tough questions, smart answers 

202 questions and answers: managing an accounting practice, the complete 2-volume set

by edward mendlowitz, cpa, abv, pfs

202 questions and answers, the 650-page encyclopedia of real-world practice management

with tables, checklists, sample letters, illustrative examples, real-life stories, step-by-step instructions, and appendices.

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digital option: add the instant download ebook to your order to start benefiting immediately. get both volumes in a single pdf.


the complete two-volume set!

fantastic…! wise…! great reference…!

withum-smith+brown partner ed mendlowitz is the dear abby of accounting, providing answers to tough questions from colleagues, peers and anyone else who wants to reach out for years. this fantastic book is a compilation of their questions and his wise answers on a huge range of topics related to running a practice, from how to raise rates or add new service lines, to how to deal with careless staff or plan your retirement. a great reference to keep by your desk for whenever you run up against a problem. – accountingtoday

praise for the 卡塔尔世界杯常规比赛时间 “practice doctor”

ed mendlowitz, the 卡塔尔世界杯常规比赛时间 practice doctor
ed mendlowitz, the 卡塔尔世界杯常规比赛时间 practice doctor
  • i always enjoy reading ed’s insights on all matters accounting. – robert greenfest, cpa
  • ed is spot on. – mark lee
  • love it. thank you. – adam
  • great ideas – thank you! – patricia beckwith, cpa
  • i think that we should all read ed’s lists. – jonathan gorman
  • excellent tips, mendlowitz! – monika goel
  • ed, you are right! – gabe
  • great!  refreshing and insightful! learning should be the goal in this rapidly changing world and not the ‘check the box for compliance’ approach that many cpas routinely do to get that off their list. i love your ideas. – tom hood
  • great advice, ed! you just saved me a lot of trouble as we are moving to this model after tax season. – frank stitely
  • excellent! well done! – dan domancich, cpa, cfp(r)
  • thank you. very well done. – frank pasternak, cpa
  • very useful. i find 5% of my clients taking up 25% of my time. most of this additional 20% is uncovered through billing. it is the same clients year after year. – mike, ea
  • ed, thanks for the various strategies for business growth. i appreciate the idea of building alliances with attorneys that specialize in the same area. it triggered some new strategies for me as well. – ranjana k busch, cpa, chartered accountant (canada)
  • ed, congratulations on a well-written work that covers the waterfront. even if people only implement half of these, they should be able to get their new business development efforts off and running. – doug brown

from the foreword

by bill hagaman, managing partner, withum smith + brown

this book brings together ed’s forty-plus years of experience as an entrepreneur and a professional services provider.  its easy-to-ready q&a format makes it a great reference tool for accountants at all stages of their career. ed’s mentorship of our partners and staff has been invaluable. his philosophies on managing an accounting firm, our clients and oneself are timeless, full of common sense and most importantly, successful. my favorite chapter is the “family tree of referrals,” discussing how to work smarter by understanding the power of referral sources, and having the confidence that new business will come when deciding to cull unprofitable and irritating clients.  it’s sage advice which every partner at every cpa firm should follow. enjoy the book, and may you have the discipline to follow through on ed’s recommendations.  you’ll be a better person – and professional – for it.

