Bob Jensen's Threads on Professional Practice, Fees, Choosing Accountants, Financial Advisors, and Consultants

Bob Jensen at Trinity University


Bookkeeping Help Directory  --- http://www.bookkeepinghelp.com/

Accounting Software --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#AccountingSoftware

Tax Helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation

Small Business Helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Threads.htm

Large International Accounting Firm History --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Four_auditors

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/


"Offering a Helping Hand on Retirement Savings:  New Website Provides Investment Novices Free Portfolio Recommendations; Asking Questions of the CEO," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2012 ---
http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577448503218010424.html

How often do you tinker with your retirement savings? Many people think about this when starting a job or opening a 401(k), but sometimes not again until they are ready to retire. According to financial advisers, that's too late.

This week, I forced myself to look at accounts I rarely monitor as I tested FutureAdvisor.com, a website founded by two former Microsoft engineers who are also a registered investment adviser and chartered financial analyst, respectively. They wanted to create an easy way for people to manage their retirement savings, primarily using index funds, and they based the site's suggestions on what they consider to be the best practices in the industry and in academia.

FutureAdvisor, which has no ads, bills itself as a free alternative to paying a lot for financial advice from professionals, who often charge a 1% annual fee or work on commission. Many big investment firms offer retirement-savings services, but these generally don't offer step-by-step advice for an investor's complete portfolio. FutureAdvisor expects to make money when it introduces later this year an optional premium service, which will charge an annual fee of less than 0.25% of your assets to rebalance and maintain your portfolio, automatically. It says suggestions offered on the site are made solely on merit, with no kickbacks or commissions to FutureAdvisor.

The site differs from budgeting sites like Mint.com that don't specialize in retirement savings. Instead, Mint makes money through recommendations for users, like which credit cards carry lower fees.

I'm not a financial expert; rather, I looked at FutureAdvisor through the lens of an average person who might want to use the site. Its investment philosophy may not be right for everybody.

FutureAdvisor is easy to use and walks users through a set of simple steps. There's no asset minimum to use the site, though people who are already in retirement can't use it. Pop-up explanations and options to submit questions to the site's CEO and co-founder, a registered investment adviser, are available as you go.

For security purposes, FutureAdvisor uses bank-level, 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption for all communications. It can't move money or make transactions; instead, people do this by clicking on links that send them to their financial institutions where they may pay a fee for certain transactions. Login information is never stored on the website; rather, it's handled by partner company Yodlee.

To get started with FutureAdvisor, I entered my email and a password to create an account and then answered questions about myself. These included birthday, current annual income, desired retirement age, desired retirement income, age when I started consistently saving for retirement, approximate value of my retirement investments and marital status. Thankfully, messages that say, "What is this?" appear beside each question, explaining why it's asked.

Next, you enter the names of brokerage firms that handle your accounts, like Fidelity for a 401(k) or T. Rowe Price for a Roth IRA. If you don't already have online accounts with each of these firms, you must set up accounts on their websites so you can return to FutureAdvisor, enter your username and password and access your data.

FutureAdvisor recognized a lot of different brokerage firms that I searched for, and this week it added Thrift Savings Plans, or TSPs, which are used by government employees, including military personnel. If a brokerage firm isn't on the site, you can suggest it in a feedback box. I did this, and my requested firm was added within hours.

When personal questions are answered and brokerage-firm information is retrieved, FutureAdvisor asks you to choose a conservative, moderate or aggressive approach with explanations of each. I chose an aggressive option because of my relatively young age. Various charts filled the screen showing recommendations for my stock/bond split, equity style, diversification split and glide style. Terms like this may lose average users, but brief explanations beside them helped, and I read a References and Citations pop-up menu filled with sources from which the advice was generated.

The most helpful section of the site showed recommendations for my portfolio.

Continued in article

FutureAdvisor --- https://www.futureadvisor.com/

Bob Jensen's investment helpers ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers


Where do you find help with taxes?

Start with the IRS links shown above. These services are free from the IRS.
Especially note the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service --- http://www.irs.gov/advocate/index.html
Taxpayer Advocate Service. --- http://www.irs.gov/advocate/index.html 
IRS Site Map --- http://www.irs.gov/sitemap/index.html

Check with you local or state Society of CPAs. These societies often provide links to free local taxpayer assistance helpers.
Links for U.S. states and territories can be found at http://www.aicpa.org/Legislative+Activities+and+State+Licensing+Issues/State+News+and+Info/States/info/index.htm
or just Click Here

There are thousands of commercial taxpayer assistance companies, attorneys, and accountants that charge fees and deal with varying levels of tax problem complexities. Be sure to investigate the credentials and reputations of these service providers. There are many fraudulent taxpayer serivice firms --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#TaxScams
Unless the provider has an established reputation, don't deal over the phone or the Internet. A local provider should have an office and an address other than a postal box. Taxpayer assistance is an area where you may not get what you pay for.

There are some helpers for obtaining professional services at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

Bob Jensen's Tax Helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2007 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2007/news_web.htm

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

SECURING A REPUTABLE BROKER
www.nasd.com/brokercheck
The NASD has answered the calls of investors looking for background information on potential financial service providers. The organization’s BrokerCheck Program lets users research current or formerly registered securities firms, individual brokers and regulated Investment Adviser firms. It also provides a comprehensive 10-year business and licensure history and list of disclosure events, including criminal actions, customer complaints and disciplinary actions by regulators against the firm or broker. Investors receive an electronic disclosure report as well as access to other educational services, including the Professional Designation Database and state disclosure programs.

BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH…MORE
www.freemoneyfinance.com

Whether you’re living on a student’s budget or a CFO’s salary, Free Money Finance has innovative ideas for increasing net worth, budgeting and maximizing retirement savings that you can immediately put into practice. On Mondays, check out “Star Money Articles,” a posting of news and tips from several of the Web’s popular personal finance sites. Take a few minutes on Fridays to read “One Year Ago,” popular posts from the prior year, to jump-start a frugal weekend.

THE BENEFITS OF TAX KNOWLEDGE
www.irs.gov/retirement

Visit this Smart Stop for the latest tax news and information affecting the employee plans community. CPAs can search for resources on employee plans (EP) examinations and enforcement, retirement plans, benefit audits and correcting EP errors. Click on the “EP/Forms/Pubs/Products” link for access to PDF versions of EP forms and publications, plus in-depth instructions for form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and form 5330, Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.

NOTHING IS CERTAIN BUT…
www.deathandtaxesblog.com

Visit Chicago-area attorney Joel Schoenmeyer’s Web site to brush up on topics straddling the lines between law, accounting and wealth management. Death and Taxes—The Blog offers estate planning and administration news and commentary, plus coverage of legal issues about real estate, gift and income taxes, trusts and charitable giving.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#Markets


Accountants are sought after for business advice more often than lawyers or bankers, according to a new survey of small business owners.

"Survey Shows Accountants Are Most Trusted Advisers," AccountingWeb, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102608

Accountants were preferred by nearly 82 percent of the small business owners surveyed in August by online payroll service SurePayroll. Preferences for counsel from lawyers (14 percent) and bankers (4 percent) lagged far behind.

The survey also asked small business owners which of those three professionals have been most important to their success, and again, accountants came out on top. The survey said 75 percent of the 550 small business owners surveyed cited accountants, 13 percent chose bankers and 12 percent said lawyers were the key contributors to success.

SurePayroll president Michael Alter said, “The research confirms our belief that most small business owners view their accountants as trusted business advisers who can help them to grow their business.”

The August e-mail survey also revealed that not all business owners were satisfied with their accountant, however. In fact, 17 percent do not use an accountant at all, and one in 20 may change accountants. To improve service, small business owners said they wanted more frequent communication and more business advice.

There may be no better time to get good guidance than now, when small businesses are facing the triple threat of rising interest rates, ever-higher oil prices and skyrocketing health care costs. Alter told Bloomberg TV recently that 11 percent of SurePayroll customers said they may drop health care benefits next year if costs continue to rise.

“It’s a real tough time to run a business,” Alter said. He said two-thirds of small business owners believe that inflation will have a negative impact on their business this year, and that they are “extremely worried” about interest rates continuing to rise.

SurePayroll, the nation’s largest online payroll provider for small businesses, releases economic indicators every month, gathered from employee and contractor paychecks for more than 17,000 small businesses. SurePayroll, based in the Chicago area, also regularly surveys its customers on a variety of topics.

What are some of the top challenges of owning a small business? According to a SurePayroll survey conducted in July: Finding and keeping qualified employees (19.3 percent); balancing business development efforts and current workload (18.3 percent); managing their work time and priorities (14.6 percent); managing employees (11.9 percent); generating expected revenues (11.9 percent); creating a work/life balance (10.8 percent); meeting their income goals (7.3 percent); and acquiring capital to grow (5.7 percent).


Help for the younger generation's planning ahead for their financial futures

"A Glimpse of the Future: Savings and asset accumulation among Americans 25–34," Journal of Accountancy, January 2007 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2007/special2.htm

Bob Jensen's personal finance bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


Investment Helpers
From the Journal of Accountancy January 2007 Smart Stops on the Web --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2007/news_web.htm

Onward and Upward
www.mynextphase.com

Here CPAs and financial advisers can get a free trial membership and explore some of the nonfinancial considerations of retirement, such as how to handle change and revisit past interests as future options. Retirement Resources has links to Web sites on health, recreation and working after retirement. Find books on successful retirement in Suggested Reading, get the free newsletter Next Phase News and download research findings in “Retirement Trends and Truths.”

Get the Financial Facts
http://kimsnider.blogs.com
This blog, created by the founder and president of Kim Snider Financial Communications, has dozens of posts from financial journals and Web sites on topics including annuities, bonds, cash flow investments, financial education and investment principles. Find out how Kim Snider invests her own money and learn her portfolio management strategies with a free informational session.

A Helping Hand
www.finaid.org

Personal financial planners with clients that have kids in school will want to bookmark this Smart Stop for guides on navigating financial aid, loan and scholarship information. Find links to aid programs from the military and federal and state governments, as well as resources on education tax benefits and financial aid applications. Get calculators to project college costs and help with family budgeting. Or go to Beyond Financial Aid for a financial aid checklist and links to college selection and jobs and internship sites.

Money Matters
www.pfblog.com

Follow this blogger’s personal finance journey to learn about the 10 best domestic equity fund managers and how to properly close a credit card account. Look up your life expectancy in the Archives or go to the PFBlog Digest to get the scoop on paying off student loans, starting salaries for college grads and how 529 plans affect financial aid eligibility.

Make a Clean Break
www.womansdivorce.com

Financial advisers looking for divorce resources for female clients can go to this site’s Downloadable Documents section for state-specific divorce forms, parenting, separation and property settlement agreements. The Legal Considerations for Women and Financial Information sections offer divorce strategies and advice on choosing an attorney.


Question
In the public accounting profession, what's a PFS
?

Hint
PFS is a new credential to put after one's name --- it looks better than Pfffssssttt

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Texas Tech University's Division of Personal Financial Planning have announced a joint agreement to develop a new educational program that will lead to the AICPA's Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential. The program will officially begin in June 2009, but the AICPA and Texas Tech have announced that they will conduct a PFS Pathway beta program or test program at AICPA offices in Dallas November 10 through 14th. The PFS beta program consists of four days of intense comprehensive personal financial planning case study in 12 technical areas, including estate planning, employee benefits, investment planning, financial independence, and income tax planning. Participants take an eight-hour multiple choice exam of approximately 200 questions on the fifth day.
"AICPA and Texas Tech announce new pathway to PFS credential," AccountingWeb, August 2008 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105793

Personal Finance Helpers
From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2008

KEEPING IT SIMPLE
www.bargaineering.com/articles
This Smart Stop’s author puts together a “Blueprint for Financial Prosperity,” working and blogging through the complexities of personal finance. Articles include “Speed Up or Shift Up: Thinking About Your Income Path” and “Do You Have an Opportunity Fund?” Also find tax and investing coverage, plus reviews of financial planning and wealth management books. Every month, the author plays “Devil’s Advocate,” where he examines the other side of “mainstream” or “common sense” personal finance ideas. Recent “Advocate” posts include “Don’t Budget to the Penny” and “Don’t Just Buy Index Funds.”

