Do You Need to Verify that Someone is a CPA?

Do you need to verify that someone is a CPA?

If yes, click here for

Their website says:

Free and open to the public, is a CPA lookup tool populated by official state regulatory data sent from Boards of Accountancy to a central database. The website represents the first ever single-source national database of licensed CPAs and CPA firms. Determine a CPA or CPA firm’s credentials without having to search each of the 55 Boards of Accountancy website individually.

Getting Someone to Give You a Estimate

Have you ever asked a client for an estimate–as in a ballpark number–and he responds, “I have no idea,” but you suspect that he does at least have some idea.

Picture is courtesy of

Picture is courtesy of

For instance, you’re talking with the revenue director of a December year-end client and you need an estimate of April revenues. So you ask, “What do you think your April sales were?” and your client says, “Oh the revenue numbers change so much, I don’t know.” You are in a hurry, so you don’t have time for the director to look the number up.

What can you do?

Try this: Throw a number out there (or a range of numbers).

For example: “Do you think the April revenues were more than $150,000?”

Most of the time, a question of this nature will elicit a response. Now the client is likely to respond with something like, “No, it was less than that.” My next question is, “so maybe around $125,000 to $135,000?” The client’s response might be, “well yes, that’s probably in the neighborhood.”

Now you have your number.

It may not be a perfect estimate, but at least you have some idea–and that’s all you wanted.

Where did this opinion come from?

Does your peer reviewer ever ask, “where did the wording in this opinion come from?” And you can’t remember.

It’s a good practice to keep a copy of sample reports (e.g, PPC, McGladrey, CCH) in your audit, review, or compilation files. That way, when the peer review question arises, you can point to the support in the file. This is especially true when you use wording that is not common (e.g., going concern, emphasis of a matter, disclaimers).

Tech Tip #4: How To Quickly Bring a Quote from an Email into a Response

Do you ever read an email, and a particular sentence elicits a response from you. Often, in responding, we click reply and begin to type, attempting to restate the original thought from the email.

Is there a quick way to copy the relevant sentence into your response? Yes.

First, highlight the words you desire to bring into your response.


Next, click the reply button (as you normally do).


The highlighted sentence appears in your response. Now you can comment on it. Your correspondent will love you since you’ve made it easy for her to understand exactly what you are referring to.



Tech Tip #3: Link Your Work Papers to Your Trial Balances

Many CPA firms link their trial balances to their work papers, but I still see many that do not. The consequence of not linking: Inefficiency. Firms that don’t link will re-create all their work papers every year. It doesn’t have to be that way.

How does linking work?

First, linking assumes your firm is using a paperless software package (the trial balance is a part of your paperless software).

Second, create a work paper in Excel (for example).

Third, link a cell in Excel to a number in your trial balance (say the adjusted balance for a cash account). See your paperless software package instructions for directions (the specifics of how this works is different for each paperless software package, but the concept is the same).

Once your work papers are linked, you can do magic. How? Download your trial balance, and your work papers automatically populate. It’s awesome!

So, for those work papers that look the same from year to year, build your links, and you’ll never have to re-create them again.

After you create these work papers in the first year, you will roll them over for the subsequent year’s engagement; the links will remain. When you download the trial balance for the next year, the numbers will again populate your linked work papers. Then go play some golf–you’ll have more time to do so.

Tech Tip #2: How to Select Several Pages of Text or Data

Suppose you want to select text starting on page 2 of a Word document and ending on page 7, what’s the easiest way to do so?

  1. Double-click the first word (e.g., This) that you desire to include; the word “This” will be highlighted
  2. Scroll down to the last word you desire to include on page 7 (e.g., “project”), press the shift key and click that word once; the full expanse of the text starting with “This” and ending with “project” will be highlighted

Now you can perform actions on or with the selected text (e.g., copy or delete)–depending upon your desired result.

This same selection technique works on web pages, Excel spreadsheets, or email.

Note: This selection technique does not work on a smartphone or a tablet.

Tech Tip #1: Tap Space Bar Twice at End of Sentence

When typing on a smartphone, end each sentence by tapping the space bar twice.




Doing so causes three things to occur:

  • a period is added
  • a space is added after the period
  • your next character will be capitalized

Your Own Personal English Editor: Grammarly

CPAs create plenty of documents in Word or other text editors. Like other professionals, we also create lots of emails. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal English editor as we work? That’s what Grammarly software is.

You can add Grammarly to Outlook, and it critiques your words as you type (and offers suggested changes).

I use Grammarly to review my blog posts before they are published. And recently I have started using the program to critique language in audit reports. (I never realized how often I write in passive voice.) Of course, Grammarly only makes recommendations, so the final choice of words and punctuation are up to you.

Here’s a screenshot of the program when used from their website:


Here’s a screenshot of the program when used in Word:

Grammarly corrections

And here’s an example from Outlook:

Grammarly in Outlook

Grammarly does offer a trial account, so give it a go. I think you’ll like it. The cost is $139.99 per year.

Scanbot — Document Scanner App

The Scanbot app enables you to scan documents with your phone.

Would you like to scan your travel and expense documents with your phone and place them directly into Evernote? Then they will be ready for month-end filing.

This app turns your phone into a scanner.

Scanbot allows you to take multiple pictures and place them in one document–then you can upload the scan directly to Evernote, iCloud, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.

Another use? Take a picture of handwritten meeting notes and upload them to your favorite cloud service.

The Pro version provides optical character recognition, so you can copy and paste text from scanned documents.

The app is available for Apple and Android phones.

For more information, check out Scanbot’s blog.

Keynote vs. Power Point

After using Power Point for several years, I decided to switch to an Apple presentation software called Keynote. While Power Point has improved, I still find Keynote to be a better, more professional presentation package.


I have Keynote on the following devices:

  1. iPhone
  2. iPad
  3. Mac Air

I usually create and save my presentations in iCloud, so they are accessible from any of the three devices.

Here are some of the advantages to using Keynote:

  1. Better graphics
  2. Easier to arrange pictures and words
  3. Nice special effects

One disadvantage: some places may not accommodate the use of Apple products (they may only allow Windows OS machines). So make sure your place of presentation can handle your Apple machine.