to…
  • What Oreos can teach accountants about growing the firm

    Accountants wanting to grow revenue by adding new services should look to the Oreo cookie for a few lessons, according to Katie Tolin, a member of the Association for Accounting Marketing’s Hall of Fame and founder of CPA Growth Guides. Tolin, who recently led a Sageworks webinar for accountants on…
  • How to market business valuation services

    Continuing to grow the business valuation practice is an ongoing concern for many practitioners. The one-and-done nature of many types of valuations means that repeat business with the same client isn’t as common as it is for some other professional services, so feeding the pipeline is a continuous process. In…
  • How accountants can build revenue and relationships through consulting meetings

    Have you ever wondered whether your clients question the value of your meetings and engagements?  If so, it might be time to learn how you can elevate your role as a CPA from a finance or tax advisor to one of a business consultant. Having business consulting meetings with your…
  • Accounting firm clients want these services from you

    Market research in the U.S. is a $20 billion industry, according to industry-market researcher IBISWorld, indicating that U.S. companies are willing to spend hefty sums each year to find out more about their customers or clients. Knowing the buyer and knowing exactly what products or services the client/customer wants can…
  • Build a better accounting practice, 15 minutes at a time

    Like the proverbial shoemaker’s barefoot children, CPAs and other professional services firms working nonstop to help businesses run more smoothly or profitably sometimes overlook their own need for new ideas to improve their practices. Continuing education requirements for licensure, client work, administrative tasks and “putting out fires” can routinely take…
  • 7 Aspects of your CPA firm culture that can make or break a merger

    When it comes to a merger of accounting firms, the process can depend on way more than the bottom-line financial terms of the deal, according to Philip J. Whitman, CPA, president and CEO of Whitman Business Advisors LLC. Indeed, many features of the firms involved will have an outsized impact…
  • Why would anyone want to listen to a podcast from an accounting firm?

    Guest post by  Becca Davis Director of Practice Growth, Rea & Associates I know what you’re thinking – listening to a podcast from an accounting firm is probably about as entertaining and insightful as watching paint dry. But “unsuitable on Rea Radio” isn’t your typical accounting podcast, which is why…
  • National Small Business Week celebrates the American entrepreneurial spirit

    Guest Post By Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration What creates two out of three net new American jobs; produces close to half of our nation’s goods and services (nonfarm private GDP); and can be found, coast to coast, in every small town, big city and rural…
  • Are you a trusted advisor?

    At Sageworks, we have conversations with thousands of accountants each month. One characteristic we have noted that successful accountants have in common is their ability to leverage technical skills with a sales mentality and their “soft skills.” You could refer to this as the skill set necessary to create dynamic…
  • How to survey clients of your accounting firm

    Industry consultant Allan Koltin once shared a statistic that probable client retention rates were 81 percent for clients using four services from their financial services provider, compared with 12 percent for clients using just one service. This indicates that accountants can benefit when clients utilize more services from the firm.…
  • Positioning your firm in a dynamic marketplace

    By Nancy A. Damato  President, Senior Consultant at Accounting Advisory Group, LLC The CPA firm marketplace is changing rapidly, as consolidation of the profession is creating larger firms with greater resources and expanded geographic marketplaces, while the competition for quality clients and staff has reached an all-time high. All of…
  • Stuck in compliance: The Grim Reaper of accounting firms

    Progressive accounting firms seek consulting opportunities so their firms can take advantage of more lucrative advisory service offerings. Recent discussions with industry thought leaders and CPAs that are providing advisory services have highlighted a key benefit to this move. Often the amount of time taken to complete certain advisory services…
  • Win new valuation clients by leveraging and looking

    Politicians and pundits debating these days how candidates can win will often discuss the importance of “playing to the base,” that core group of supporters who will be loyal voters and will evangelize for the candidate. At the same time, campaign players and watchers also acknowledge that it’s important to…
  • How accountants can conduct consultative client meetings

    Some accountants bristle at the idea of selling their services. This may be because of past experiences with stereotypically pushy salespeople or because of past experiences trying to sell that resulted in awkwardness or rejection. Or it may simply be because accountants are afraid of harming the trust that has…
  • Business development strategies for 2016: Marketing

    A favorite principle that financial advisors like to discuss is “compounding”: How saving a little now can help magnify your returns down the road as the interest or the investment gains multiply. This concept of compounding is appealing. After all, who doesn’t like to get back more than they put…
  • Be a profit center: Add value to your consulting engagements