THIS WEEK IN PERSONAL FINANCE
www.carnivalofpersonalfinance.com
The Carnival of Personal Finance touts itself as “a traveling weekly showcase of the best blog articles on the topic.” The carnival is hosted by a different guest blogger each week. In every edition, you’ll find links to the guest editor’s picks of the week, typically highlighting five to 10 posts from various sources, which feature expert advice on professional sites or regular-Joe experiences on personal sites. You can submit your own post for consideration, view the schedule of upcoming hosts or just browse the wealth of archived articles.

The AICPA maintains a financial literacy site at http://www.aicpa.org/financialliteracy/FeedThePig/

 

Bob Jensen's threads on personal finance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

Bob Jensen's threads on credit reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding a financial advisor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

Bob Jensen's career helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers

 


"How to Prevent Investment Adviser Fraud," by Brian Carroll, Journal of Accountancy, January 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2006/carroll.htm


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
SECTION 206 OF THE INVESTMENT ADVISERS ACT OF 1940 provides guidelines for investment advisers on what constitutes fraud.

THE SUPREME COURT HAS HELD THAT THE ACT imposes a fiduciary duty on investment advisers to act in the best interest of their clients by fully disclosing all potential conflicts of interest.

INVESTMENT ADVISERS SHOULD REVIEW CAREFULLY SEC and other disclosure requirements to ensure they clearly understand potential conflicts.

INVESTMENT ADVISERS SHOULD REVIEW ALL SEC FILINGS, client marketing materials and other significant documents to ensure that they have appropriately disclosed all potential conflicts.

Brian Carroll, CPA, is special counsel with the SEC in Philadelphia and an adjunct professor at Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, N.J.

 


Helpers in planning for retirement --- http://www.plan-for-retirement.com/

Naked Shorts:  Irreverent Investment Ideas --- http://nakedshorts.typepad.com 

Advertisement Free Personal Finance Blogs --- http://pfblogs.org/blog/29

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#Finance


Question
Where can researchers obtain information about auditor fees?

Answer
A popular source is the database at Audit Analytics.  The entries in this database are extracted from proxy statements of companies --- http://www.auditanalytics.com/

There is much more about audit services at the above site.  The site is not a free site for most database items.


Worldwide Directory of Accountants and Consultants --- http://www.searchsystems.net/list.php?nid=62


"Social Security: What’s the Magic Age? When to start collecting your benefits," by Kathryn Garnett, Journal of Accountancy, July 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2006/garnett.htm

In determining the age at which a worker should apply for Social Security benefits, consideration should be given to current and expected future sources of income, age of beneficiary and spouse, health issues that could affect longevity and whether the beneficiary will continue to work while receiving benefits.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer for deciding when Social Security benefits should be started. Many workers will benefit by beginning to receive benefits at age 62 due to their circumstances and needs. For others, waiting until full retirement age, or even later, will provide higher annual income in the years ahead when their expenses might outpace their resources.

How long does it take to break even in the game of taking benefits at early vs. normal retirement age? If two retirees are now 65 and one started collecting Social Security benefits at age 62 and the other starts now, they will collect the same total amount of money when they are 77 years old.

It’s important to do preretirement calculations at least every three years, to take into account any changing circumstances and/or changes in the rules as they apply to Social Security benefits, pensions and investment savings.

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimato


From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2006/news_web.htm

RETIREMENT PLANNING SITES
Green Golden Years
http://retireplan.about.com

CPA/PFSs can find retirement planning advice here, including information on rolling over qualified plans, an IRA fact sheet and five reasons to open a 401(k) plan. Take a quiz to see how much you know about the basics of retirement planning, calculate 401(k) plan savings or sign up for a free newsletter.

Wealth of Resources
www.fpanet.org

Free registration at the Financial Planning Association Web site gets planners access to a calculator that can figure the worth of your client’s 401(k) at retirement. Find checklists on the documentation you should ask clients to supply to begin working with them and questions they may ask about your qualifications. Take an investment fraud awareness quiz or research what to do with your retirement plan if you lose your job.

Ready to Retire?
http://www.theretirementpros.com/

Read detailed Qs&As on retirement planning in the Ask the Experts section at this e-stop to find out whether your clients are set for their futures. Topics include annuities, general investing, Medicaid and Social Security. Access calculators to figure out how much savings your clients will need in order to quit working. Compare taxable and tax-free investment returns and inflation’s impact on savings, get the free Primer on Annuities report or register for free Webinars and the Safe Money Advisory newsletter.

Older and WISER
www.wiser.heinz.org

The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) Web site offers five things women need to do for retirement, as well as five reasons retirement is a challenge for female workers. You can find 10 ways baby boomer women can avoid retirement poverty, read up on issues related to retirement plans, such as divorce and widowhood, or see how well you do on a pension checklist.

Retirement Resources
www.wealthygeek.com

Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek Web address fool you: CPAs looking for pertinent information on retirement planning for themselves and their clients will find it here. Links take users to Q&A discussions on factors affecting 401(k) plans, such as active vs. passive plan management and when payments kick in and tips on how to manage investment losses.


Best of the Web (thank you Barry Thompson for this link)
http://botw.org/top/Business/Business_to_Business/Financial_Services/Financial_Planning/Retirement_Planning/


Does a shortage of accountants contribute to client stress?
Some people in the industry say that customer service problems arise because fewer people are entering the field. "There is a shortage of accountants in this country," said Shannon Vincent, chief executive of the ReNew Group, an accounting-practice consulting firm in Oakland, Calif. "As a result, they don't necessarily have to treat their customers well."
Erwyn Brown, "How to Make Your (Accounting) Relationship Work," The New York Times, December 11, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/business/yourmoney/11account.html


"Smart Stops on the Web," Journal of Accountancy, May 2006 --- 
http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/may2006/news_web.htm

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SITES
Your Company’s Conscience
www.e-businessethics.com

CPAs charged with keeping their firms and employers on the straight and narrow will find PowerPoint presentations here on corporate reform, Sarbanes-Oxley and the nature and scope of business ethics. Users can find a link to the 2005 National Business Ethics Survey or read business ethics case studies on Bridgestone/Firestone’s tire recall and the much-publicized Napster Web site legal proceedings. Test your own ethics with case scenarios and accompanying possible solutions.

Visit the Vault
www.aspow.com

CPAs will want to check out this Association of Coaching and Consulting Professionals on the Web (ACCPOW) e-spot to register for instant access to the free Coaching Business Weekly, which includes business tips on practice building, management techniques and generating passive revenue. A membership fee of less than $20 a month gives subscribers discussion forums, tutorials and practice management articles on deducting medical expenses, setting fees and five things a contract should include. Here are other ACCPOW Web sites, linked at the bottom of the home page:

www.assessmentgenerator.com
Looking to expand or rethink your client base? Take a free test-drive at this Web stop to rate your marketing know-how and target niches, Web design skills and even stress levels. Find free articles on how to create and use value assessments to determine whether your service is an “ideavirus” and how to recognize and fire a difficult client early.

www.coachinglab.com
CPAs who need help with HR matters can browse this pay-per-item e-catalog of assessments, checklists and worksheets on business management, finance, marketing and small business. Get resources for writing a company profile, finding employees who are a perfect fit and “virtualizing” your business, or rate your clients’ financial fitness.

www.coachingbridgelines.com
Interested in implementing teleconferences and teleseminars or arranging focus groups for marketing purposes? Find help at this Web site and read the free article “How to Organize a Successful and Profitable Teleclass.”

Some of Bob Jensen's practice helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fees.htm

Related bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


Advertisement Free Personal Finance Blogs --- http://pfblogs.org/blog/29

New blogging network for personal finance

From Jim Mahar's blog on January 22, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

"Five of the top Internet personal finance bloggers today announced they have banded together to create a first-of-its-kind personal finance blog network designed to put personal finance wisdom, best practices and commentary just a mouse click away.

The new network, with headquarters online at www.moneyblognetwork.com  beginning today, will be composed of the following top-performing personal finance bloggers:

* JLP of AllThingsFinancial – www.allthingsfinancialblog.com 
* Jim of Blueprint for Financial Prosperity – www.bargaineering.com/articles 
* Flexo of Consumerism Commentary – www.consumerismcommentary.com 
* Nickel of Five Cent Nickel – www.fivecentnickel.com
* FMF of Free Money Finance – www.freemoneyfinance.com 

Bob Jensen's added threads on personal finance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm
 


"Forbes “Best of the Web”: Tax Planning," AccountingWeb, August 29, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101242

There are many resources available on the Internet to help you and your clients with tax planning. Two of the best, according to Forbes’ Best of the Web: Tax Planning are the Financial Planning Toolkit from CCH and AccountantsWorld Tax and Accounting Directory.

CCH’s Financial Planning Toolkit offers an excellent Basic Tax Guide and animated calculators with detailed explanations and printable reports. Here users will find top tax stories in the news and sections including:
 

  • Personal Financial Advisor
     
  • Financial Planning Process
     
  • Investing
     
  • Insurance and Risk Management
     
  • Retirement Planning
     
  • Estate Planning
     
  • Tax Planning

The site’s only weak spot, according to Forbes, is that it links only to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site.

 


Converting Home Videos to DVDs

Q: Are there services that will take home video and burn it to a DVD

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


November 21, 2005 message from Donald Ramsey [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

For an awesome list of 43 professional certifications in accounting and finance, compiled by Prof. Greg Burbage of Sacramento City College, check http://www.scc.losrios.edu/~burbagg/CPALinks.html


Accountancy is Sure a Lot More Than Auditing

"MAP Survey Shows Revenue Growth for CPA Firms," SmartPros, December 7, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x46125.xml 

Local and regional firms across the U.S. reported revenue growth, salary increases and expansion of core service offerings in 2004 and feel optimistic heading into 2005, according to this year's PCPS/Texas Society of CPAs (TSPCA) National Management of Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey.

Thirty-two percent of the 2,373 local and regional firms surveyed this year experienced an increase in revenue of at least 10 percent, while 14 percent indicated an increase of greater than 20 percent in their most recent fiscal year.

The average total revenues for CPA firms responding to the survey was $1.48 million. Profits increased slightly as a percentage of total income from 36 percent to 36.8 percent over the 2003 results. Consistent with last year’s findings, the three largest sources of income for local and regional firms are tax services (48.5 percent), compilations (12.5 percent) and write-up/data processing (12 percent).

"This year’s survey results confirm what we’ve heard anecdotally – that local and regional CPA firms are thriving in the current business environment," said Richard J. Caturano, Chair of the PCPS Executive Committee. "This year, PCPS is providing a detailed commentary on CPA best practices, which cements the PCPS/TSCPA MAP Survey as one of the most valuable tools available to help firms run their practices." Mr. Caturano is President of Vitale, Caturano & Company, a leading CPA firm in Boston.

This year, the top 10 specialized services offered by respondent firms are:

The total number of firms offering investment and securities sales decreased from 16 percent to 10.5 percent, while payroll processing fell from 65 percent to 59 percent. 

In this year's survey, CPA firms were asked about effective marketing techniques. The top three marketing efforts by local and regional firms are newsletters (43.1 percent), trade group memberships (38.9 percent) and advertising (35.1 percent). Tele-prospecting (4.3 percent) was considered the least effective. A majority of firms have created working partnerships and alliances with other CPA firms (55.1 percent).

