The last few days have seen increased activity on the internet about matter affecting accountants.  In this blog, I share details about some of them with you. Most of the downloads I mention will require a simple registration process.

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Billing and fees

Always important, how effectively a firm bills for the work done for clients is in direct alignment with how quickly they get paid. If this matters to you, you will be interested to know that eBillingHub has integrated with Tikit Carpe Diem to improve billing efficiency (as reported by Legal Futures here).  eBillingHub, the leader in legal e-billing, has partnered with Tikit, one of the largest suppliers of technology solutions and services to global legal and accountancy firms. With this alliance, law firms using both Carpe Diem and eBillingHub will be able to take advantage of eBillingHub’s client billing guidelines to validate time entries in real time, reducing rejections and accelerating the payment cycle.

Employee engagement

employeesEmployee engagement: how to embark on the journey and measure results is a free Whitepaper from Benefex. It explores why firms should embark on the journey to engagement, what that journey might look like and how to measure progress along the way. The whitepaper can be downloaded from here.

Becoming a virtual FD

Has your practice climbed the ladder to cloud-based accountancy? If so, the opportunity of becoming a ‘Virtual Finance Director (FD)’ is now a practical reality. This whitepaper from Xero focuses on what makes a virtual FD, why this role is emerging and the opportunities available to add value. The whitepaper can be downloaded from here.

Ten biggest mistakes by SMEs

Accountants should know that setting up and running your own business isn’t for the faint-hearted. Taking strategic risks can either make or break a fledging business, and some of the most successful business decisions were actually a leap of faith.However, there is no excuse for making basic blunders, and this whitepaper from Sage provides some of the most common pitfalls, and how you can avoid them. The free whitepaper can be downloaded from here.

Using CRM to fast track your practice growth

More and more accountancy practices are discovering the difference that a dedicated CRM system can make to their firm’s growth potential. By implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) at your practice you can:

•  Increase your track

•  Save time on valuable business development activities.

•  Improve the visibility of vital client information.

Why not find out for yourself by watching this webcast introducing CCH CRM powered by Workbooks – the cloud-based CRM system for tax and accounting professionals.

45 Competency Areas that Businesses Value in Finance Professionals

This comes from the US. Businesses around the world seek enhanced competencies among their finance professionals to better address the challenges and opportunities of today’s complex business environment.  Based on extensive global research among employers and other stakeholders, the CIMA and the AICPA, two of the world’s largest accounting organisations, have identified a competency framework with 45 areas where employers such as IBM and Unilever expect proficiency. Read about it here.

New two-phased Audit approach

Ken Tysiac, from the US, wrote in the Journal of Accountancy on this subject. At a time of technological innovation, business complexity, and regulatory scrutiny, auditors face a multitude of challenges. Auditors are expanding services at the same time that regulators are considering ways to make the information in the auditor’s report even more relevant for investors.

To serve the public in this time of rapid change, the American Institute (AICPA) is embarking on a new, comprehensive initiative to reinforce the CPA profession’s commitment to audit quality. AICPA Senior Vice President Sue Coffey described the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative Sunday during a presentation at the AICPA’s spring Council meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Read the full story here.

SMEs must get better at networking

New academic research commissioned by top 20 accountancy firm Kingston Smith LLP reveals that SMEs are aware that they need to improve their ‘social capital’ through networks and connections to develop their businesses and grow, but do not know how to go about it. The report, ‘Generating Social Capital’, which was undertaken by the Business Schools of the Universities of Surrey and Greenwich, analysed data gathered from a survey of over 1,000 successful SME leaders, as well as from focus groups and in-depth discussions with 25 individual owner-managers. Read about it here.

New employee share schemes iBook launched          

shareschemeLawyers Walker Morris have published a little green book explaining the ins and outs of the most popular share schemes. Although it’s not a substitute for professional legal advice, it’s a handy piece of Walker Morris at your fingertips designed to provide you with the basic information required to navigate your way through the world of Employee Share Schemes.  It also contains a useful glossary to assist you in deciphering some of the more obscure terms used by tax practitioners. It’s available to download now to read on your iPhone, iPad or kindle, here.

Report Urges Accounting for ‘Natural Capital’ Depletion

Michael Cohn, Editor-In-Chief, Accountingtoday.Com, in the US says that accountants should take the lead in assessing the impact on their companies of the depletion of natural resources, recommends a new report. The report, from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Ernst & Young, the International Federation of Accountants, and the Natural Capital Coalition, argues that accountants should account for “natural capital” to determine the risks to businesses that depend on increasingly scarce resources such as clean water, timber and minerals. The true cost to society from the impact of business activity on natural resources is generally not reflected in corporate accounts, a situation made even riskier by the assumption of infinite resources underpinning most economic and financial accounting. Despite its importance, natural capital is largely ignored by companies and their investors as boardrooms continue to focus on short-term management decisions and priorities. Read the full article here.

An accountant’s guide to marketing measurement

How marketing gets measured is important. Knowing the numbers (and how they really work), can help firms to make reasoned decisions over where they invest their marketing time and money; highlight pricing issues; or predict at which stage of their growth they can afford to invest in recruitment.  This free guide demonstrates the measurements used in marketing, how they’re calculated, and what they are used for. Download the guide from here.

How to talk about money with your clients

Are you good at talking about money with your clients? Brought to you by ABN-AMRO Commercial Finance and Accounting Web, this series aims to challenge that compliance-focused approach.  Encouraging you to think about how you can advise clients more widely on money.  This complimentary guide will outline why it is important and provide you with the tools to get started. Download it from here.

What Should Accountants Be Learning?

lightbulbExecutives from Thomson Reuters, ADP, Xero, CPA2Biz, Sage, Bank of America and Intuit talk with Accounting Today editors at the Meet the Editors dinner at Keens Steakhouse in New York about what accountants should be learning to do for their clients and practices. View the video here.

Paul Dunn – B1G1

Most accountants have heard about Paul Dunn.  You probably went on one of his boot camps and learned what clients really want. Here’s the chance to see what he’s up to now. View his video here.

Tax transparency – latest reporting by UK’s largest companies

What are the largest UK companies reporting in their accounts: The PwC Tax Transparency team has analysed the latest tax reporting of the FTSE 100 companies as recorded in their 2013 year end accounts. It has looked at five specific areas.

Their approach to tax is reported by almost half the companies which is a 50% increase from the previous year. Some give a high level statement of principles whilst others explain their attitude to tax planning, low-tax jurisdictions, transfer pricing or their relationship with revenue authorities. Some companies have produced stand-alone tax policy papers published on their websites. Read the full ICAEW Tax Faculty Team report here.

The eight attributes of high-functioning firms

How does your firm stack up? Every year, CPA firms across the country invite Jennifer Wilson to view the inner workings of their operations. It’s amazing the array of firm and individual personalities that she encounters. Even more interesting is the range of variation in how different firms function.

Some firms are high-performing. Their leadership teams assess situations, develop strategies, and make and execute decisions with relative ease, speed, and success. A great many others, however, function with a drag that pulls against their momentum, causing the business of leading, managing, and executing to take longer, burn more energy, and produce less-than-stellar results.

Why do some firms flourish while others struggle? Find out by reading her article here.

Martin Pollins
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