    By Adam Blitz, Principal and Consultant at GetBlitzed Solutions CPA’s can be invaluable. However, CPA’s often dive into accounting work that only meets the compliance requirements. It’s common knowledge that clients need tax returns or financial statements completed and submitted in a timely manner. It’s also well known that the…
  • 12 Questions to ask in consultative client meetings

    When accountants go to client meetings they run the risk of either going in without a plan or failing to innovate their usual tactics for understanding their client. Since most business owners view accountants as a commodity, prioritizing the ways you communicate with your client during your annual or quarterly…
  • 6 Questions to help accountants sell advisory services

    If you are following the large accounting industry news outlets, it’s no surprise that the role of an accountant has been, is currently and will continue to shift from compliance work to consulting engagements.  The resistance to this change has been threefold: First, there is not enough time in the…
  • Is your website generating new business for your accounting firm?

    By Ryan Himmel, CPA, Founder & CEO, TaxResearchPro By now, many accounting firms have a website. Firms are motivated to have a site because other firms in the area have one and most clients expect it. Still, saying you have a website is not enough. You should be able to…
  • Before and after tax season checklist: How to increase revenue and add value

    Hectic schedules and an immense workload often prevent accountants from fulfilling their role as a trusted advisor during tax season. Time crunches mean that some strategic planning that accountants wish they could implement for their clients goes out the window during these months. Though strategic planning for clients must be…
  • Avoid pitfalls of a growing business valuation practice

    The baby boom generation is often marked by the free-spirited popularized during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The same generation that preached “peace, love and understanding” also funneled that spirit into some of the most successful entrepreneurial ideas ever, like the iPod and the Roomba. Now, as the generation ages, many…
  • Guiding your succession planning

    For many years leaders in the accounting profession have preached the need for firm succession planning. And there is no time like the present. The retirement of baby boomers combined with high turnover and the slow growth of new entrants to the profession all point to the inevitable passing of…
  • Effective LinkedIn strategies for marketing and thought leadership

    Remember the days of the rolodex on your desk? Well, even if you don’t, you probably realize that with today’s digital technology, the rolodex is pretty much extinct. Today, Outlook or Gmail contacts, your phone’s address book and LinkedIn have replaced the reams of paper we once used. You might…
  • June and July: The months of accounting conferences

    June and July have notoriously been the months that most firms use to attend accounting industry conferences. Though June is coming to a close, it is not too late to think through how your firm may be able to benefit from this time out of the office and away from…
  • Here’s what business valuation pros didn’t learn in school

    Chances are, most business valuation professionals took accounting, finance or economic classes in college – courses that focused on areas to provide them general competency in their jobs today. It’s less likely that many of these valuation professionals took marketing classes, especially not one that incorporated the seismic shifts that…
  • What to consider when pricing business valuations

    A recent survey by Pepperdine University found that 64 percent of business owners intend to transfer their ownership interests within the next 10 years. For those considering selling their business, a valuation professional could be seen as friend or foe – either delivering the good news that their business is…
  • Yelp for accountants: What your online reputation can mean for new business

    With more than 142 million users per month and 77 million local reviews, you’ve likely used Yelp’s website or mobile app to source a great Italian restaurant or locate the nearest bakery when you’re craving something sweet. But the review-based community extends far beyond ravioli and cannoli. Just about any…
  • Shoot and score: Tips for winning a new business valuation client

    If you’re a sports basketball fan, you know that the NBA playoff matchups are underway. As it stands, the average field goal percentage for the current season is .449. Of all 30 NBA teams – from first place standing in the Eastern Conference to last place in the West –…
  • 3 Accounting clients who need a ProfitCents report

    A lot of new ProfitCents customers understandably want to get the most out of the solution without devoting a ton of time in order to ramp up. One of the first steps in making sure you generate an acceptable return on your investment is to identify quickly a small number…
  • Leverage social media to market business valuation services

    Much like peanut butter and jelly, social media and content marketing are two things that go together in the world of forward-thinking marketers and business owners. So how does a firm get started using social media to build their valuation practice? Given the competing pressures on business valuation professionals or…
  • What can your firm learn from busy season?

    Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief… you’ve almost made it to the end of busy season. If your Twitter feed has consistently seen nothing but #busyseasonproblems for the last few months, it’s nearly time to make them a distant memory (but admit that you’ll miss the comic relief).…
  • 3 Easy steps to get the most out of ProfitCents

    In working day in and day out with accountants, we often hear that a main reason people subscribe to ProfitCents is to provide additional value to their clients. Accountants want to be able to help clients understand what their financial statements mean in the context of: • How the business…
  • How to improve your relationship-based banking

    According to the latest FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile, community banks continue to thrive and lead the industry. As more banks turn profitable – 90.3 percent achieved that threshold in the fourth quarter of 2014 – they aren’t just competing with large, national banks; their community bank counterparts also account for…
  • What is your accounting firm’s plan post-tax season?