Among other findings:

Earnings and Rates: Firm employees reaped the benefits of local and regional firm success. The average annual base salary increased 5.7 percent over last year and bonuses averaged 5.3  percent of total salary. On average, owners took home 37 percent of their firm’s income. The average hourly billing rate for a professional earning $50,000 dropped slightly to $93 from $95 in 2003.

Retirement Plans: The data reveals that 30 percent of firms do not have a retirement plan, compared to 26 percent last year. In addition, just 37 percent provide for partner retirement, down from 45 percent in 2003.

HR Policies: Seventy-seven percent of firms offer their staff flexible work arrangements.

Outsourcing: Three-quarters of CPA firms said they wouldn’t consider outsourcing individual tax returns, while 16.8 percent said they would.

Gender Demographics: Most partners/owners are male (75 percent). However for all non-owner designations, the majority of CPAs are females.

Going Paperless: Forty-one percent of respondents indicated that they would consider going paperless, while 20 percent already are. One-quarter of the firms (25 percent) are planning to go paperless and 13 percent will not consider it.

This marks the third consecutive year that PCPS, the AICPA community for CPA firms, has partnered with the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) to produce the survey and the second year the survey was sponsored by Aon Insurance Services, the broker and administrator for the AICPA Insurance Programs. For the first time, additional support was provided by Robert Half Management Resources. Forty-three state CPA societies and the Association for Accounting Administration also played a key role by encouraging their members to respond.

IntelliSurvey, an independent market research company that specializes in helping leading researchers and organizations deploy complex projects, administered the online survey to firms between June 30 and September 3, 2004. The group encompassed a diverse range of firm types and the survey was modified accordingly to ensure that firms were asked questions relevant to their size and structure.

The National MAP Survey Results Report may be purchased for $300 with a $100 discount to participants and a $100 discount for AICPA members. Results are free to PCPS members. New this year, a detailed commentary on CPA best practices and management insights will be available. For more information, call 1-800-CPA-FIRM or visit www.pcps.org and click on the 2004 PCPS/TSCPA National MAP Survey logo on the left side of the screen.

Bob Jensen's threads on assurance services are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assurance.htm 


Will some clients be relegated to risk pools that reluctant auditing firms must serve?  High risk drivers are now assigned to a risk pool that insurance companies must serve (due to state laws requiring insurance) at higher rates even though they would rather not serve at any rate.  The same may happen with high risk clients of accounting firms.

"Big Four Accounting Firms Steering Clear of Risky Business," AccountingWeb, December 14, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100202 

Statistics from research firm Audit Analytics indicate that the Big Four firms are dropping clients at record rates, and the trend is increasing. Since the auditing nightmares at Enron were exposed three years ago, audit firm resignations among the Big Four have increased from 18% of all departures from auditing assignments in 2001 to 34% in 2004. Just in the first three quarters of this year, the Big Four firms have resigned from a total of 157 U.S. audits.

The firms are attributing the resignations to a variety of factors, with limited resources as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation being the most prominent reason. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 placed additional burdens on auditors and is leaving accounting firms in a position of having to be more selective in choosing the clients whose audits can be performed most efficiently.

In addition, firms are weeding out clients with risk factors that can affect the reliability of financial statement information. Earlier this fall, PricewaterhouseCoopers resigned from the audit of Pegasus Communications Corp., citing "material weaknesses in the application of accounting principle and policies that led to the restatement of the Company's financial statements," as the reason for the resignation.

A side effect of the Big Four's paring down of its clients is the boon to second tier national firms such as Grant Thornton, BDO Seidman, and McGladrey & Pullen. USA Today reports that many of the companies being booted by the Big Four are turning to these smaller firms and finding a benefit in lower costs and better access to top accounting professionals.

In order to meet the added demands of Sarbanes-Oxley, the Big Four and the smaller accounting firms are scrambling to find and hire talent, which is good news for accountants seeking jobs. It's reported that both the types of jobs available for accountants and the starting salaries are improving. "More of [the accounting graduates] are getting jobs with the better firms than in the past few years," said Edward Ketz, an accounting professor at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. And Robert Half International anticipates starting salaries for auditors to increase from 5 percent to 13.4 percent in 2005.


Bob Jensen's helpers for small businesses and small accounting firms (including expert witness links) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness


Income tax help --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation 


"AICPA Launches New Website '360 Degrees of Financial Literacy'," AccountingWeb, October 26, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=99979 

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the financial health of Americans across all life stages and socio-economic levels, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the CPA profession went live this week with its new consumer website.

The 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website allows visitors to immediately pinpoint the financial information they need because it is organized by common life stages that trigger financial issues: childhood, college, career, military and reserves, couples and marriage, parenthood, home ownership, entrepreneurs, life crisis, sandwich generation and retirement.

The website is the linchpin of a coordinated program, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, sponsored by the AICPA and state societies of CPAs across the nation in which CPAs volunteer their time and talents to educate members of their
community about life-stage related financial issues.

Visitors to the site will be able to access information geared toward empowering them to make better financial choices to meet their present and future needs. Each life stage contains: articles; easy-to-use financial planning and assessment tools, worksheets and calculators; and frequently asked questions. In addition, the site allows visitors to access topics of general financial interest such as strategies for saving and investing, financing a
car, managing credit and getting out of debt.

You may visit the site at www.360financialliteracy.org

 


Audit Committee Oversight Responsibilities Checklist
http://www.fei.org/download/iia_2_13_04.pdf 


A deep interest in numbers and finance and a desire to help the average investor led Eric Tyson, MBA '89, to write a series of "Dummies" books in areas about personal money management.
http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0311/feature_tyson.shtml 


Services Offered by Professional Accounting Firms --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm#ServicesOffered 


"Hire a good accountant or your numbers will crunch you Second in a five-part series: Building your team," by Robyn A. Friedman, Bankrate.com, December 14, 1999 --- http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/biz/Biz_ops/19991214.asp 


Accounting Professional Site Links 
The CPA Team http://www.cpateam.com/  

Legal Professional Site Links --- http://www.chooselaw.com/


Advice From an Expert
www.computerconsulting101.com
Web site for IT consultants in small business. In addition to a frequently asked questions section, users can find inexpensive downloadable reports on topics such as selling and marketing consulting services.


Free Financial Planning for the Poor and Disadvantaged

Advertisement Free Personal Finance Blogs --- http://pfblogs.org/blog/29

"AICPA, Others Sponsor New Project for Financial Independence," SmartPros, September 26, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x42241.xml 

Six of the country's leading financial planning groups have joined forces to sponsor the Project for Financial Independence, the nation's first multi-organizational, pro bono financial planning effort.

The project, which offers free financial guidance to individuals who cannot afford a financial advisor, or who are facing an immediate or unusual financial need, is being launched this month.

The organizations collaborating on the project are the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), Financial Planning Association (FPATM), National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP).

"Together, these organizations represent the core of the financial counseling community," says Nan Mead, director of Communications at NEFE and chair of the Project for Financial Independence task force. "By collaborating, we are able to institute a national network of financial advisors eager to introduce financial planning to individuals who may not have access to it otherwise."

Consumers who may be eligible to receive pro bono assistance under the Project for Financial Independence must meet one of the following criteria:

In order to reach these individuals, the Project for Financial Independence will begin by working directly with three national charitable organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Volunteers of America. As the project grows, more charitable organizations will be invited to participate. Each will identify clients who could benefit from no-cost financial advice and help link them to a local volunteer financial advisor belonging to one of the four membership organizations participating in the project. These include the AICPA, FPA, NAPFA and SFSP.

Although the Project for Financial Independence initially will provide services only through nonprofit organizations, its sponsors eventually plan to work directly with individuals, linking them to volunteer financial advisors by way of  www.consultaplanner.org . Currently, the site is available as a resource for financial advisors who have volunteered their services for the Project for Financial Independence and charitable organizations. Members of the public seeking self-help personal finance information also can benefit from the site.

Financial advisors seeking to offer pro bono services through the Project for Financial Independence must be members in good standing of the AICPA, FPA, NAPFA or SFSP, abide by the codes of ethics and policies of their membership organizations, and sign an agreement that they will volunteer their time and services at no cost to the client. For more information about the Project for Financial Independence, log on to www.consultaplanner.org 


September 4, 2003 message from Richard Torian [rltorian@MSN.COM

Here is a site, http://www.ilrg.com/forms/index.html , maintained by the Internet Legal Resource Guide, at which you can gain access to many legal business forms. An independent contractor agreement form is available under business, and then employment.

Richard Torian --- www.informationforaccountants.com 


Jugglezine:  Not-So-Great-Expectations --- http://www.jugglezine.com/ 
About balancing work and life.


Do you need a good attorney?  Try  http://www.martindale.com/xp/Martindale/home.xml 

When it comes to attorneys...I always refer to www.martindale.com  ...this is the Martindale-Hubbell site and is THE site to search for a given area. Martindale-Hubbell also "rates" the attorneys...which is what I like about it.

W. O. Mills III 
Dallas, Texas 

wom@womills.com 


At Stanford University many years ago, I had a classmate named Randy Johnson.  Randy has had great success with two best-selling mortgage books.  He also maintains a very helpful helper site on mortgages --- http://www.loan-wolf.com/ 


The Investment FAQ

Enter your own question to search for answers about investments and personal finance. Or use the list of categories shown at the right to browse answers to many frequently asked questions.

Exclusive! A book about momentum investing is available only here. Read Five Minute Investing by Braden Glett.

You can buy stock every month with ShareBuilder with no minimum and just $4 in fees. Click here to learn more.

Keep in mind that many people can learn enough about investing to manage their own portfolios without having to pay investment advisors.  As far a no-load mutual funds go, I am moving more of my savings into Vanguaard --- http://flagship.vanguard.com 
I especially like the relatively low service fees and the check writing feature of most of their funds --- you get a checkbook for each fund.


From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on January 24, 2003

TITLE: New SEC Definition May Cloud 'Audit Fees' 
REPORTER: Jonathan Weil and Michael Rapoport 
DATE: Jan 22, 2003 
PAGE: C1 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1043198839807732824,00.html  
TOPICS: Accounting, Assurance Services, Audit Quality, Auditing, Auditing Services, Auditor Independence, Consulting, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Securities and Exchange Commission

SUMMARY: The SEC adopted a rule in November of 2000 that requires companies to disclose audit and non-audit fees paid to auditors. The SEC is re-examining the definition of audit services and may allow fees for audit related services to be included in audit fees. Questions focus on the importance of fee disclosure on auditor independence.

QUESTIONS: 
1.) Why are companies required to disclose audit and non-audit fees paid to auditors?

2.) Why is it important to distinguish between fees paid to auditors for audit services and other fees paid to auditors? Do fees paid to auditors for audit services compromise independence in appearance? Do fees paid to auditors for consulting services compromise independence in appearance? Support your answers.

3.) What are attestation services? Should attestation services be included in audit fees? Support your answer.

4.) Is there a difference in the disclosure of fees paid for tax services and fees paid for consulting services? Does providing consulting services to an audit client and providing tax services to an audit client have the same impact on independence in appearance? Support your answers.

5.) One could argue that any fees paid by the client to the auditor compromises auditor independence. In addition to fee disclosures, how can the profession improve independence in appearance as it relates to payment for services rendered by the auditor?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island 
Reviewed By: Benson Wier, Virginia Commonwealth University 
Reviewed By: Kimberly Dunn, Florida Atlantic University


From the SEC:  All About Auditors --- http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/aboutauditors.htm 
What investors need to know!

SEC Warnings to Investors --- http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs.shtml

Checking Out Brokers and Advisors --- http://www.sec.gov/investor/brokers.htm 
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm 

SEC's Interactive Tools for Investors --- http://www.sec.gov/investor/tools.shtml
Here are several interactive tools to help you with your investment decisions:

Mutual Fund Cost Calculator


Tax-Free vs. Taxable Yield Comparison Calculator
Social Security Retirement Planner
Margin Calculator

Ballpark Estimate Retirement Calculator


Investor Quiz: Getting Started with Mutual Fund Connection
Investor Quiz: Test Your Money Smart

"How to Choose and Use a CPA," Iowa State Society of CPAs --- http://www.iacpa.org/public/whycpa.asp 

Starting a small business? Upgrading your computer systems? Developing an estate plan or trying to reduce next year's taxes? A certified public accountant (CPA) can help. But, according to the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, how much a CPA can help depends on your ability to find the right one and clearly communicate your own goals and objectives.

