Are regulatory changes forcing CPA firms out of the accounting software consulting and reselling business?

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We exited the software reselling business because it made good business sense, not because of regulation. The mindset of selling software is different than the mindset of being an objective, trusted business advisor. Second, selling and supporting software require a critical mass to be effective. The software VAR business is consolidating and the independent software VARs often have more mass, and more focus on sales and marketing, so the CPA firm cannot keep up. We think CPA firm consultants need to operate at a level above the software VARs and help clients make

the right technology decisions and not be affected by any financial impact from their clients’ decisions.

Dan Schroeder
Amper Consulting
Edison, N.J.

Partner Insights

I believe they are being forced to move out of the software consulting and reselling business.

Jered Cady
Synergy Business Solutions
Bellevue, Wash.

We work only in the not-for-profit arena and provide the usual complement of CPA firm services as well as nonprofit accounting and fund raising software and consulting services. While at this point, at the national and Washington state level we are not prohibited from providing attest, tax, and software services, we sense other people’s feelings of hopelessness about going against the tide of inevitability, the non-thinking cliché that what must be good for the big boys (SEC companies) must be good for the rest of us. We strongly believe that not being able to provide our current mix of services to our nonprofit customers will be a huge dis-service.

Char Davies, CPA,
Jacobson Jarvis & Co.
Seattle

We certainly hope so.

Michael Silver, CPA
Omnios
Buffalo Grove, Ill.

We are certainly taking a closer look at our individual practice units and looking for ways to make them more independent from the attestation services. We are taking steps now to prepare for what may be coming in the future, but we won’t make a final move until we have a more precise definition of independence. As a small regional firm that doesn’t service SEC clients, we are still waiting to see what filters down to our level.

Bob Kohlmeyer, CPA
DWD Technology Group
Division of Dulin, Ward & DeWald, CPAs
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Starting in 1986, we operated as the technology consulting division of Master Sidlow and Associates. We rolled our Solomon/Great Plains/CRM and security assessment consulting practice into a separate legal entity and formed Intellitec Solutions on August 1, 2001. Since then, we have partnered with CPA firms who have offered these services in general but were precluded for specific audit clients who fall under the government audit regulations. These relationships have worked very well for us, the client, and the referring CPA firm. In addition, the Intellitec rollout helped us expand into the Washington D.C.; Baltimore, Md.; and Philadelphia, Pa., metro areas where our CPA firm was not well known.

Rick Sommer, CPA, CEO
Intellitec Solutions
Philadelphia

Our CPA firm focuses exclusively on accounting and fundraising software for nonprofit organizations. We also provide additional business advisor, financial management, and outsourcing services. We have always felt that it was a conflict of interest for the traditional CPA firm that provides independent audit services to provide these management services, so these regulatory changes are probably long over due. We plan to partner with the traditional CPA firms to help them serve their clients’ needs and meet these regulatory requirements.

James A. Simpson, CPA
Financial Technologies & Management
Indianapolis, Ind.

Many CPA firms we work with as a strategic partner are discussing the issue and considering getting out of the business. The firms that are successful are asking how they can use firms like ours or are thinking of spinning the organization off as a separate entity. Many firms that did not embrace or did not understand the business have already closed the software sales and support business over the last two years.

Barr Snyderwine
EYT
Chantilly, Va.

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