    With spring comes the promise of warmer temperatures, irises and snapdragons, along with March Madness college basketball rivalries and the start of baseball season. While tax accountants may not be able to see the light at the end of the busy season tunnel yet, the spring is sure to come.…
  • How to get referrals and grow your firm

    By Natasha Closs, Director of ProfitCents Consulting & Advisory Services An ongoing challenge for accountants and other financial services professionals is attracting new clients. In fact, bringing in new clients is at or near the top of the list of challenges facing accounting firms of all sizes, and it’s a…
  • Business valuation solutions: To build or to buy?

    By Brad Spence, Director of Sageworks Valuation Solution It’s a classic conundrum – to build versus to buy. Make dinner at home versus take-out. While there are certainly people constructing their own coffee table – measuring, cutting, sanding and staining – most will drop a bill or two on a…
  • How to increase revenue this busy season without adding clients

    By Natasha L. Closs, Director of ProfitCents Consulting & Advisory Services To increase revenue, your accounting firm either needs to add clients or boost prices, right?  Those are certainly two options for accountants looking to have a better busy season than last year. Taking either of these approaches, however, could…
  • Optimizing valuation engagements to aid business development

    Bringing in new clients is a top priority for forensic and valuation accountants, with 87 percent calling the task somewhat or extremely important, according to a recent AICPA study. The emphasis on business development is understandable. Valuation work lacks as much repeat business (unless it’s tied to a recurring engagement…
  • How is your accounting firm leveraging social media to reach prospective clients?

    “Let’s connect on LinkedIn…” This phrase has become almost as common as exchanging business cards when at an industry event or conference. Perhaps you’ve even used the phrase at the grocery store or the gym. The question is no longer if you’re on the social networking site, but whether you…
  • How to transition your accounting firm from compliance mode to consultant mode

    An accountant's workload is much more than just tax preparation and number crunching. According to a 2014 IBISWorld report, financially-cognizant companies are increasingly turning to their accounting firms for advice on how to reduce inefficiencies in daily operations and eliminate unnecessary costs. Because accountants are among the most trusted business…
  • Top blog posts for accountants in 2014

    Sageworks has worked all year to bring accountants information that helps you serve clients and run your practice better, and many of our blog posts have been especially popular. Below is a list of the five most popular posts for accountants from the Sageworks blog this year. If you’re planning…
  • Accountants: Are you really listening to your clients?

    The holiday season and the close of a year tend to bring out a more pensive person in many of us. The last few weeks on the calendar become a time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going. Professionally, this is a valuable time to evaluate the…
  • New Year’s Resolution: Healthier accounting firm growth with a pipeline full of better clients

    If you intended to start a new health regimen after the first of the year, you would start planning for the change, right? Maybe you’d research gym memberships or look into the cost of joining a programmed diet. Perhaps you’d start reading motivational articles to psych yourself up for the…
  • Opportunities in advisory services, accounting industry leader says

    Core tax and accounting services will remain integral to the accounting profession, but accountants may also find opportunities in specialty services, an AICPA leader said this week. Carl Peterson, vice president of the AICPA’s small firm interests groups, told Accounting Today’s Growth & Profitability Summit this week that accountants are…
  • Top mistakes accountants are making with existing clients

    Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was referring to environmental impacts when she sang, “Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you’ve got/Till it’s gone” in "Big Yellow Taxi." But chances are, many accountants have the same thought after a client leaves the practice – especially someone who was with…
  • The 8 questions to picking an accounting niche

    Consumers understand that certain retailers specialize in particular items. If you're looking to plant tomatoes in your garden, your first step is unlikely to visit the local Best Buy store. Sometimes a specialty retailer is necessary to meet your needs. Such can also be the case with accountants. A one-size-fits…
  • 7 Ways accountants can “do” thought leadership and content marketing

    Are you a social butterfly? Do you quiver at the thought of leading a breakfast seminar for 100 prospects? Or do you quiver in a bad way – because you’re more comfortable behind a computer screen, answering questions about specific situations clients are facing, or sharing interesting articles through LinkedIn?…
  • How to retain “A” clients