Business owners and managers of various for-profit and not-for-profit organizations turn to CPAs for a wide range of services - from traditional auditing to advice on developing effective accounting systems, maximizing operations and resolving management problems. In addition, individuals increasingly rely on CPAs not only for preparing taxes, but also for personal financial planning, such as building college funds, planning for retirement, and creating estate plans. Whatever your reason for needing a CPA's services, here are a few suggestions for finding one.

REFERRALS
Referrals from friends, neighbors, and co-workers are one of the best ways of locating a CPA. Business people in your field as well as lawyers or bankers can be especially helpful. You also can seek out leads at meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, local small business associations, or the professional associations to which you belong. In addition, you can use electronic referral services offered through various accounting Web sites, such as CPA2Biz.com.

In searching for a CPA, be sure to look for someone who works with businesses your size or with financial issues similar to your own.

INTERVIEWING TIPS
When meeting with a CPA, be prepared to clearly explain why you need a CPA's assistance and the results you expect. Then ask about his or her qualifications, profiles of typical clients, and availability.

Also find out exactly who will be handling your work. Is it the CPA you are meeting with or someone else in the firm? If others in the firm will be involved, take time to meet these individuals and learn about their professional credentials and experience.

DETERMINING YOUR COMPATIBILITY
Like finding the right mate, finding the right CPA requires that you determine the compatibility of your personalities. For example, if you are looking for financial planning assistance and have typically been very conservative and risk adverse, will the CPA help you develop a more balanced investment strategy? What about the frequency with which you want to meet or speak with your CPA? If you are the type of individual who will want to call your CPA once or twice a week, find out whether he or she can provide that kind of access.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask about fees. The rates of CPAs vary widely from $100 per hour to several hundred dollars. The services you need, the complexity of your financial situation, the experience of the CPA, and the area of the country you live in will all impact the CPA's fees. If you plan to work with a firm that employs CPAs at various levels, find out how much you will have to pay for staff accountants, managers, and partners. You can then compare this to other firms in the area.

If you have specific deadlines for work to be completed by your CPA, make sure the CPA can meet them. However, keep in mind that to get the most value from a CPA, you should be prepared to enter into a relationship that will grow over time and adjust to your changing financial needs.


Hi Steve,

I added your email message below to my professionalism document at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm 
This will allow readers to find your link and go directly to your articles on the following topics (to date):

What makes a client change adviser?

11 Common faults with accounting firms web sites

4 basic rules for growing your CPA firm

The Bottom Line:

Thanks so much for sharing these with us!

Bob Jensen

Dear Bob

I noticed That you used one of my published articles on Trinity University's web site last fall, and thought I'd drop you a quick not to see if you would want to look at any of my other articles for inclusion in any projects in the future.

It is good to know you are moving to new Hampshire - a beautiful part of the world. I often go through there on my way to visit old friends in Kennebunk, Maine (at least twice a year).

Good luck with the move.

To find a directory of all my published articles, please visit:

http://www.marketingforaccountants.com/articles.htm 

and help yourself to any you might find useful for publication in any way you see fit - subject to the usual attribution credits, with web site link.

My regular email address is: steve@marketingforaccountants.com  (but I'm away from my office today so thought I'd write straight away after discovering your email address).

Sincerely

Steve McIntyre-Smith

Bob Jensen's accountancy bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm 


Message from FERF on February 24, 2004

Auditor Fees

An FEI member recently asked research as to whether a database exists of how much audit firms charge in audit fees relative to size of clients and billable rates per hour.

FERF researchers found information broken down by company size in the recent FEI Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 survey results issued earlier in February http://www.fei.org/news/404_survey.cfm. Although billable rates are not given, an excel table details incremental audit fees for the Section 404 attestation and the % increase this fee represents of their current audit fee. Various groupings of responses are given by size of company based on revenue.

In April 2003, FEI's Committee on Corporate Reporting (CCR) surveyed its members on 2002 audit fees. Twenty-five companies with total US assets of between $0.4 billion and $1,097 billion responded. Findings and an excel table are available under Finance Tools at http://www.fei.org/financetools/audit_fee.cfm

Aspen Publishing recently released the 5th edition of "Professionals Guide to Value Pricing." The book discusse related value pricing vs. audit firm hourly rates. A description of the book can be found at: http://www.aspenpublishers.com/Product.asp?catalog%5Fname=Aspen&category%5Fname=&product%5Fid=0735543178&Mode=SEARCH&ProductType=M.


Sites About Compensation

Compensation Case Studies and Reviews www.compensationresources.com 

Who Got What? www.ecomponline.com 

CPAs can find executive compensation summaries in the latest SEC filings from corporate America. Reports include base salary and bonuses, other compensation including restricted stock, and the value of any exercised options.

Compensation for Employee Owners www.fed.org 


Sites About Employee Benefits

And Compliance for All www.benefitslink.com 

The Source for HR Information http://humanresources.about.com/cs/benefits/ 

Be Their Guest www.benefitsnext.com 

Bob Jensen's threads on management are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


Site for buying or selling an accountng/ financial practice --- http://www.practice-exchange.com/ 


Small to mid-sized CPA firms may not have elaborate risk management systems, but Camico manager John Raspante suggests they can still heed some clear warning signs. http://www.accountingweb.com/item/82588 


From the Journal of Accountancy in July 2002 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2002/index.htm 

Risk Management/Internal Audit
BEYOND TRADITIONAL AUDIT TECHNIQUES
Paul E. Lindow and Jill D. Race
Instead of just reviewing required controls, internal auditors can broaden their approach both within and outside the audit process to identify areas for risk management improvements. Here’s a case study on how the internal audit group at California Federal Bank redefined its role to add more value and become key advisers to the company.

Risk Management/Litigation Services
FIVE TIPS TO STEER CLEAR OF THE COURTHOUSE
Paul Sweeney
As litigation costs continue to mount, businesses want to develop efficient strategies to identify and monitor vulnerabilities and avoid lawsuits. CPAs have the expertise to offer clients solutions to several corporate risk management problems.

Practice Management/Marketing
MEET THE PRESS
Stephen Goldfarb and Linda Dunbar
Acquiring a more visible and authoritative public image can help a CPA firm generate new business. CPAs who prepare and send informative news releases—or even invite a reporter to lunch—are taking important steps to establish their name in the marketplace, the authors say.

Work/Life Issues
GET THE RIGHT BALANCE
Susan W. Miller and Thomas A. Doucet
Few CPAs would deny that mission statements, strategic plans and goal setting are necessary to drive a business to success. But applying those concepts to our personal lives and using a mix of commonsense time-management strategies can help put us on the road to achieving more balance between work and home.

Practice Management/Consulting
OFFER FAMILY-BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
Robert B. Scott Jr.
Entangled business and family agendas can breed dynamics that damage a privately held company, its advisers and the owner relatives. Practitioners should be aware of 10 important management issues that sometimes impede such entities and require CPA

 


Small Business Resource Guide

"The Small Business Resource Guide, CD-ROM 2002 provides critical tax information to small businesses including forms, instructions, and publications. The CD also provides valuable business information from a variety of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. The CD contains essential startup information needed by new small businesses in order to be successful. The design of the CD makes finding information easy and quick and incorporates file formats and browsers which can be run on virtually any desktop or laptop computer"

You can order up to five free copies of this product at:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/display/0,,i1%3D2%26i2%3D23%26genericId%3D7128,00.html

Other government prepared CD-Rom products are shown on:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/display/0,,i1=2&i2=23&genericId=20005,00.html

Bob Jensen's helpers for small businesses are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
many turn to financial counselors, who can advise small-business owners how best to reconcile careers, family, and security http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/nov2002/sb20021114_6644.htm?c=bwfrontiernov19&n=link5&t=email 


Eldercare
Helping a client who is caring for another opens up many opportunities not only for deepening your relationship with the caregiver but also for connecting with members of the extended family and friends. http://www.accountingweb.com/item/96989 


An E-ssential Site --- http://www.el.com/ 
CPAs, financial analysts, small business owners, and tax professionals not only can find links to many Web sites in their fields here, but also can use Essential Link’s home page to access online calculators, clocks, e-mail services, encyclopedias and dictionaries. Users can find links to online news, newspaper and television network Web sites in the Headlines area, as well as links to Internet search engines..


"Is the Audit a Commodity? How to Differentiate From Your Competitors," by: Ronald J. Baker, SmartPros, January 24, 2000 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x8794.xml 

Businesspeople live the ultimate contradiction: They spend their nights praying for monopoly prices and spend their days driving down those same prices by supplying the market with more services. This contradiction cannot be solved, but it can be ameliorated. The audit is a good example of a service that should command a higher price than it is receiving in the market. It is emphatically not a commodity, and you should not allow it to become one...Unless, of course, you yourself are a commodity.

The first part of the article is at  http://accounting.smartpros.com/x8794.xml  


The Efficient Auditor Newsletter is the most unique publication in the world of auditing. First, it's loaded with practical tips and ideas to improve your engagements. In addition, you'll find yourself smiling and even laughing as you read each issue. That's right-The Efficient Auditor is an auditing publication that you'll truly enjoy reading! http://www.accountingweb.com/members/auditwatch/resources.html 


When small CPA firms were asked what their number one problem was in building their practice, the number one answer was "finding new clients". CAM offers our CPA partners new clients and potentially the most effective marketing program available. We pay our partners to perform on-site training and consulting for new CAM sales, and CAM will even introduce the "primary" regional partners to our existing client base. Get your FREE Information Kit by calling Pam Cardinale toll-free at 888-427-2260 ext. 105; or visit our Web site: http://www.accountingweb.com/sponsor/cam_rd_011502.html 


For CPA firms that audit nonpublic entities such as private companies, government units or not-for-profit organizations, understanding what leads to costly audit malpractice claims can help in managing and minimizing the risk of performing these audits
"A Perspective on Audit Malpractice Claims, by Sherry Anderson and Joseph Wolfe, Journal of Accountancy, September 2002 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/sep2002/anderson.htm 

 


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
CPAs CAN USE DATA ON AUDIT MALPRACTICE claims filed with CNA, which underwrites 22,000 CPA firms in the AICPA professional liability insurance program, to help them avoid high-cost claims when they audit nonpublic entities such as private companies, governments or NPOs.

MOST NONPUBLIC AUDIT CLAIMS ARISE FROM technical standards violations, failure to detect defalcations and failure to include appropriate disclosures on the face of the financial statements or in the footnotes. For example, of the 63% of nonpublic audit claims that arose from technical standards violations, almost half involved improper inventory valuation and more than one-third involved accounts-receivable errors.

MANY CLAIMS INVOLVED CPA FIRMS WITH NO PRIOR audit experience in the client’s industry. The financial services industry is particularly hazardous for auditors lacking relevant experience—57% of audit claims involved banks and lending institutions, 34% involved insurance company audits and 9% concerned audits of securities dealers.

A CLIENT’S BANKRUPTCY AND LIQUIDATION are significant factors in audit claims. Three things can increase damage exposure: Shareholders and lenders will seek to recover their losses, the decisions of bankruptcy court judges can adversely affect the pursuit of claims against auditors and bankruptcies often increase the duration and cost of malpractice litigation.

CPA FIRMS CAN MANAGE RISK IN PERFORMING AUDITS by applying client acceptance and continuance procedures, maintaining training, supervision and professional skepticism, complying with technical and ethical standards and declining engagements they are not qualified to perform.

