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Accounting Growth Still Strong

The nation’s accounting firms are experiencing the strongest growth in revenues since the recession, averaging 6.3% revenue growth during the last fiscal year according to the INSIDE Public Accounting’s (IPA) National Benchmarking Report.

In fact, 85% of the 540 firms participating in IPA’s Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms experienced positive organic revenue growth. More than 20% of firms reported double-digit growth, and 4% of all participating firms grew organically at a rate of more than 20%.

Merger activity continues to be strong, particularly at the level of the largest firms - $30 million and up. In this range, 45% reported at least one acquisition last year. Mergers have added an average of 3.1% to net revenue growth for the IPA 100 firms, which are the largest 100 firms in the country.

Highlights from the report include:

Average net income per equity partner (NIPEP) in public accounting firms continues to rise, with gains over last year being made in nearly every revenue band.

Revenue per full time equivalent (FTE) is one of the strongest metrics available to show how well a firm is doing from year to year. Across all revenue bands net revenue per FTE averages $179,297, up 2.8% over last year.

The $50 million-$75 million firms are showing the strongest increase in non-traditional services as a percentage of total revenue, with revenue divided nearly equally in three parts: tax, audit, and “other” services.

Professional staff turnover rates in the very largest firms (above $75 million) averaged 17.2% last year, with one in five experiencing turnover rates above 20%.

Average percentage of female ownership is at 17.5%, also an increase over last year’s 16.9%.

With most CPA firms reporting solid gains in revenue and profitability, the rest of 2017 will focus on innovating practice management and expanding efforts to enhance employee retention.

Accounting Growth Still Strong

The Productive Meeting

“I’m stuck in a meeting.”
“I was in meetings all day!”
“I couldn’t get anything accomplished today – too many meetings.”

We’ve all heard and most-likely said those very words. If you or your team exit meetings feeling like they were unproductive time-wasters, you are going about your meetings all wrong.

We need to ‘meet’. Someone (maybe you) thought it would be beneficial to get a group of co-workers together to resolve something, hash-out something, or move forward with something. It’s important to design a meeting your team finds productive and worthy of the time spent to get that ‘something’ we just mentioned accomplished.

  • Send a calendar invitation with the topic in advance of the meeting. People want and need to know why they are gathering. Sending the notice in advance gives your team the opportunity to prepare, and we all know preparation is the key to success.

  • Invite only those who need to attend. Having the right people in attendance is key for project success. Be sure everyone there has a clear purpose and reason for being included.

  • Set an agenda. Don’t walk into the meeting you organized with a loose idea of what needs to be discussed or accomplished. Know in advance what type of meeting you are expecting. If others will be required to report or have input be sure they are notified of this well in advance.

  • Be timely. Everyone’s time is of value. Show your team you respect them and their schedule by being punctual with your arrival and the meeting’s start. Don’t spend more than a sentence or two on a greeting. Get down to business and allow everyone to keep the rest of their day on-track.

  • Keep it brief. Granted, there are times and topics that require long discussions and extended debate. Plan your agenda accordingly and set the meeting length to accommodate needed materials and deliberation. It’s much easier to adjourn early than to keep a group of frustrated people at the table.

  • At meeting’s end be sure everyone has a clear agreement on their next step. What a waste of time if everyone heads out the door without assigned follow-up and ongoing action plans.

These are very simple tips that will guarantee better meetings and organizational results.

The Productive Meeting

The Question Making Employers Nervous

The unemployment rate in the accounting industry is only around 2%, and about 4% generally -- meaning basically everyone who wants to be employed is employed right now. This is great news if you are a new accounting or specialized graduate; or if you are an experienced and proven professional; companies want you.

If you are a hiring manager this means that finding the right candidate for the job may be tricky – and time consuming. The person you want is likely already employed someplace and not actively job seeking. You may have to offer some exciting incentives, or work with a reputable staffing firm, such as SNI Companies, with access to candidates who are not perusing job sites.

Managers are asking themselves, ‘how do I keep employees in this hot job market?’ and, they are genuinely concerned.

Interestingly, it’s not for the reasons you’d think that people are making job moves. Our teams at SNI Companies aren’t seeing many people job-hop for salary or benefits. If your company is stable and paying your people fairly, salary likely won’t be the reason they look to make a change.

So why are people interested in looking at new roles?

  • Unhappy with their manager. You may not even realize your employees are taking an interest in other job opportunities. Keep lines of communication open and be an active listener.

  • No room for growth. Employees who feel they are stuck in a position with ‘nowhere to go’ may not be actively looking for new employment but they will happily listen when prospects are presented.

  • Staffing firms can offer jobs never seen by the public. Reputable firms like SNI Companies know the ‘secrets’. We have longstanding relationships with our clients and with candidates. Clients want to talk to us because we know people who fit-the-bill perfectly for jobs. Candidates will look at the opportunities we provide because they know we are not wasting their time with just any role.

What can you do to keep employees in this hot job market?

  • Pay your employees fairly for the work they do.

  • Treat them well. Help your employees feel valued.

  • Create a culture of appreciation, open communication, and collaborative work.

Ultimately, some employees will leave for other opportunities or for reasons we can’t control. But if you are in-tune to your team at least it won’t be a total surprise!

The Question Making Employers Nervous

The Rules of the Business Text

I have authored blogs about keeping your written work communications professional. And, advised that although our world seems to be more and more casual it is not OK to let sloppy and abbreviated language slip into your work emails.

Because everyone is tied to their mobile devices and with the speed of business today, urgent and immediate requests have made way for texting to become part of our workday.

Although people do not want to receive work texts outside of the workday, texts are a fast way to direct message a colleague. Just as with other means of business communication be sure to follow your company’s guidelines about texting communications, and follow rules of etiquette and grammar!

Everything should be kept professional. Be cautious about what you send in text form and how it is phrased. Not only are text messages easily forwarded, they often sound more negative than you may intend.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Think twice before you send a work-related text. Is texting appropriate and appreciated by this individual or group?

  • Use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Do not use sloppy shortcuts in business communications – even if it is a text.

  • No need for all CAPITAL letters, which is sometimes perceived as shouting; nor should you be lazy by using all lower-case.

  • Keep it very concise and to-the-point.

  • Remember that texts are not private. Assume anything you send could be forwarded!

  • If you have never texted someone previously be sure to include your name and contact information.

  • Never use your text to send confidential or sensitive personal information.

  • “Text speak” and abbreviations should not be part of your work communications.

  • Give your text a quick once-over before you hit send. Spellcheck won’t catch everything- be sure you proofread.

  • Be courteous about when you send texts. Unless the matter is of utmost urgency, make sure you are sending during business hours.

  • On the flip-side, if you are receiving texts of a non-urgent nature outside of work hours it’s fine to wait until the next business day to respond.

  • Use your Do Not Disturb feature if work texts are filling your phone after hours.

  • Err on the side of professionalism.

Please never, ever text and drive.

The Rules of the Business Text