This week, we travel to America’s heartland – to Great Bend, Kansas, hard by the Arkansas River. Visiting with us on the Accounting Success Podcast is Brian Staats, the Managing Partner of Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, also known as ABBB.

Founded in 1945, ABBB has 150 employees, 14 partners and 14 office locations throughout the state of Kansas. Brian was born and raised in Garden City, Kansas, and joined the firm in 1988, right out of university. As managing partner, he oversees all aspects of firm management while also servicing clients. His areas of focus are in the agricultural industry, small business taxes, and estate planning.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Brian and I discussed his 30-year journey with ABBB and:

  • Why more and more businesses are moving to Cloud accounting – and what it means to the modern CPA firm
  • What elder care has to do with a successful CPA firm in 2017
  • Ways to attract clients away from Big 4 accounting firms
  • Where the growth in outsourced CFO services is coming from
  • How to replace diminishing compliance work with more interesting and more profitable services
  • Reasons why he’s focusing on higher value-add services rather than traditional services

ABBB firm specialties include Agriculture, Construction, Manufacturing, and Oil & Gas, among others.

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

Visiting with us this week on the Accounting Success Podcast was Andrew Argue, one of the most creative and right brain CPAs you’re going to meet, and an up-and-coming voice in the accounting profession.

Andrew began his accounting career at PwC, started racing up the corporate ladder, making senior partner at a young age, then made a complete 180-degree pivot and career change when he found his true calling. Today he’s the founder of AndrewArgue.com and runs a successful training program teaching CPAs, bookkeepers and Enrolled Agents how to develop and strengthen their sales and marketing skills so they can start to have a successful and growing practice.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

In the last 6 months alone, Andrew has helped 112 accounting firms in 5 different countries learn the fundamentals of sales, while also understanding how it relates to today’s modern economy with social media and the digital world. Many of his clients see rapid improvement in new client fees and are able to confidently shed clients that are a drag on the firm.

And here’s the juiciest part: Andrew’s approach goes against much of the conventional wisdom from bloggers and tweeters and shiny object promoters out there.

Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • How to make sales and marketing less intimidating
  • How to establish value for the services you offer
  • Why he says, “The better your website, the less likely you are to be successful.”
  • How to create an effective marketing plan just by asking simple questions
  • The reason why some bookkeepers make more money than many CPAs
  • Beware your CPA license – it could be costing you business
  • The theory behind, “If you want better clients you need to be a better client”
  • How one client tripled growth in less than 18 months

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

I have a Google Alert set for my name.

Paul Partridge must not be a very common name because I get only an occasional alert.

However, last week was different.

I woke up to 2 alerts . . .

. . . informing me that Paul Partridge had died.

Thought I’d better look into it to see if I was still relevant. Turned out to be two gentlemen from England who share my namesake that passed.

It’s a little unnerving confronting your own demise.

Sadly, in the next few years, I fear that scenario is going to play out for certain CPAs.

Specifically, those that continue to be:

backwards looking . . .

reactive . . .

focused on compliance . . .

still working in a 20th Century style.

They’re going to wake up to find out that the world has moved on and their compliance-centric accounting practice has expired.

We made a video about it.

A parable, actually.

Check it out.

Have you heard the parable about the frog that was kissed and turned into a prince?

In this version, the frog doesn’t fare as well.

Revenge of the Bookkeepers

If it feels like your CPA practice is under attack, it is.

First it was online tax software.

Then offshore accountants working for pennies on the dollar.

Next came Watson, artificial intelligence, and the robots.

And now this:

Revenge of the bookkeepers.

CPA David Bergstein wrote an excellent article in the April issue of Accounting Today about “a whole new set of advisors coming into play in accounting.”

These new professional services companies are CPA-firm-like…

Except without the CPA.

As Bergstein points out, many of these hybrid firms have their roots as bookkeeping companies providing back office accounting services – now bolting on value-added services such as consulting and strategic advisory services.

In the process they’re servicing small and mid-sized business owners at a higher level than many compliance-centric CPA firms do.

Entrepreneurs and business owners today are looking for more from their advisors than 20th Century thinking and historical record keeping. If CPAs won’t provide it, these executives are willing to look outside traditional channels to find it.

Last week on our podcast we heard about several bookkeeping firms who are doing six figures.

A month.

As you can imagine, to generate steady revenue like that, they’re doing much more than balancing a company’s checkbook.

Separately, I had a conversation with a millennial CPA who walked away from a lucrative career at a top “name” regional firm to join a bookkeeping service because he:
1) was fed up with 80-hour workweeks
2) was tired of practicing “drive-by accounting”
3) now has more freedom to add value wherever he sees need
4) feels like he’s using more of his brain
5) can engage clients on a much deeper level that they appreciate
6) can still make a very good income

Some CPAs look down on bookkeepers because they don’t have a CPA license. Meanwhile, many bookkeepers are rejoicing because they DON’T have one.

