In our multi-state tax consulting practice in Silicon Valley, we often see that sales tax is an afterthought in companies’ finance departments. Why? Many companies have net operating losses (NOLs) for income tax purposes, and they often don’t consider the ramifications of sales tax. Further, many of our clients sell intangible products—like software, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, or digitally downloaded information—and those items don’t seem to be taxable. Plus, in California most of those items do qualify for sales tax exemptions; but that’s not the case in all states. As such, with an already long “to do” list, CFOs and corporate controllers may not put sales tax concerns on the front burner. In a recent blog post, we explained why it’s not a good idea for a company’s corporate controller to take on the burden of sales tax. In some organizations, however, these responsibilities fall to the CFO. This post explains why this likely isn’t the best option, either.
Tag Archive for CPA Firms
I have worked with many CPA firms to establish and/or re-engineer their mentoring system and their performance review process. These two things are such an important part of the culture within public accounting firms.
Of course, there is a lot to talk about and a way to communicate in these areas. In fact, communication is one of the most challenging issues consultants to the CPA profession are seeing inside CPA firms.
I find that partners don’t communicate enough OR they have way too many meetings. I also get lots of questions about exactly how to communicate with a subordinate about their performance or how to give meaningful advice to someone you are mentoring.
At your accounting firm, as you enter the season of performance reviews and more frequent mentoring sessions, please keep in mind that you have a special power. Silence is power.
Inside your firm you probably know of situations where “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” but if you really want to increase the power of your voice, silence can be a powerful tool.
In summary, inside accounting firms communication needs to be enhanced at all levels. In conversations inside your accounting firm, often silence is golden.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
Inside CPA firms, we have many generations of people (and work styles) working together to serve clients. The variety of work styles might cause friction at times. My advice is to be understanding of what makes different people more productive and comfortable while getting the work completed in a timely and complete manner.
Some firms are proud of the fact that they can offer every accountant a private office. Some firms are proud of the fact that they offer open seating and the ability for easy collaboration. Some firms have redesigned office space so that cubicles are on the outside with window access and the offices are on the interior walls with glass doors and fronts to enable the daylight to reach them. Many firms have remained with the traditional set-up – partners and managers’ offices on the outside with windows and cubes taking up the interior.
When I walked into my first CPA firm many years ago, it was a culture of absolutely no radios and no excessive talking. I would describe it as quiet and contemplative. On a summer afternoon it was very difficult not to doze off!
Now there is some discussion about the use of earbuds, headphones and even TVs in CPA offices. I’ll weigh-in: I think earbuds are great – they give you some privacy when there really isn’t any. It is easy for those who love to work listening to music to do so and those who don’t to do the same.
I found the TV comment interesting. Many firms now do have TVs in the lobby (tuned to the financial stations) and even in each individual partner office. Personally, I love the lobby TV and do not like the personal partner TV idea.
A final comment, in most offices people want their computer monitor with its back to the door so passers-by and visitors can’t see it. They are adamant about it. It always makes me wonder what they are really looking at on that screen.
“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”