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Special Reports

Special Reports (151)

The Progressive Accountant is the leading online communit of public tax and accounting professionals focused on using technology to better manage and grow their practice.

Review: Sales Tax--No Place for DIY

Economic pressures have caused many individuals to stay closer to home. These homebound individuals have fueled a huge increase in DIY (Do-It-Yourself) activities. We’ve seen at home pedicures replace SPA visits, tossable dryer sheets edging out trips to the dry cleaner, even off-the-shelf mouth guards substituting for trips to the dentist. How this DIY trend has impacted small business revenue is a topic for another day, but when it comes to their internal operations, sales tax compliance in no place for businesses to consider DIY.

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Review: Budget Software Important in a Recovering Economy

Given its importance to the operation of any organization, it is amazing that software to help define and build a budget gets such short shrift in the marketplace. Yet it remains a fact that only a handful of software developers focus on this market.
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Helping Small Biz Get the Bills Out

Not everyone uses QuickBooks. But small businesses still need to send invoices. If some of your clients aren’t ready to automate their entire financial operations but want an alternative to Word and Excel for invoices, there are myriad options.

These applications are Web-based, easy to use and in some cases, free. The advantages of using them are obvious. Your clients can not only create customized invoices but easily e-mail them and track their progress. They can stay in touch with receivables anywhere there’s a Web connection, including an iPhone in some cases. And when they’re ready to move up to a full-fledged accounting solution, they have reliable A/R records.
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Making Mission Impossible Doable For Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations have an almost impossible mission. They are expected to serve the needs of as many constituents as possible while making a minimum investment in administrative costs. Their reporting needs are extensive and their teams are expected to deliver miracles. They have to answer to just about anyone who makes a donation along with a myriad of government organizations. Every dollar they spend must be tracked from plan to action to results.

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Handling Documents the Smart Way

To go paperless or not, is that really the question? I think not.  I am from a generation that used typewriters for term papers. I like to see and feel paper.  I enjoy a good cup of coffee with a newspaper, that is if you can find a newspaper anymore. But that really doesn’t apply to a document management system. You can still hold and look at paper with a good document management system.  However, document management is more about our most valuable asset… Time. 

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Scan and Organize for Good Effect

The most significant reason to use a scan-and-organize application is to make operations become more effective. “Effective” relates to the total benefits received exceeding the cost of the system and its support. Anything that creates less revenue and more cost should not be considered. The good news is that many CPA firms have already discovered significant benefits by using systems that convert paper to digital data.
 
Information is forever expanding and there are more documents, more regulatory schedules, perhaps multiple W-2s, income from a number of employers and so on. This rising tide of paper is pushing up against the availability of people to do the work of collecting, sorting and filing. CPAs, both partners and staff, have a growing desire to maintain a quality of life. Performing clerical activities like manually making copies or storing documents wastes high salaried individuals’ time. It increases rather decreases firm operating costs.

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Engagement Software Grows Up

When we first started looking at trial balance software ten years ago there was a laundry list of companies that we'd wade through for reviews. In reality, no company yet offered a complete collection of software  - trial balance, audit tools, paperless tracking - that we could label as engagement software.

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Mid-market Packages Mean Business

Mid market imageBusinesses outgrow their small business accounting package for any number of reasons. Surprisingly, it’s not a user count problem anymore– thanks to products like Peachtree Quantum and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions which offer multi-user solutions for small businesses. Rather for mid-market companies, system limitations tend to result from changes in the nature of their business –expansion into new product areas, new distribution channels, or new geographies. These are the business requirements that tend to separate the men from the boys and the business owner from her checkbook.

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Practice Management Software Critical in Tough Times

While any accountant can appreciate the value of practice management, this part of the firm's business becomes mission-critical in times of economic downturn. When new clients are harder to come by, and existing clients have greater needs but less to spend, the ability to track time, bill it effectively, and management receivables, all become crucial to the survival of the firm and its growth in the post-recession period.

Some firms, particularly small to mid-sized practices, have their greatest need in the ability to management the time spent by each staff member. Larger firms must fit this need within a larger context, and be able to integrate it seamlessly with other applications for document management, customer relationship management, and project management.

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Write-up Software: A Lot More Than a Necessary Evil

Back in 1994, when I started at a mid-sized CPA firm we didn’t offer write-up services, unless it was for a key client who begged for it. Write-up work was for new staffers and “bookkeepers”. While accounting software and technology has changed over the years, most accountants and CPAs still view write-up as a necessary evil. After starting my own practice in 2005, I no longer share this view and see all the work in my firm as being important. Each type of engagement is a way to ensure my clients are doing all they can to maximize profitability. This means enabling clients to focus on what they do best and what earns them the most revenue possible. The good news is that most accounting software now uses technology that embraces that philosophy and can provide the tools needed to change our focus to complement the new way of accounting for accounting professionals.

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