SHERRY ANDERSON, CPCU, is vice-president and chief operations officer, global specialty lines claims for CNA in Chicago. Her e-mail address is Sherry.Anderson@cna.com. JOSEPH WOLFE is director of risk management, accountants professional liability group at CNA in Chicago. His e-mail address is Joseph.wolfe@cna.com.

This article should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any factual situation. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstance of each case, the general information provided herein is not intended to substitute for the advice of professional counsel.


"Who you gonna call? How to choose and use a CPA," The Charlette Post --- http://www.thepost.mindspring.com/08_23_business2.html 

Starting a small business? Upgrading your computer systems? Developing an estate plan or trying to reduce next year's taxes? A certified public accountant can help. But, according to the N.C. Association of CPAs, how much a CPA can help depends on your ability to find the right one and clearly communicate your own goals and objectives.

Business owners and managers of various for-profit and not-for-profit organizations turn to CPAs for a wide range of services ‹ from traditional auditing to advice on developing effective accounting systems, maximizing operations and resolving management problems. In addition, individuals increasingly rely on CPAs not only for preparing taxes, but also for personal financial planning, such as building college funds, planning for retirement, and creating estate plans. Whatever your reason for needing a CPA's services, here are a few suggestions for finding one.

Referrals

Referrals from friends, neighbors, and co-workers are one of the best ways of locating a CPA. Business people in your field as well as lawyers or bankers can be especially helpful. You also can seek out leads at meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, local small business associations, or the professional associations to which you belong. In addition, you can use electronic referral services offered through various accounting Web sites, such as CPA2Biz.com.

In searching for a CPA, be sure to look for someone who works with businesses your size or with financial issues similar to your own.

Interviewing tips

When meeting with a CPA, be prepared to clearly explain why you need a CPA's assistance and the results you expect. Then ask about his or her qualifications, profiles of typical clients, and availability.

Also find out exactly who will be handling your work. Is it the CPA you are meeting with or someone else in the firm? If others in the firm will be involved, take time to meet these individuals and learn about their professional credentials and experience.

Determining compatibility

Like finding the right mate, finding the right CPA requires that you determine the compatibility of your personalities. For example, if you are looking for financial planning assistance and have typically been very conservative and risk adverse, will the CPA help you develop a more balanced investment strategy? What about the frequency with which you want to meet or speak with your CPA? If you are the type of individual who will want to call your CPA once or twice a week, find out whether he or she can provide that kind of access.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask about fees. The rates of CPAs vary widely from $100 per hour to several hundred dollars. The services you need, the complexity of your financial situation, the experience of the CPA, and the area of the country you live in will all impact the fees. If you plan to work with a firm that employs CPAs at various levels, find out how much you will have to pay for staff accountants, managers, and partners. You can then compare this to other firms in the area.

If you have specific deadlines for work to be completed by your CPA, make sure the CPA can meet them. However, keep in mind that to get the most value from a CPA, you should be prepared to enter into a relationship that will grow over time and adjust to your changing needs. N.C. Association of Certified Public Accountants


October 14, 2002 message from Dee (Dawn) Davidson [dgd@MARSHALL.USC.EDU

Since Enron and other corporate accounting scandals, ethics programs and hotlines are fast becoming an unoffical requirement for businesses. Confidential hotlines, in particular, are gaining popularity to protect an employee from being labeled a "whistleblower."

"Recent events in the business world demonstrate the need for more ethical guidance for financial professionals," said President Butler. "When financial professionals call the toll-free hotline, their inquiries will be forwarded to an experienced ethics counselor, who provides confidential guidance. This hotline is particularly well-suited for small businesses and solo practitioners who need guidance on ethical issues."

Financial professionals can call the hotline toll-free at 1-800-638-4427 x1662, or send their inquiry via e-mail to ethics@imanet.org. The IMA does not record phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Those who contact the hotline can be provided with a numerical code for identification, to maintain confidentiality.

http://www.smartpros.com/x35571.xml 

dee davidson 
Accounting Systems Specialist 
Marshall School of Business L
eventhal School of Accounting 
University of Southern California 213.740.5018
dee.davidson@marshall.usc.edu 


businessweek investor HELP! How to pick a financial adviser http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_47/b3809016.htm?c=bwinsidernov15&n=link2&t=email 


Finding the Right Financial Adviser For You --- http://www.mypfc.net/expert/ExpertPages/ExpertDefinitions.htm 
((I think this link is now broken --- Sigh!)

Often it makes sense to hire an expert whose job it is to know the details of his or her financial field.  If you find a qualified financial adviser, any fees or commissions can pay for themselves many times over if the adviser’s recommendations are wise.  Good counsel not only can make you money, it can also prevent you from losing money.  A will written by a good lawyer or insurance plan assembled by a top-rate insurance agent can protect you from estate taxes and financial turmoil if you die much sooner than you expect.  A knowledgeable accountant can save you thousands of dollars in taxes by helping you conduct your financial affairs in a way that minimizes the government’s tax bite.

“Who can I trust to give me good financial advice?” is one of the most asked questions from people.  It is an excellent question because, clearly, plenty of sharks will take your money if you are not wary.  However, the fear of being cheated can paralyze people that they trust no one – and therefore never take advantage of the many trustworthy financial experts.

The discussion that follows will help you understand what different advisers do.  It’s impossible to guarantee that an adviser you’ve selected, even when you use the guidelines provided here, will not cheat you or give bad advice.  But if you follow the advice in this article, the chances of turning your finances over to an incompetent adviser will be greatly reduced.

Also, we encourage you to review the following information found on the SEC's website ( U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) to learn how to protect your money by checking out Brokers and Advisers.

Protect Your Money:  Check Out Brokers and Advisers

(I think the links in the table below are now broken)

Type of Financial Planning Professionals

CPA

CFP

CFA

PFS

ChFC

Enrolled Agent

Tax Attorney

Stockbroker / Registered Representative

Registered Investment Advisor

Bankers

CLU

Insurance Agent

Money Managers

Discount Brokers

Online Brokers

Continued at - http://www.mypfc.net/expert/ExpertPages/ExpertDefinitions.htm  


Marketing of Accounting and Professional Services

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) web site http://www.accountingmarketing.org/index.asp 


Investment Helper Site from the National Association of Securities Dealers --- http://www.nasdr.com/ 

Teach Your Children to Invest --- http://www.aaii.com/promo/20011119/feature2.shtml 


Warnings from Bob Jensen:  

Beware of financial advisors who try to make their profits on things that they try to sell you such as insurance or investments.  Also beware of kickbacks that they might be getting for referral services.  For openers, ask them outright and directly to reveal what they get for selling products, services, or kickbacks from referrals.  Better yet, ask for it in writing.  Beware of any advisor who seems to be working too cheap or who applies selling pressures that make you uncomfortable.  Don't fall into the trap of believing the advisor is working cheap for you because he or she is has a church, work, neighborhood, or social connection.  There may be more dubious reasons for working cheap, including the reasons of being incompetent or inexperienced on the job.

Be sure you fully understand the qualifications of your financial advisor.  Usually professional credentials are preferred, but credentials alone are not enough.  Always compare various advisors before making a final choice.  This is especially the case if the advisor happens to be somebody that you met in church, at work, at a party, in a bar, or at a family reunion.

Always be wary of advisors who do not seem very busy.  The best professionals are always overworked.


"A Parent's Guide to Insurance for College Students," by: Financial Planning Association --- http://www.smartpros.com/x31657.xml 

The Financial Planning Association homepage is at http://www.fpanet.org/ 


The National Network of Accountants homepage is at http://www.nnaplan.com/ 

Founded in 1992 as a practice-building resource for accounting professionals, the National Network of Accountants, Specializing in Financial Planning (NNA) has successfully trained between 200 and 300 accounting firms annually in the science of financial planning, and has supported them in the integration of this AICPA - sanctioned specialty into their practices.

In sanctioning financial planning as the first -- and only -- practice specialty, the Institute recognized two important factors affecting today's accounting practitioner: the market for accounting services is shrinking and becoming more competitive; and a growing number of clients are looking for one-stop financial planning services from their accountants.

The NNA program is quite unique. They utilize a 3-pronged approach that generates a number of welcome benefits to the accounting practitioner in today's environment:

INCREASED REVENUE FROM THE CLIENT BASE STEADY FLOW OF REFERRALS TO NEW CLIENTS WIDER RANGE OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS SOLIDIFICATION OF EXISTING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS EXPANSION OF PRACTICE INTO UNTAPPED MARKETS ACCESS TO A MORE DIVERSE PROFESSIONAL NETWORK

The training program prepares the practitioner to interface with his clients effectively in the financial planning arena by teaching him how to gather the necessary information to construct a plan; how to establish a client's goals, objectives and attitudes toward planning issues; how to present a finished plan to a client; and how to market his practice through the financial planning process. An overview of selected creative planning techniques is also presented regularly to members , to give the members a flavor for the opportunities this new practice specialty will offer both his clients and himself.

The NNA generates written comprehensive plans for the accountants, and provides a complete back-office support system, including unlimited access to a cadre of professional resources with expertise in a broad range of technical specialties (such as qualified plans, estate planning and asset allocation).

Therefore, the accountant does not have to invest in software, training of support personnel, or plan development time. The NNA handles all software updates and compliance issues. Working with each accountant, a designated NNA professional designs a financial plan that is consistent not only with the client's goals and objectives, but also with the style and approach of the accountant. This is a vital component. It permits the accountant to generate a high quality written plan for his client - at minimal cost. The NNA guarantees a 15-day turnaround after receipt of the completed client confidential data.

A crucial element of the NNA program is their marketing system. Many opportunities for a new client development and practice growth are found in the financial planning process - but they are not readily apparent. Through an insightful 8-Step Marketing Program, as well as appropriate collateral material and support, the accountant is trained to effectively market both their financial planning service and their tax and accounting practice.

Interested practitioners should call 1-800-234 PLAN Ext. 268,or E-Mail us at nna92@aol.com  for more information.


"ABCs of hiring a financial adviser The challenge lies in finding someone to further your dreams," by Susan Dziubinski, The Detroit News --- http://www.theinvestor.com/investdirect/hiringadviser.htm 

The first part of the article is not quoted here.

Where to go


   * For a list of advisers in your area:

     American Institute of CPAs, Personal Financial Planning Div. 888-999-9256 
    American Society of CLU & ChFC 800-392-6900 www.agents-online.com
    Institute of Certified Financial Planners 800-282-7526 www.icfp.org
    International Association for Financial Planning 888-806-7526 www.iafp.org
    National Association for Personal Financial Advisers 888-333-6659 www.napfa.org


   * For more about professional designations:


    American Institute of CPAs, Personal Financial Planning Div.888-999-9256 www.cpapfs.org
    Association for Investment Management and Research (CFA) 800-247-8132 www.aimr.org
    CFP Board of Standards 888-237-6275 www.cfp-board.org


   * To check the disciplinary history of an adviser:


    CFP Board of Standards 888-237-6275 www.cfp-board.org
    National Association of Insurance Commissioners816-842-3600 www.naic.org
    National Association of Securities Dealers Regulation 800-289-9999 www.nasdr.com
    North American Securities Administrators Association 888-846-2722 www.nasaa.org
    Securities and Exchange Commission 800-732-0330 www.sec.gov 


"Taking Your Firm's Pulse," by Don Holland and Paula Turner --- http://www.hsvcpa.com/pulse.htm 


Web Site Development Tools for Small Business While a custom e-commerce solution will always make you happier, it takes time and resources to create. What should a small business owner do when he or she is in short supply of both? http://www.newmedia.com/default.asp?articleID=3568 

Shopping Cart Options for Small Business This column's topic is on the exciting, hurly-burly world of shopping cart software. http://www.newmedia.com/default.asp?articleID=3556 

Middleware: The Next Great Frontier When it comes to thinking about what may be the most important class of technology for the next 10 years, none other than middleware (and the advances being made in it) immediately comes to mind. http://www.newmedia.com/default.asp?articleID=3566 

Bob Jensen's small business bookmarks

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 

 


"How to Set Alternative Fees," by Keith J. Libman, Leadership and Management Directors Newsletter, Fall 1996, published by the ABA Section of Law Practice Management, Law Practice Division 000 --- http://www.abanet.org/lpm2/newsletters/leader/F96Libmn.html 


Here are five collection etiquette tips that will enable you to get paid faster, prevent bad debts, and maintain goodwill. http://www.accountingweb.com/item/61248 


"Accountants Providing Eldercare Services," by John Fuller, The Electronic Accountant, February 21, 1999 --- http://www.electronicaccountant.com/html/features/elder.htm 

Although the above article is a little dated, I thought it might be of interest to some of you into newer types of assurance services by CPAs.  The article does discuss fee ranges for various types of services.


