Last year there were 17 Practical Accountant Practice Innovation Awards given out. The award goes to public accounting firms that take the lead in developing a new service area, improving services to their clients, or promoting efficiency in the practice of public accounting.

One of my favorite winners was the firm that started from scratch and created an alliance of independent regional accounting firms, consultants, and vendors to secure local market engagements from public companies seeking Section 404 compliance services. This initiative helped the accounting firm realize its strategic goal of entering the 404 market, contributing to both some $1.9 million in new revenues and to staff growth, and returned, on average, a 58 percent margin per project, almost two times the firm's average margin.

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