Not having a CPA license means they never have the responsibility and aggravation and liability of doing tax returns. They’re free to build a firm unchained to the tax return.

Which means proactive, value-added, forward-looking services that speak to the modern business owner.

And when it comes time to do the tax return?

They can hire that low-level commodity service out.

With us this week on The Accounting Success podcast is Mark Zinman, the owner, CEO and managing partner of Ziman & Company, outside of Philadelphia. Mark is an AICPA Continuing Education Instructor, an NBC Tax Panel leader, and the Online Tax Expert for Philly.com. He’s also a Certified Information Technology Professional, whose passion is leveraging technology to improve business.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Mark uses his expertise to keep Zinman & Company on the forefront of technology while leading team members in business management, consulting and tax planning for clients. Marks’s unique team approach to helping clients is another demonstration of how Zinman & Company is “thinking beyond the numbers.”

The firm focuses on small and mid-sized businesses, Internet & technology, and construction, among other niches.

Here are some of the topics Mark and I discussed:

  • What is “Virtual Controllership”?
  • The best way to provide a “no-surprise” approach to billing
  • Crusading against “that’s the way we’ve always done it”
  • How to make numbers tell a story
  • His proudest and most rewarding moment in 30+ years as an accountant
  • Why proximity is no longer a consideration for Cloud CPAs
  • Why advisory services are the firm’s #1 focus

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

I had a special guest this week — Lindsay Patterson, Senior Manager – Communications and Public Relations at the AICPA.

A few weeks ago, Jena Wilson, who works in our HaydenRock office, showed me a story in AICPA Insights that was written by Lindsay – telling about a surprising and serendipitous encounter she had with Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman, investor, basketball team owner, etc.

Everyone in the office loved the story, and Jena suggested, why don’t we ask Lindsay on the podcast, and she can tell the story? So we did and she said yes.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

We dove right in to why Lindsay is so passionate about defending the CPA profession and also:

  • The reason why Mark Cuban wouldn’t want to be a CPA right now
  • Why Mark Cuban thinks the accounting profession is dying
  • The effects of Bitcoin and other new technologies
  • How the CPA exam has evolved to reflect today’s changing landscape
  • Practicing what she preaches—why Lindsay is motivated to get her Master’s in Accounting amidst the changes taking place in the industry

To view Lindsay’s blog, “That Time I told Mark Cuban He Was Wrong About the CPA Profession,” visit
http://blog.aicpa.org/2017/03/that-time-i-told-mark-cuban-he-was-wrong-about-the-cpa-profession.html#sthash.fvXko7v3.dpbs

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

The survey results on page 6 of the April Accounting Today are telling.

The survey question: What do you plan to do after the end of tax season?

Almost two thirds of respondents said they planned to take one day off or no days off, while 31% said they would take a week or longer vacation.

First, my congratulations to those CPAs able to grab some down time…

And my condolences to those unable to take a breather.

Whatever camp you’re in, have you ever questioned an industry that, year after year, pushes its professionals to the point of exhaustion?

How many years have you been enduring tax season?

How many years will you continue?

Is it getting easier or harder?

How does it make you feel to know that the grind begins anew in 280 short days?

A couple weeks ago, I asked a CPA how tax season was going.

His response: “Have you ever seen the movie Network, when Peter Finch is screaming out his apartment window, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!’ That’s how I feel.”

Turns out he was mostly mad at himself. Because every year he swears he’s not going to tolerate tax season anymore.
Then next year it’s more of the same.

Sound familiar?

Have you ever stopped and wondered, “Why does it have to be this way?”

Because we’re accountants, you idiot. It goes with the territory.

But what if it didn’t?

What if 50% of your firm revenues came from advisory services instead of tax returns and compliance work – would that make tax season less hellish?

That goal is not only possible, it’s happening every day.

The long-term growth prospects in tax returns, auditing, and other backwards-looking accounting work is bleak.

Meanwhile, the growth in advisory and consulting business is skyrocketing.

I read recently that the Big 4 accounting firms will do more advisory business this year than Bain and other big name consulting firms. Take a look at how Deloitte is positioning itself in the marketplace; they sound much more like a consulting firm than a CPA firm. “Meanwhile, a 2016 survey of Australian accountancy practices found that 84% of firms believe that for accountants to survive, they MUST provide advisory services” .

What about you?

Are you okay with working harder… and faster… for less money… having no fun… with a mindset that remains backward looking… reactive… focused on compliance?