"LIFE IN A FISHBOWL:  Audit committees in the US have been under intense scrutiny - and seem to be the better for it, by Stephen Barr, CIO Asia, September 2001 --- http://www.cfoasia.com/archives/200109-30.htm 

The audit committee of Brunswick, the US bowling pin manufacturer, took a very close look at one particular item during their meeting last May - the nonaudit fees paid last year to Arthur Andersen, the company's external auditor. The US$3.3 million Andersen received for tax advice, acquisition due diligence and help with new accounting pronouncements, the committee was told, was 2.2 times more than the US$1.5 million it cost the multinational for basic audit services. But that ratio was about half the average among all of Andersen's clients.

Moreover, the group of five directors, which includes a current and a retired CFO, was assured that these nonaudit fees had in no way impaired the objectivity of the Andersen auditors when they reviewed the books of the US$3.8 billion-a-year company.

To test that assertion, committee members pressed the finance executives at the meeting about their selection process for these nonaudit assignments. "We probed the staff on whether there was any quid pro quo," says Robert Ryan, CFO of US-based Medtronic, who joined Brunswick's audit committee in 1998. "We wanted them to take us through the work that was done, and explain why Andersen was the best firm for the job," he says.

Ryan was satisfied by what he heard, since the answers were much the same as he would have given under such questioning. As for Brunswick's CFO, Vicki Reich, she welcomed the scrutiny. "There is heightened sensitivity among all parties that we don't want to do anything to compromise auditor independence," she says.

And for good reason. Since February 5, US businesses have been required to disclose what they pay their accountants for information technology (IT) and certain other consulting services. And audit committees have, in turn, been called on to determine whether these nonaudit fees can make auditors' backbones go soft.

Evaluating auditor independence, however, is only the most high profile of a series of new initiatives designed to give audit committees more teeth. The impetus came from former US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt, who charged - as part of his broad-based assault on earnings management - that audit committees didn't meet enough, conducted only perfunctory reviews of financial statements, and were stacked with members who were either unqualified or too close to management. In response, a blue-ribbon panel of market regulators, accounting officials and corporate executives sought to rectify those deficiencies with new oversight requirements.

As of June, companies were expected to have addressed the last of the panel's ten proposals: that all committee members be financially literate and that at least one qualifies as a financial expert. Former SEC general counsel Harvey Goldschmid asserts that the new rules, which were originally approved in December 1999, "are achieving their purpose of having far more active audit committees."

By all available measures, Goldschmid is right. Two years ago, CFO in the US, CFO Asia's sister magazine, reviewed 150 random corporate proxies filed in 1998 to gauge the state of audit committees. It found that Levitt's critique was largely on target. This spring, we looked at a subset of that original group - only 80 filed proxies in 2001, while 42 others had either been acquired or gone out of business - and found evidence of improvement.

For instance, audit committees today meet an average of 4.6 times annually, up from 3.5 times in 1998; the blue-ribbon panel said a minimum of four meetings a year were needed to provide adequate oversight. The change was even more dramatic with regard to having only independent directors serve on the committee. In 1998, 28 percent of the companies in our survey had at least one committee member with business or personal ties that might compromise objectivity; the tally in 2001 was just 13 percent.

Improvement - albeit slight - was also found in the composition of audit committees. While they remain heavily weighted to CEOs, the percentage of companies with CFOs or other finance and accounting professionals on their committees grew from 24 in 1998 to 27 this year. Yet indications are that the numbers won't go much higher, because the new definitions of financial literacy - which are set by the stock exchanges - are overly broad, allowing any executive with financial experience to fit the bill.

Predictions cannot be made, however, about how the ratio of nonaudit fees to audit fees paid will change, since those amounts have not been previously disclosed. Levitt fretted that auditors' judgment was clouded by their firms' efforts to sell various other services, particularly related to IT. In the CFO survey, every company engaged its external auditor for some nonaudit services, such as tax advice or acquisition due-diligence support, and overall the ratio of those fees to the audit fees was 2.3 to 1. Far fewer companies hired their auditors for help on IT projects - 28 percent - but with those fees included, the ratio jumped to 5.8 to 1.

Overall, the jury is still out on whether audit committees are more effective. "There's a greater sense of responsibility and more vigilance on the part of audit committees," says former Secretary of Commerce Barbara Hackman Franklin, who serves on six audit panels and heads those at Dow Chemical, the US chemical company, and Aetna, the insurance group. "But the big question is whether these new rules will cure the management-of-earnings problem that Levitt had in his sight," she says.

Board Composition

Historically, the audit committee has been the place to stow new directors. Frequently lacking any background in finance and accounting, these directors were rarely in a position to challenge management or external auditors. No more. According to Julie Daum, managing director for board services at executive recruiter Spencer Stuart, companies are being "very careful about choosing who serves on that committee."

That choosiness has translated into an effort to ensure financial savvy among members. High-profile CFOs are receiving more offers to sit on boards than they can accept, and invariably are being recruited for the audit committee. Marie Knowles, the retired CFO of Atlantic Richfield, chairs the audit committees of three corporate boards. Robert Wayman, CFO of Hewlett-Packard, serves on the audit committee of software company Sybase and co-chairs the audit committee of Portal Software in the US. Similarly, Medtronic's Ryan was recently shifted to the audit group at UnitedHealth, and wasn't given a choice when he joined Brunswick. "I was told I was on the audit committee from day one," he says.

At the same time, there's an effort to include fewer individuals with ties to management. What connotes independence, however, can vary widely. The stock exchanges, which again set the rules, give companies leeway to have nonindependent directors on the audit committee if they believe there's no one better for the job.

But shareholder groups argue for stricter standards. "We're no longer seeing anything as egregious as having the [sitting] CFO on the audit committee," says Jamie Heard, CEO of Proxy Monitor, a shareholder advisory firm based in New York. "But some of the affiliated outsiders who may pass muster under exchange rules don't live up to our definition of independent," because of business ties. Proxy Monitor has recommended shareholder votes against 260 nonindependent directors who sit on audit committees during the current proxy season.

In all, the recent CFO survey showed that 13 percent of the companies had audit committee members with personal or business relationships to management, compared with 28 percent in 1998. In the past three years, medical equipment supplier Lincare Holdings CFO Paul Gabos stepped down from the company's audit group, as did several former CFOs, including Vincent Marafino of Lockheed Martin.

In contrast, Apple Computer had to weigh losing veteran Jerome York, the former CFO of Chrysler and IBM, after he became CEO of MicroWarehouse, an Apple reseller. "The Board," states Apple's proxy, "determined that it is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders that he continue to serve as a member of the audit committee."

Meeting More

Improving the ties between the audit committee and the auditors is a central theme of many of the recently enacted rules. Among them is the call for the outside auditors to be accountable to the audit committee instead of management, with the directors held responsible for hiring and firing. The audit firm is now expected to have more-frequent and detailed discussions with the committee, especially around the quarterly earnings. "The biggest change for me has been the quarterly review process," says Franklin. "Before, the auditors were in the loop (with management), but the audit committee was not," she says.

Continued at  http://www.cfoasia.com/archives/200109-30.htm 


"A Basis for Comparison: The National Results of the 1999 Management of an Accounting Practice Survey," by Raymond A. Zimmermann, Mary Ann Murray, and Daniel Flaherty, The CPA Journal, March 2001 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2001/0300/dept/d037001.htm 

The annual Management of an Accounting Practice Survey sponsored by the Texas Society of CPAs examines the management policies and performance of accounting practices. The survey, which is limited to non-national firms, examines firm size, sources of income, employee benefits, overhead expenses, salary expenses, and administrative procedures. In addition, the survey reports the extent to which respondents address international issues for their clients.

The report also categorizes responses by income; size of city; number of owners; and top 25% most profitable firms versus the total respondents. This article addresses the responses concerning income level and the number of owners. Readers interested in the full report should contact Dianne Jones, Texas Society staff liaison for the MAP Survey Committee, at (972) 687-8519.

A copy of the results can be purchased online at www.tscpa.org/peerreview/mbrsection/maps/default.html  .

Survey Participants

Participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous. Each of the 1,484 participating firms fell into one of six groups, determined by firm size (sole practitioner or multiowner) and net fees generated. Performance measures were based on financial characteristics, sources of fees, marketing activities, and administrative policies. Salary and fringe benefits such as insurance, retirement programs, overtime compensation, and sick leave also were examined for each group.

Firms can use the following sample of the survey’s results to determine how they measure up. (The averages are weighted according to the response rate for each category, and numbers in parentheses are the 1998 results.)

Financial Characteristics

Income. Accounting practices prospered during the past year. Respondents to the survey reported a weighted average annual net income per owner of $121,700 ($114,200). An examination of sole practitioners reflects a weighted average of $98,500 ($93,800). This represents an increase of approximately 5.01% over the previous year (7.07% increase from 1997 to 1998). Multiowner firms reported a weighted average of $146,800 ($138,100). This represents an increase of approximately 6.3 % for multiowner firms (8.4%). Figure 1 reflects the averages across the past three years based on firm size and category.

As seen from the survey results, practicing as a sole practitioner reduces earning capacity. Sole practitioners wanting to increase individual earnings should expand their practice and generate more revenue by offering additional services, after a careful evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of operating a larger firm.

Billing. Although respondent CPAs generally earned a good income, it is apparent from the survey that their salaries did not come easily. One-person firms reported the total number of hours worked as 6,501 (6,221) per firm, with billed hours of 3,926 (3,641), representing a billing rate of approximately 60.4% (58.5%). Meanwhile, multiowner firms reported a weighted average of 38,251 (34,976) total hours worked with 22,294 (20,438) actually charged, resulting in a billing rate of approximately 58.3% (58.4%). The net fees realized per charged hour range from $50 to $94, with an average of $64.40 per hour for single owner firms and $72.60 per hour for multiowner firms.

Compensation. In 1999, the average starting salary for new professionals was $25,800 ($23,200). Sole practitioners with net fees of less than $100,000 paid the low of $20,900 ($16,400), while multiowner firms with net fees in excess of $1 million paid the high of $29,500 ($28,300). Overall, sole practitioners paid a weighted average of $23,900 ($21,500), while multiowner firms paid $27,900 ($25,300). Annual compensation for salaried professionals with more experience varied greatly, but, in general, accountants at all levels experienced a pay increase in 1999 (See Exhibit 1).

Professional personnel received overtime pay from 42.8% (42.8%) of the firms. Of these, 18.4% (22.4%) of the firms paid premium rates (i.e., time and one-half). The majority of the firms, 52.3% (52.1%), offered compensatory time off in lieu of overtime, and approximately 31% (31.2%) offered employees a choice between compensatory time and paid overtime. A number of firms also compensated their employees through incentive bonuses [41.6% (41.4%)] and profits [13.4% (15.1%)].

Sources of Fees

Audit services. An examination of Exhibit 2 shows that audit fees, as a percentage of fees collected, increase directly with firm size. In the aggregate (weighted average across all firms), audit fees represent approximately 11.4% (11.7%) of all fees collected, but audit fees constitute 17.0% (17.1%) of the fees generated for multiowner firms and only 6.2% (7.1%) for sole practitioners.

