Category Archives: Errors

Review Notes – To Keep or Not to Keep – That is the Question

If Shakespeare had been a CPA, he would have written the following about review notes.   “To be or not to be.  That is the question.  Whither it be nobler to allow discovery by hostile attorneys or consign the notes to the external damnation of the shredder.”   I’ve been reading practice management guidance lately…
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Get Your CPA, Accounting, or Tax Practice Out of E-mail Hell

So you’ve been in a CPA, accounting, or tax practice since Ronald Reagan was President, and you’re just getting used to the giving up the telephone as your main method of communication.  Now I’’m about to tell you that e-mail is like so 1990’s dude, so Kurt Cobain, so grunge era.  In 2016, e-mail could…
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How the Cloud Improves Your Client Service

In case you haven’t noticed, the days of clients blindly accepting the results of our efforts are long gone.  About 45 thousand times during each tax season, we have the shock and awe conversation with clients.   Client: “I paid a lot in taxes.  How can I owe that much?  Something must be missing.”  …
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Get Better Answers from Your Tax Clients

Consider this question from a staff accountant to a client during a tax planning engagement.   “How much in interest and dividend income do you expect for 2015?”   Silly millennial!  He pictures the client poring through a file cabinet of brokerage statements to get us the answer.  From the question, you might expect the…
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Learn to Love Frustration – Or Fix Your Workflow #3

The first two installments covered defining your workflow as the first step to improvement and pushing work down to the lowest staff level possible as the second step.  The final step in improving your workflow is removing unnecessary steps.   As I wrote in the last post, Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow (REW) has two primary tenets. …
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Learn to Love Frustration – Or Fix Your Workflow #2

In my last post, you learned that to fix your workflow, you have to first define your current workflow. Next, let’s work on improving it.   Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow (REW) has two primary tenets. First, tasks should be performed by the least expensive staff capable of performing the task. Second, tasks must either deliver value…
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Learn to Love Frustration – or Fix Your Workflow

You already know the definition of insanity and Dr. Phil’s tag line, “How’s that working out for you?”  So if last tax season made you feel like the last guy bailing water when the Titanic sank, maybe it’s time for a change.  Maybe you know it’s time for a change, but don’t know how to…
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Using Agile Project Management in Your Accounting or Tax Practice

Agile project management conjures up the image of scruffy software programmers surrounded by empty pizza boxes at 3 AM hacking away at producing the next Google.  What could Agile possibly bring to accounting and income tax preparation?  Actually a lot, and it could transform your workflow and provide a quantum leap in the  the efficiency…
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Lies, Damned Lies, and Toss Your Time Tracking

The bastard brother of value pricing is the trend towards eliminating time tracking.  When every other industry runs toward metrics, the CPA biz runs the other way.  I’m not surprised.  Nobody likes admin tasks, even when they provide information necessary to succeed.  Telling children they don’t have to eat vegetables is popular with kids even…
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Why You Should Be Tracking Staff Errors

How do you evaluate your staff? Do you base annual reviews on objective information, or are your reviews entirely subjective?  Is your only objective information annual billings?  Do you even have that?  While other industries moved to objective metrics for evaluating employee performance a decade or more ago, the CPA world has moved in the…
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Profiting from the Coming Shift in Client Demographics

If you went to the bathroom last night sometime before morning, as you likely did if you are in the CPA or tax business, you are part of the aging baby boom generation.  I’m right there with you.  I probably went twice, if I can even remember it accurately anymore. Our profession has aged.  At…
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Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow – Slaying the WIP Monster

Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow (REW) accomplishes two goals for CPA firms.  First, REW reduces turnaround time for projects and thereby increases client satisfaction.  Second, REW reduces costs by matching the right staff with the right tasks, thus increasing firm profitability.  This article deals with reducing turnaround time. REW borrows extensively from Lean Six Sigma, and many…
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Why Small Firms Fail – The Tragic Tale of Tammy Tardy

Tammy Tardy was an average tax preparer, who owned  an average tax preparation firm.  Every tax season Tammy met with a hundred or so tax clients much like many of us.  Tammy managed her workload using the piles of files method.  After a client meeting, she put the file aside, knowing she would get to…
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Welcome to Clarity Practice Management!

Hello and welcome to Clarity Practice Management!  We are 21st century practice management for your growing firm.  We serve CPA, accounting, and tax firms. We are glad you joined us. Please read the other posts here for practice management tips and our view of the future for CPA, accounting, and tax practice management. Take a…
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