    In an economic climate where so many decisions come down to dollars and cents – particularly for small businesses – it is important for accountants to illustrate your worth. Perhaps surprisingly, then, more often than not, a client’s decision to leave their current CPA or accounting firm comes not from…
  • How accountants can give awesome financial presentations

    When accountants prepare to meet with prospects or to review a company’s financial performance with its board, remembering three things will help you develop an awesome presentation that solidifies your role as trusted advisor: 1. People are busy. 2. People are distracted. 3. People want to know the bottom line…
  • Hot summer reads for accountants: Books and popular blog posts

    The awesome thing about technology is that your vacation reading list can be packed in your smartphone or tablet. Now more than ever, it’s easy to find something good to read when you’re relaxing in the mountains, chilling at the beach or (heaven forbid) waiting at the airport during a…
  • How accountants can win new clients

    Accounting firms oftentimes abandon a marketing plan for fear they don’t have the budget to successfully win new clients. This checklist provides 9 steps to create a plan of action to win new clients at low-cost.     Download this checklist to learn the six key questions accountants can ask that…
  • 7 Questions successful accountants ask during client meetings

    It's important for accountants to have a list of key questions to use during client meetings to deepen relationships. This checklist can provide a wealth of benefits including better understanding of client challenges and highlighting opportunities to cross-sell accounting services. Download this checklist to learn questions you can ask that will…
  • How to master small talk and help your accounting practice

    Everyone is pressed for time, and accountants are especially so, particularly at certain times of the year. But every time you contact or meet someone, you have an opportunity to cultivate new business, whether it’s with the person with whom you’re speaking or with someone they know.  That’s why it’s…
  • Top priorities for you to focus on in your accounting firm

      By Lauren Prosser, Director of ProfitCents Professional Services If your CPA firm is like most, its biggest assets are the staff and clients. Knowing more about these assets and gaining greater and more timely insights into the roles they play in the firm's success will enable you to better…
  • How accountants get new clients by using ProfitCents

    "On what page can I find the fee?"Accountants often get this question as they meet with prospects to present a service proposal, and unfortunately, sometimes they get it soon after handing the prospect the proposal. The fierce competition in accounting these days has pressured some accounting firms to compete on…
  • Want to discourage price-shopping by your accounting clients? Here’s how

    Do clients ever tell you they’ve priced-shopped your services? Do they ever leave with no explanation, maybe because they were price focused? Or are you worried you’ll have to lower your prices or continue to forego increases in order to retain good customers? An effective way to insulate your accounting…
  • 3 Tips for busy season marketing and business development

    Guest Post By Elizabeth Fiore, CPAmerica International With busy season in full swing, it is easy to let the marketing and business development activities slip (you know, the ones which made you busy in the first place). It’s crucial for your pipelines that you continue your marketing and business development activities…
  • Top 2013 accounting posts, webinars and whitepapers from Sageworks

    In 2013, accountants have worked hard to bolster their skills and lead their accounting firms to a prosperous year. In addition to logging countless hours on client services, many accountants have read thought-leadership pieces and attended educational webinars to improve their firms. Sageworks compiled a list of the most popular…
  • Elements of an effective accounting firm website

    By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, President and CEO, bbr marketing In times past, your office was the center of your business and the place where your accounting practice made a first impression. It was there that people sought more information and a point of contact after their interest was piqued, either…
  • A shift in the top 5 issues for CPA firms

      Guest Post By Elizabeth Fiore, CPAmerica International As the economy has improved, it’s no surprise the top issues facing CPA firms have also shifted from 2011 to 2013, according to The PCPS CPA Firm 2013 Top Issues Diagnostic Report published by the AICPA. “Putting the economic uncertainty of the…
  • What is the importance of industry analysis?

    Industry analysis is critical for any business professional looking to stay competitive. Whether we’re using it to gauge the competition or track our own progress, we regularly monitor our own performance. But are we really getting the most out of the information provided to us? When you ask someone what…
  • Crafting Industry Strategies? Use this 7-step approach

    By Lauren Prosser, Director of Profitcents Consulting Services When coaching firms on crafting an industry niche-driven growth strategy, there are three critical questions that we work together to answer. In a series of upcoming posts we will address each of these questions in detail. The first step is to assess…
  • Top priorities for CPA firms: Improve your marketing, business development

    Marketing and business development are top priorities for CPA firms recently surveyed by Sageworks. In this post, Lauren Prosser, director of ProfitCents Professional Services, explains how to improve these key strategic areas. By Lauren Prosser Previously, I described how a recent survey of CPA firms by Sageworks’ ProfitCents Professional Services…