Tax services. According to the survey, tax services are still the bread–and- butter fees for most firms. Overall, tax services or tax engagements account for approximately 47.5% (46.4%) of fees collected (see Exhibit 2). Contrary to the trend in audit fees, the percentage of firm income generated by tax services is inversely related to the size of the firm. Sole practitioners should be encouraged by IRS findings that indicate more taxpayers are using paid preparers each year.

Other professional services. Review services, which represent a small percentage of revenues, constitute approximately 3.3% (4.2%) of the fees generated. In general, management advisory services appear to be nearly uniform across all firm sizes, generating approximately 6.6% (7.1%) of all fees. The exception is that multiowner firms with revenues greater than $1 million more typically provide this service, which is not surprising because their larger client base would support demand for such unique services. Additionally, multiowner firms are better equipped to hire the expertise necessary to handle such clients.

Write-up services. Write-up services are responsible for approximately 15.4% (15.4%) of all fees generated. The fees generated by this service are not as dependent on firm size as are audit or tax services; however, trends do exist: Sole practitioners tend to generate a larger percentage of their income from write-up services than multiowner firms [16.5% (17.5%) versus 13.1% (12.3%), respectively] and the largest multiowner firms reported a substantially lower percentage of fees from write-up services [10.6% (9.7%)].

Other services. While important in fulfilling the needs of the client, other services constitute only a small percentage of the revenues produced. Tax, audit, and write-up services combined provide nearly 75% of all fees generated. Services that fall in the “other” category include litigation support, computer hardware sales, software selection, business valuations, mergers and acquisitions, payroll processing, securities sales and advice, economic feasibility studies, and executive searches.

International Activities

As the economy becomes more global, it is no surprise that firms are engaging in international activities with their clients—most commonly, by providing tax services. As firms grow in size, so too does the likelihood they will have to render more international advice. Of all respondents, 20.4% (22.3%) have clients that own material interests in an active business in a foreign country, over half have clients that buy and sell goods or services outside of the United States, and approximately one-third have clients that possess passive investments in foreign countries. The survey suggests that even small firms should expect to encounter foreign issues in their everyday practice. Maintaining the expertise for these clients can be difficult and time-consuming. Approximately 12% of firms charge premium fees for these services, with about 34% assessing a 110% premium rate, 44% assessing a 110–120% premium rate, and 8.7% assessing a 130% premium rate.

Continued at http://www.cfoasia.com/archives/200109-30.htm 


Pricing Consulting Services: An MBA’s View --- http://www.ranshawconsulting.com/pricingsvcs.htm 

The interesting first part of this article has not been quoted here.

Conclusion

So, what to charge? Consider the following factors when setting a fee:

s   Relationship with the client. Beware of trying to buy a client’s loyalty by charging a lower
    fee. Many consultants have learned (to their dismay) that they have been dropped by a
    low-paying client in favor of a firm that is "more experienced."

    At the same time, a consultant who has a pleasurable, ongoing relationship may want to
    hesitate before raising prices too much or too often.

s   Experience. More senior people in a field generally earn higher fees.

s   Professionalism. Some consultants see themselves as helpers who take detailed directions
    from the client. Those who see themselves more as experts or advisors will command
    higher fees.

s   Field/industry/location. Some specialties, such as video writing, pay more than others do.
    In addition, some industries may offer a premium for experience. Last, consultants in large,
    urban areas are usually able to charge more than are those in smaller markets.

s   Education. For the most part, consultants with PhDs earn more than do their counterparts
    without the degree. Also, specialized education or certifications may command a premium.

s   Barriers to entry. If a field requires a hard-to-obtain license or certification, that
    requirement is a barrier to entry and consultants having it can charge more for their
    services. For example, a CPA gets a higher fee than do accountants without the
    designation.

s   Chutzpah. Consultants often settle for lower fees because they lack the nerve to ask for
    more, while others with less talent and experience receive top fees simply by asking for
    them.

One reason for so many different rates charged by consultants is that we operate in a world of imperfect knowledge. The first step in achieving better fees is to understand the difference between working as a temp and running a business. When consultants realize that their positions are as valid as those of the clients they serve, they will be able to set fees and estimate time for projects that let both of them achieve your goals.

Sources:

Consulting Survival Skills, Jane Ranshaw & James Kepler, materials adapted from workshop

How Long Does It Take?, Ron Zemke, Training Magazine, May 1997

Just-In-Time Instructional Design: How to Do It Faster and Better, Sivasailam Thiagarajan, conference handout

Million Dollar Consulting, Alan Weiss, McGraw Hill publisher

Training Program Workbook & Kit, Carolyn Nilson, Prentice Hall publisher


"Sandra Kardos CPA History of Work with John Disterdick and his companies," by Sandra Kardos --- http://www.kardoscpa.com/TFP/timeline.htm 

This is a rather interesting saga that reads like a novel.


"Capture Valuation Engagements Demand is high, but referrals don’t usually come from existing clients," by Stuart Kahan, Practical Accountant, June 2000 --- http://www.ctcpas.com/News2.htm 

The above article discusses varies strategies for obtaining and billing clients.

Online Resources for Business Valuations

Looking for information on valuing your business? Look no further. Or look way further, depending on your point of view. Here is a Web site, produced by Professor William C. Weaver, that provides numerous links to online business valuation resources all assembled in one easy-to-use location. http://www.accountingweb.com/item/56244 

Business Valuation Links --- http://www.bus.ucf.edu/weaver/links/bvlinks.htm 

Business Valuation References --- http://www.bus.ucf.edu/weaver/ 


"Just What Is a Fair Price for Passive Advisor Services?" by Steven Evanson, Index Funds, July 17, 2000 --- http://www.indexfunds.com/PFarticles/20000717_evanson_com_act_SE.htm 


An example of billing rates for venture planning --- http://www.ventureplan.com/fee.schedule.shtml 

BILLING POLICIES AND FEE SCHEDULES

Preliminary Work

We recommend that you review the Venture Planning Associates checklists and materials available that can assist you in the development of your project. A great deal of time and money can be saved by doing your own research and preparation prior to hiring a venture capital consultant such as Venture Planning Associates.

Fee Schedule

  1. Retainer: This firm requires a minimum retainer of $3,500 from all new clients. If the matter for which we are retained relates to developing business plans, venture capital searches, or web business development the minimum retainer is usually $4,500. The amount of the retainer may be adjusted depending on the type and extent of the work that is anticipated. Progress billings are issued, and final payment for services is due at the time of delivery of final product.

  2. Fees: Charges for our services are based primarily on time spent by our consultants and staff working on your behalf. Our normal billable rate for business planning, business valuation and venture capital searches is $175 per hour. Rates for associate consultants vary from $75 to $250 per hour. Time is recorded in increments of 15 minutes. We periodically adjust our rates to reflect the additional experience of our consultants, and to take into account increases in our expenses.

  3. Direct Expenses: We charge for costs incurred in connection with our work on your behalf, including advances made to various agencies, costs of printing and reproduction, fax and long distance telephone calls, and all costs associated with research services through our computerized research facilities. If we are required to travel on your behalf, we charge for time spent traveling and for costs of transportation, meals and lodging. Estimated travel expenses are payable in advance.

  4. Estimates: We would be pleased to give you an estimate of the fees and expenses which will be incurred in connection with you project. An estimate is necessarily based on a prediction of the amount of time we will required to spend, and is not to be treated as an agreed limitation on our charges, which will be based upon the time actually spent. Charges for our services may be increased if the business problems involved are unusually complex or difficult, if the work is subject to unusual time pressure, or if the result we obtain for you vastly exceeds our expectations.

  5. Other Professionals: Venture Planning Associates, Inc., will sometimes recommend the professional services of corporate, securities and tax attorneys, CPA’s , and professional appraisers to supplement our work. Should other professionals be required, we will consult with you prior to contracting for their services. These professionals will bill you separately.

  6. Funding Sources: Venture Planning Associates offers a streamlined, cost effective way to match the project, invention or service with qualified investors and financial institutions known to seek investments in a specific field. Venture Planning Associates offers two databases t of potential funding sources.

  7. Web Business Consulting: Venture Planning Associates offers a one day, high end consulting service to assist businesses with migration or startup of automated eCommerce and web marketing businesses. This special consultation will include complete review of an existing web site, marketing materials, and automation procedures.

    Access will be made available to complete software package options, web development, auto responders, bulk email programs, site tracking, sales campaign and affiliate programs necessary to setup fully automated sites.

    The fee for this initial service is $1,250 plus expenses. Follow on consulting for implementation is available for up to three months on a $5,000 per month basis. Review of sales letters, link procedures, banner placement, public relations campaigns and fine tuning of the eCommerce site are included with this follow up. See 360Webmarketing for full details.


A message received from AccountingWeb on December 14, 2001

Here is a sample of the questions that have been posted this week. Check out all the questions at our Q&A Forum and see if you can lend a hand. http://www.accountingweb.com/help/anyanswers.html 

1. Is there a source for determining what cities have grant money available for small businesses planning to relocate? http://www.accountingweb.com/item/65595 

2. How can one best structure a lump sum damages settlement that involves a lawyer's contingency payment? http://www.accountingweb.com/item/65731 

3. What account should be used to book rebates received on the purchase of PC's, cell phones, and so on? http://www.accountingweb.com/item/66048 

4. An individual tax practice in Denver, CO is contemplating raising prices at least 30% but is worried that the increase will cause many clients to leave. Are there any statistics available that address this issue? http://www.accountingweb.com/item/66187 


Book Recommendation: Creating Rainmakers: The Manager's Guide to Training Professionals to Attract New Clients

Based on over 100 interviews with principals in professional firms, including many of today's preeminent rainmakers, "Creating Rainmakers" shows readers how to turn a professional staff into a powerful team of sales winners. The book cover generating leads, building a strong network of contacts, mastering a variety of sales techniques, and more. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1558508465/accountingweb 


From Double Entries on November 15, 2001

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has released the exposure draft for the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act and Uniform Accountancy Act Rules, Third Edition (UAA). The Exposure Draft contains several additions and revisions to the UAA and UAA Rules, including rules for disclosures that must be made in connection with offering professional services via the Internet and rules on notification under substantial equivalency. Additionally, revisions are suggested to the education rules and changes are made to the Act and Rules to conform the UAA to professional standards with regard to SSARS 8 compilations. The Exposure Draft is a joint project of the AICPA UAA Task Force and NASBA UAA Committee. Comments are encouraged and welcomed by this joint group through December 31, 2001. Click through to http://accountingeducation.com/news/news2257.html  for the download link

You can download the document by clicking here
http://ftp.aicpa.org/public/download/states/uaa/uaa_expose.doc
 


A message from Ernst & Young on November 14, 2001 --- http://www.ey.com/ 

Now there is a new way to access the EYO Help Desk live right from your desktop, 24 hours a day, six days a week. When logged onto the EYO site, simply click on the LiveHelp link located at the top of the home page. An EYO support agent will respond immediately to your request for help. You and the agent can have a real-time dialogue about your question, right over the Internet using instant messaging technology. EYO's LiveHelp is available globally. Why not give it a try and see what you think of the online help experience? If you prefer to pick up the phone, you can still contact the EYO Help Desk as you have previously.


January 23, 2003 message from Scott Bonacker, CPA [scottbonacker@MOCCPA.COM]

If any clients come within a handsbreadth of healthcare or healthcare coverage they are likely affected by HIPAA. To help find out if they are, here is a decision tree:

http://www.cms.gov/hipaa/hipaa2/support/tools/decisionsupport/default.asp


"The Business of Bankruptcy:  CPAs can't make a bad economy go away, but they can provide value to clients on the ropes," y Victoria Zunitch and Michael Hayes, Journal of Accountancy, February 2002, pp. 35-39 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/feb2002/zunitch.htm 

 


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
A CPA FIRM WITH A CLIENT filing for bankruptcy has a responsibility to serve the client as well as an opportunity to compete for some of the work on the case—and through it develop a specialty. The need for bankruptcy services is expected to grow for a while.

