How many meetings with clients do you have scheduled this month?

How many business trips to clients do you need to make this week or month? How many are in driving distance from your office? Are some clients too far to drive to by car? If so, you'll have to buy a plane ticket, maybe reserve a hotel room, and even rent a car. Let's see…before you head out to a client, you will also need to make sure you have all their paperwork or files on a CD or in your laptop. Check. Fill your car with gas. Check. Or, get to the airport on time and pack your bags. Check. Keep track of travel expenses and your time. Check. Finally, will your data be in synch with what the clients have on their computers or paper files? You can only hope so. It's just one more thing you have to check even before you get down to work.

Ever wish there were a simpler way of working with clients that saved you time and travel headaches? Ever wish you could always know with absolute confidence that the client information and financial data you have is in synch with what your clients have? There is. Web-based programs like Intacct and eliminate the travel headache and eliminate the data synchronization problem. With web-based programs, the information you are using is always up-to-date with what the client is using. Which means you can collaborate with a client in real time from any location. So you can cancel some of those overnight flights or day meetings. That's a time saver I find hard to resist. How about you? Do you have any travel or engagement nightmares you'd like to share? Have you discovered the advantages of using a web-based accounting program?

The Future of Your Client Accounting Services Practice

Where will your client accounting services practice be in a few years? Will your firm and your clients be prospering and growing? Do you believe in luck? Or, do you believe you make your own luck? If, like me, you are among the latter, then it's time to take a serious look at the new on-demand technologies and business solutions featured on this web site. These new business tools are transforming, reshaping, re-inventing, and re-energizing the way we will do business for years to come. Do you agree? Please weigh in with your thoughts.

In this economy, do 401(k) plans still matter?

With the current economic crisis, it wasn't just the stock market, banks, hedge funds, insurance and auto companies that took a big hit. Employee retirement plans took a nose dive, too. Will your clients' employees (and your staff) who are nearing retirement be able to look forward to a secure and comfortable retirement? Or, will we all have to work into our “Golden Years?” That's the million-dollar question on everyone's mind these days!

Well, it's true that a lot of corporate and small business pension plans and 401(k) plans got walloped by the current economic crisis. However, there is good news on the horizon. For example, a recent Special Report in BusinessWeek (July 2, 2009) was titled IBM Reinvents the 401(k). The report went on to explain how “Staffers were nervous when Big Blue replaced its pension plan with a souped-up 401(k). Now, the plan could be the new gold standard.”

As CPAs, our clients (and our staff) often look to us for trusted business advice on matters that often go way beyond our accounting and auditing functions. Do you know all of the options out there? For example, do you know the key advantages of a 401(k) versus a SIMPLE IRA? (See this online comparison chart courtesy of Paychex — part of our Trusted Business Advisor Solutions family.)

Have you been keeping up on new developments in retirement plans for both your clients and your firm? What do you think? What about Social Security and Medicare? Will they still be around in 10, or 20, or 30 years? What would you recommend to your clients who want to offer a solid retirement plan for their employees? Please share your thoughts here.