Jim Metzler visited the offices of Accountants Media Group (publisher of WebCPA, Accounting Today, Accounting Technology and Practical Accountant) this week and laid out a rough outline of what he plans to accomplish in his new role as vice president, small CPA firm interests, at the American Institute of CPAs.

As a small firm partner for more than 25 years, and more recently, as a consultant to other small firms, Jim is uniquely qualified to understand the special needs, desires, and pain points of small CPA firms. But no one person can adequately represent the interests of the 45,000 small firms operating in the U.S. or even begin to start addressing their issues without a vast amount of input from practitioners themselves.

The one-person tax and auditing shop in Wichita may have some similar concerns to the 15-person CPA firm in Sacramento trying to figure out its succession plan, but there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution for all.

Metzler knows this, and is seeking feedback from as many quarters as possible to help guide him in his mission.

To start the ball rolling, I’ll offer a piece of advice to Jim and his team: Develop a rich online resource for small firms to aid their marketing and sales efforts – a virtual toolkit with everything a small firm needs in one spot. Set up a section on public relations, complete with a primer on how to write a press release. Team with a reputable firm to offer low-cost client newsletters, Web sites, brochures and other marketing materials. Make it easy for CPAs to find and use these services.

As the marketplace becomes more competitive, small firms need to learn how to better position themselves, play to their strengths, gain and retain customers. And unlike larger firms who depend on a chief marketing officer or marketing managers to take care of this vital task, small firms are left to fend for themselves.

As Jim noted in his talk with us, small CPA firms need “tangible deliverables” and the AICPA is uniquely positioned to fill this need.

Now is the perfect opportunity for small firms to make their voices heard at the Institute. What tools and resources do you wish the AICPA were providing to help you run your practice better? What advice would you give the Institute to help overcome the perception that it’s not looking out for small firm interests? What would it take to get you involved in the effort to effect change?

Send your suggestions to me, and I’ll report back on them in a couple weeks, and forward them all to Jim at the AICPA.

This is a unique opportunity for small firm interests to have a strong voice at its member organization. Make sure your voice is heard.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access