CPAs SOMETIMES ARE THRUST into the field when a client goes broke, but a firm that has time to plan can develop the niche strategically. The bulk of bankruptcy work comes from attorney referrals.

A PERUSAL OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS of your local bankruptcy court and the U.S. Trustee Office will identify the accountants, lawyers, trustees, examiners and other advisers who are players in your market.

THE EXACTING BILLING requirements of the court affect every novice in bankruptcy work and are a continual challenge even for seasoned practitioners. CPAs are at minimum risk because the court’s first administrative priority is to cover the expenses of a bankruptcy.

DURING A BANKRUPTCY, debtors, creditors’ committees, trustees and other entities need CPA services. A firm should look first for clients that need services it already provides, such as tax preparation or monthly reports.

CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST CONSIDERATIONS usually require the work to be parceled out to several accounting firms, which means attorneys are always looking for new CPAs with whom to work.

VICTORIA M. ZUNITCH is a freelance business writer based in New York. Her e-mail address is VZwriter@hotmail.com MICHAEL HAYES is a senior editor on the JofA. Ms. Hayes is an employee of the AICPA and her views, as expressed in this article, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute. Official positions are determined through certain specific committee procedures, due process and deliberation.

From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, February 2002, Page 25 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/feb2002/news_web.htm 

Intro to Bankruptcy Law
www.bankruptcylawinstitute.com

This site offers information on Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy law, forms and court filing procedures. Users can access online tutorials on the following topics: types of bankruptcy, the structure of bankruptcy law, exemption and property law, and how to calculate equity.

Bankruptcy-Law Links
www.agin.com/lawfind

The law firm Swiggart & Agin, LLC, in Boston hosts the Bankruptcy Lawfinder, offering users related information and resources. Site sections include courts and cases, regulations and statutes. The bankruptcy law resources section includes links to the American Bankruptcy Institute, a directory of companies in Chapter 11 proceedings and the Center for Debt Management.

 


From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, February 2002, Page 25 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/feb2002/news_web.htm 

Business Advice for Mom and Pop
www.efamilybusiness.com

This site offers information about off-site presentations on topics such as succession and continuity, and strategy, planning and family-business policies. Free articles written by internal staff include these titles: “Supporting the Successor” and “Estate Fairness for Children In and Out of the Business.”

Make Your Practice Perfect
www.business-management-consulting.com

Looking for information on business processes, changes in management, corporate governance, e-business practices, HR and strategic planning? Find them all in this site’s management-resources section. Business news articles cover topics such as IT and software companies, layoffs and changes, and stunning growth.

Virtual M&A Adviser
www.maadvisor.com

“Issues, trends and strategies for successful mergers and acquisitions” are featured here. Registered guests can access the discussion forum and download section, as well as receive discounts at the online store. The discussion forum includes general questions and answers about mergers and acquisitions, and the download section includes audio clips, documents and speeches from industry leaders on M&A issues.

For Dot-Com Buyers and Sellers
www.webmergers.com

Current statistical data on dot-com fire sales and the dot-com marketplace, news of Internet shutdowns and resource-pooling mergers as well as articles on buying-and-selling strategies are available here. Users can read stories such as “Buying a European Technology Company—Key Questions,” “Five Tips for Sellers of Dot-Coms” and “M&A Outlook for Internet Consulting Firms.”

Small-Business Resource
www.businessownersideacafe.com ( formerly www.ideacafe.com)

Small-business owners can find information on starting and running a business here. An ask-the-experts forum, discussion threads and shared tips add to the site’s content. Business names, e-commerce, marketing and working at home are some of the topics in the CyberSchmooz area. Membership is free and gives access to information on business awards, contests and grants.

SBA Addresses 9/11
www.sbaonline.sba.gov

The Small Business Administration (SBA) created a large disaster-assistance section on its Web site in response to the events of September 11th. Visitors will find links to local assistance programs and to state and federal disaster loans and grants. Other resources include the SBA’s answer desk for questions about financing and starting a small business.

Disaster-Recovery Information
www.fema.gov

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) site added three sections after the terrorist attacks on the United States. Victims Benefits and Assistance lists organizations addressing individual and business-related concerns, contact information and victims’ eligibility requirements. The New York Recovery News section has links to city and state emergency-management offices. Information About Anthrax gives U.S. Postal Service updates.

Find the Perfect Job
www.jobfactory.com

Finding a new job or changing careers just got a lot less stressful. This site features JobSpider, a search engine for positions by title and location, as well as JobFactory’s own list of 250 top career sites. Plus, users can find links to more than 23,000 Web sites that post available jobs and want ads from most online U.S. newspapers.

Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


AccountingWeb Book Recommendation on December 12, 2002

Follow the expert advice in this book--the fourth in The Ultimate Consultant Series--and you won't fall victim to the success plateau that undermines many consultants. If you feel that your work has become easier, it may be that you're not climbing "up" but rather moving laterally. And, sooner or later, your plateau will begin to erode and you'll find yourself on a decline. In How to Acquire Clients, Alan Weiss, internationally recognized consultant and author of the best- selling Million Dollar Consulting, shows you how to continue to move "up the mountain." http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0787955140/accountingweb 


Services Offered by Professional Accounting Firms --- http://www.westga.edu/~accfin/AccountingCareers.pdf 

Accounting and Auditing Services

1. Year end audit. This may include assisting the client in calculating the amount of the income taxes owed, valuing stock options and other stock compensation arrangements under FAS 123, and drafting and typing the financial statements.

2. Review of interim (monthly, quarterly) financial statements.

3. Compilation of financial statements.

4. Bookkeeping services (some firms offer this as a computer bookkeeping service).

5. Valuations of derivatives at fair market value for accounting purposes.

6. Assistance in preparation of and review of filings with the SEC, including initial public offerings.

7. Underwriter comfort letters for SEC and non-SEC filings.

8. Audit of Management's Discussion and Analysis in SEC filings.

9. Agreed-upon procedures engagements (the client and auditor agree to procedures the auditor is to perform with respect to tasks such as testing a royalty arrangement or compliance with a loan agreement, and the auditor then issues a report on his or her findings).

10. Audit or review of financial forecasts or projections. This includes such documents included in offering memoranda.

11. Providing advice on how to interpret new accounting pronouncements, including providing sample journal entries.

12. Audits of financial statements of pension plan financial statements.

13. Director examinations of financial institutions.

14. CPA WebTrust - an engagement to review the security of a company's website that is conducting electronic commerce over the internet.

15. Assisting international companies in conforming their financial reporting to U.S. financial reporting practices (GAAP conversions).

16. Technical opinions on accounting matters to clients of other accounting firms.

Business Controls

1. Ethics and Responsible Business Practices - a service that helps clients address the sources of internal wrongdoing

and eliminate barriers to responsible business practices.

2. Evaluation, design and implementation of internal accounting and financial reporting controls, policies and

procedures.

3. Evaluation, design and implementation of management and business controls over various business functions such as

management reporting, systems, research and development, etc.

4. Examinations of internal controls.

5. Business Fraud and Investigation Services - helps companies identify, manage and minimize integrity risks, such as

suspected management or alleged employee fraud.

Tax Services

1. Preparation of federal and state individual income tax returns.

2. Preparation of federal and state corporation tax returns.

3. Individual and corporate tax planning (including federal, state, and local taxes).

4. Personal financial planning for individuals including client employees and executives.

5. Income tax planning for executives including employee compensation and benefit plans (see below).

6. Investment planning.

7. Programs for planning for college.

8. Retirement planning programs.

9. Estate planning including preparation of wills, trusts, etc.

10. Representation of clients in tax negotiations and disputes with the IRS.

11. Review of property tax assessments.

12. Succession planning.

13. Serve as or provide tax advice to executors and trustees.

14. Tax credit reviews to determine maximum allowable credits (e.g., research and development credits).

15. Trade and customs services - ensures compliance with trade laws and regulations while trying to avoid, reduce, or defer overall customs duties.

16. Transfer pricing studies and evaluation, documentation, and modification of existing policies.

17. Valuation services.

18. VAT Services.

Financial Services

1. Treasury management services including design, development and implementation of policies and procedures.

2. Credit management services including design, development and implementation of credit policies and procedures.

3. Design and structuring of financial instruments.

4. Assisting investment banking llIms with the designs of financial instruments and financing transactions.

5. Assistance with finding/identifying equity parties or financial parties.

6. Identification and selection of banks.

7. Assistance with or preparation of financing and loan applications.

8. Loan review services.

9. Regulatory advisory services.

Information Systems Technology

1. Selection of new hardware and software systems. This may include activities such as performing a "needs analysis," preparation of a request for proposals, and overseeing, assistance with, or performance of demonstrations.

2. Implementation of new hardware and software systems. This may include: 

3. Development of IT management and/or strategic plans.

4. Evaluation and selection of telephone systems.

5. Business continuity planning and information security services.

6. Application controls consulting.

8. Electronic commerce services.

8. Reporting on the Processing of Transactions by Service Organizations.

Employee Benefit Programs

1. Designing and developing employee compensation programs including:

Business Reengineering

1. Benchmarking of best practices including business and financial reporting practices.

2. Reengineering of business processes including:

3. Review of manual processes that feed into computerized information systems.

4. Staff reduction programs.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing of such client functions as:

1. Information systems. This may include outsourcing the management or the entire data processing and information systems group.

2. Internal audit function.

3. Tax department.

4. Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

5. Accounting department.

6. Human resource department.

7. Risk management function.

Corporate Finance

1.Deal due diligence.

2. Candidate targeting.

3. Preparation of offering memorandums.

4. Lead advisor for private placements.

5. Merger transaction advice on:

6. Appraisal and valuation of target assets, including receivables, inventories, property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, and in-process research and development.

7. Fairness opinions.

8. In some foreign jurisdictions, the 1ums act as stock transfer agents.

9. "Turnaround" business advisors.

Marketing and Distribution

1.

Evaluation of marketing and distribution channels.

2. Development of marketing and distribution channel plans and consulting on the implementation of such plans.

Legal Services

1.

Corporate and commercial legal services to national and international companies worldwide.

2. Assistance to law departments and general counsel to enhance and measure performance.

Litigation Support

1.

Case management.

2. Expert accounting and Financial reporting witnesses.

3. Damages experts and witnesses.

4. Environmental litigation experts.

5. Securities litigation experts.

6. Antitrust services.

7. Construction disputes.

8. Analysis of detailed data to provide cost-effective, proactive strategies and solutions to complex business disputes.

Other

1. Government Contract Consulting - helps companies understand and address business risks associated with negotiating, contracting with, and performing under contracts for the sale of goods or services with U.S. federal, tstate, local and foreign governments.

2. Advise government entities that are privatizing on commercialization, restructuring, competition, changing organization attitudes, customer satisfaction and policy adjustment; provides other grant-aided work in emerging markets.

3. Real estate - provides advice about increasing the profitability of real estate assets through the acquisition, development, management and disposition of single assets or portfolios of properties. Services also include strategic planning, consolidation studies, surplus property planning, valuations, and outsourcing consulting.

4. Services for middle-sized companies - includes cash management, payroll needs, business relocation services, and shareholder meetings.

5. Insolvency/executory services - acting as receivers, liquidators, bankruptcy trustees, or advisors to debtor or creditor groups.

6. Specific services for health insurers and other health care organizations.


Bob Jensen's helpers for small businesses and small accounting firms (including expert witness links) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness

 




Bob Jensen's Threads on Accounting Fraud, Forensic Accounting, Securities Fraud, and White Collar Crime ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm

 

Bob Jensen's Homepage is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/