Art of Accounting: 'Wrong' Type of Continuing Education

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IMGCAP(1)]In my previous article, I discussed mandatory CPE. Today I am writing about non-mandatory courses: those covering practice management.

I have a friend who sells trophies and goes to a trophy convention in Las Vegas each year. While there, she takes courses on how to make more money selling trophies, and each time she comes home with a couple of ideas that help her run her business better and make more money.
Yet, CPAs do not do take these types of courses because they do not get CPE credit for them. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

These CPAs also call me with questions about pricing, billing and collections, better client service and retention, hiring and supervising staff and staff career management, partner compensation and succession planning, individual professional growth, new business development and general practice management. I am glad to help them and it keeps me on the pulse of what is going on out there.

I also post a monthly Top 5 Q&As and wrote a book on this (101 Questions & Answers for Managing an Accounting Practice, pub. by CPA Trendlines).

Sometimes I ask if they took any MAP (managing your accounting practice) courses or what books they have read, and I usually get the same responses from many of them: “I don’t have time for that type of CPE—there is no state credit,” “I don’t need to read any books about practice management—I do it every day” or “I’m too busy for that stuff—I take the minimum I have to.” I really do not understand them.

I feel MAP programs are as necessary as the technical courses. It seems that if each partner spent 10 or so hours a year in this regard, there would be a large positive benefit to all stakeholders—owners, employees and their families, clients and vendors.

Make training in practice management part of your “mandatory” programs, including reading a couple of books a year on the topic. It pays!

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner in WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He has authored 20 books and has written hundreds of articles for business and professional journals and newsletters plus a Tax Loophole article for every issue of TaxHotline for 27 years. Ed also writes a blog twice a week that addresses issues his clients have at He is the winner of the Lawler Award for the best article published during 2001 in the Journal of Accountancy. He has also taught in the MBA graduate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court. Ed welcomes practice management questions and he can be reached at WithumSmith+Brown, One Spring Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, (732) 964-9329,

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