99 reasons to get all 202 q’s & a’s in the 2-volume set

  1. 10 questions to ask yourself before you decide to add financial services to your practice
  2. 10 reasons clients don’t pay, and what to do about it
  3. 11 tips for keeping partners in sync with each other
  4. 13 ways to get better value from using timesheets
  5. 14 techniques to get your first clients in a new practice
  6. 15 tips for the novice manager
  7. 17 ingredients for successful change management projects
  8. 19 easy staff retention ideas
  9. 19 tips on how not to lose a lawsuit
  10. 22 guidelines for outsourced bookkeeping services
  11. 32 guidelines for outsourced cfo services
  12. 32 reasons to do a deal
  13. 47 types of business valuation services
  14. 5 clauses to clarify and protect
  15. 5 ways for a young cpa to network
  16. 5 ways to bill for phone calls
  17. 78 potential value-add services
  18. 8 elements in determining a value-based price
  19. 8 traits that make for a happy cpa
  20. abandoning timesheets
  21. adding family office services
  22. administrative help
  23. advising a client buying or selling a business 139
  24. asking an attorney for a referral fee
  25. average fee for a review
  26. being judged based on the clients you have
  27. below normal fee assignments
  28. buying a practice from an estate
  29. charging clients late fees
  30. choosing a type of office and car
  31. collecting past due fees
  32. complaining client
  33. complaining partners
  34. consulting with a client who is also a friend
  35. credit card payments
  36. curing careless staff
  37. dealing with busy season demands
  38. employee who wants a partnership
  39. essential data for a merger or acquisition discussion
  40. finding out what you don’t know
  41. firm management skills for non-managing partners
  42. helping a client sell their business
  43. how much should overhead be
  44. how partners really spend their time
  45. how to get paid faster
  46. how to nurture a staffer’s professional growth
  47. improving quality control
  48. increasing fees and losing clients
  49. increasing fixed annual fees
  50. initial financial planning consultation
  51. instructional letter to accompany practice continuation letter
  52. keeping track of client documents
  53. keeping up to date with technology
  54. letter agreement that can be made with a fellow practitioner
  55. letters to send when a practice is acquired from an estate
  56. letters to send when you buy a practice
  57. letting staff go after tax season
  58. life is better without this client
  59. longtime employee wants super big raise
  60. lowball fees
  61. making meetings more productive
  62. managing client meetings
  63. managing multiple projects
  64. managing partner by default
  65. managing partner’s book of business
  66. merging your practice
  67. mitigating risk in new services
  68. moonlighting staff
  69. not to offer a free initial consultation
  70. notifying clients of a partner’s retirement
  71. partnership buy-sell agreement
  72. practice continuation in event of a death or disability
  73. preparing to sell your practice in a few years? 13 things you need to know today
  74. price to pay for a practice
  75. prior accountant did a lousy job
  76. quoting a fixed price
  77. reasons for cpa firm mergers
  78. recognizing a value pricing opportunity
  79. referral from a bad accountant
  80. retaining small business clients
  81. sample engagement letter for family office services
  82. selling practice to staff
  83. serving on a not-for-profit organization board
  84. seven ways to increase fees
  85. six touchy issues when clients divorce
  86. staff development and growth checklist
  87. staff evaluations
  88. staff person wants a fancy title
  89. succession planning for cpas
  90. suggesting additional services to clients
  91. suing a client
  92. taking notes at cpe programs
  93. talking too much trying to get a client
  94. ten tips to managing an acquired tax practice
  95. the quicker you bill, the quicker you’re paid
  96. the right attitude for an exit strategy
  97. thinking about selling
  98. three and a half ways to get into your own cpa practice
  99. time vs. value pricing

from the introduction

by ed mendlowitz

for over 40 years i have asked fellow professionals for assistance, and for almost as long i have reached out to offer assistance. as professionals, we do not live and work in a vacuum. we need each other and the more we collaborate the more we all grow.

i have not done everything i would have liked to do, but through interaction with fellow cpas, colleagues, other professionals, staff and clients i have learned many things and i’ve tried to refine some of those lessons here. without sharing, i would not have been as successful. i have also learned that sharing causes me to grow also. it forces me to be clearer about what i do, be able to express myself better, help me better articulate my thoughts, and puts me in contact with some of the brightest people i know – my fellow cpas.

at some point i realized that many of the questions repeated themselves and that most of us have the same concerns. for that reason i started to write up the most often asked questions with my answers. there are, of course, very few perfect answers. but, hopefully, through the thorough consideration of the question and the possible solutions, the best (if not perfect) answer can emerge. i hope that you can get some your questions answered here.

about the author

edward mendlowitz – cpa, abv, pfs
partner, withumsmith+brown

edward mendlowitz is a partner in withum smith + brown’s new brunswick, nj, office and has over 40 years of public accounting experience. he is a licensed certified public accountant in the states of new jersey and new york and is accredited by the american institute of certified public accountants (aicpa) in business valuation (abv), certified in financial forensics (cff) and as a personal financial specialist (pfs). ed is also admitted to practice before the united states tax court and has testified as an expert witness in federal and state court regarding business valuations, and twice at the house ways and means committee on tax reform, fairness, and reduction

a graduate of city college of new york, ed earned his bachelor of business administration degree. he is a member of the aicpa, the new jersey society of certified public accountants (njscpa) and the new york state society of certified public accountants (nysscpa). also, ed was a founding partner of mendlowitz weitsen, llp, cpas, which merged with ws+b in 2005. currently, he serves on the nysscpa estate planning committee and was chairman of the committee that planned the nysscpa’s 100th anniversary. the author of 19 books, ed has also written hundreds of articles for business and professional journals and newsletters. he is the contributing editor to the practitioners publishing company’s 706/709 deskbook, and the aicpa’s management of an accounting practice handbook, corporate controller’s handbook and wiley’s handbook on budgeting and is on the editorial board of bottom line/personal newsletter and the journal of accountancy member panel on business valuation. appearing regularly on television news programs, ed has also been quoted in numerous major newspapers and periodicals in the united states. he is the recipient of the lawler award for the best article published during 2001 in the journal of accountancy.

ed is a frequent speaker to many professional and business groups, including the aicpa, njscpa, nysscpa, american management association, the national committee for monetary reform, university of medicine and dentistry in nj and many more. for 11 years, he taught courses on financial analysis, corporate financial policy and theory, monetary and fiscal policy and managerial accounting in the mba program at fairleigh dickinson university.


202 questions and answers: managing an accounting practice, the complete 2-volume set