Are you content with growing less and less relevant by the day?

Or are you mad as hell and finally ready to put an end to tax season misery once and for all?

The HaydenRock SystemTM provides CPAs with a tested and proven process plus personal coaching to introduce advisory and consulting services into your firm.

It’s based on the same process used to transform a small-town practice into one of the largest accountancy firms in England – where almost 80% of firm revenues came from advisory services rather than tax and compliance work.

To learn more, email info@haydenrock.com

With me this week on the Accounting Success Podcast is Shelley Johnson, the co-founder and owner of Allman Johnson CPAs & Advisors in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Shelley started in public accounting in 1990 after a few years as assistant controller for a real estate/hotel development company. Named one of the Top 50 Cloud Accountants two years in a row, Shelley hails from a long line of “number crunchers,” as both her mother and grandmother had long careers in banking. She is also an avid puzzle solver; thinking through solutions is Shelley’s forte. Therefore, a career in accounting seemed to be her calling.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Shelley has led the way by helping Allman Johnson continually grow through the cloud. During our conversation we talked about:

  • How to be involved with clients in ‘real time, all the time’
  • What the name of your firm says about you
  • Being a quarterback and ‘vetting agent’ for clients
  • Creating useful information out of accounting numbers
  • The crucial role of a “Client Experience Manager”
  • The best method to take the burden of accounting off business owners
  • 5 technology tools that can differentiate your firm
  • The psychology behind pricing strategies

Shelley is a member of the AICPA, the Indiana CPA Society, and the past chapter president of the Indiana State Board of Accountancy, as well as the American Society of Women Accountants. She also wrote a book on Obamacare, certainly a hot topic these days.

Allman Johnson serves entrepreneurs in all facets of their business and personal financial activities. The firm specializes in the Technology, Construction, Real-Estate, and Professional Service-Based Industries.

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

My guest this week is Henry Rinder, partner at Smolin Lupin in Fairfield, NJ. Henry has been with Smolin since 1980, when he started as an intern.

Henry served on the Technical Issues Committee of the AICPA and is the past President of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. At Smolin Lupin, he serves on the Executive Committee.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Henry had lots of wisdom to share, including:

  • 2 reasons why Smolin has embraced the merger-and-acquisition path to growth
  • The math behind M&A’s economies of scale
  • The role of brokerage services in finding potential merger candidates
  • Why the days of 2x billings buyouts are over, and what the market range is today
  • Three perks of running a CPA firm like a talent agency
  • How to smoothly transition after a merger
  • Ways to reduce overhead after an acquisition
  • Smolin Lupin’s plans to become a Top 100 firm

Smolin Lupin has been helping clients for 70 years and is one of the NJ BIZ Top 20 Public Accounting Firms in New Jersey.

Henry services clients in the construction, distribution, manufacturing, and legal services industries, providing clients with audit, forensic accounting, fraud investigation, litigation, business valuation, matrimonial accounting, and consulting support.

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

As you know, we’re big fans of revolutionaries and disrupters here on The Accounting Success Podcast. In the past, we’ve had inDinero , who’s disrupting accounting and bookkeeping services. We’ve had Ron Baker disrupting the billable hour. We’ve had Jim Bourke agitating CPAs living in the past. And this week, we’re continuing our disruptive tradition with Jeff Phillips of AccountingFly.com

Jeff is the co-founder and CEO of Accountingfly, which is revolutionizing the way accountants are hired.
Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Accountingfly is the career center for the accounting profession. Job seekers can easily apply to jobs. Employers can use Accountingfly to post jobs and recruit accountants at every step in their career. CPA firms also use Accountingfly’s smart software to organize and automate the recruiting process, make faster hiring decisions, and build pools of talent from which they can recruit in the future. Here are some of the topics I covered with Jeff:

  • What he learned from working at Monster.com, and why that model doesn’t work for accounting firms
  • The end of “post and pray” hiring strategies
  • How CPA firms typically burn money on recruitment (and what to do that’s smarter)
  • How to build a deep bench of potential future hires
  • What AccountingFly is doing to address the talent acquisition challenge
  • Why job boards and traditional recruitment agencies are broken recruiting models
  • Secrets behind the innovative “inbound recruiting” approach
  • What millennials are looking for from a progressive firm
  • When is the best time to hire
  • How to avoid “crisis recruiting”
  • Effects of the talent crunch on CPA salaries
  • Myths millennial CPAs believe – and how addressing them can dramatically improve your hiring success

Jeff is also the publisher of GoingConcern, a news website for millennial CPAs that attracts over 185,000 readers a month. For his efforts, Accounting Today has named Jeff to its 100 Most Influential People list for three years running.

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w