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CPAConnect Sponsor Guide Leaders achieving change.

CPAConnect Sponsor Guide

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Who is CPAConnect? CPAConnect is the companion membership to CPAmerica International and comprised of a select group of sole practitioners and small independent CPA firms. Created in 1993, membership in CPAConnect now includes more than 175 firms nationwide, with many of the members being aligned with or sponsored by a CPAmerica member. CPAConnect members face many of the same competitive pressures as CPAmerica firms. In fact, the pressures can be even greater because they generally face them alone. Many of these smaller firms are finding it impossible to be “all things for all people” due to their size and available resources.

What is a CPAmerica sponsor? The CPAmerica sponsorship of a CPAConnect firm is the opportunity to work cooperatively with smaller CPA practitioners in your geographic area. By establishing a helping and trusting relationship between a larger firm and a smaller firm, the smaller firm can offer a wider range of services to their clients by teaming up with the larger sponsor firm within a noncompetitive and cooperative environment. Participation in this activity is completely voluntary and should be undertaken primarily by those members who believe it will assist them in meeting one or more of their growth or marketing objectives. Members should approach being a sponsor, not only by looking at the benefits of participation, but by understanding the obligations as well.

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www.cpamerica.org • (352)727-4070


Benefits of becoming a sponsor CPAConnect sponsorship provides the sponsoring CPAmerica firm an opportunity to: 1.

Provide smaller practitioners with additional capacity to service and keep clients by offering sponsor firm’s expanded service and niche capabilities, as well as various industry specializations. This is especially true for upstream referrals of audit opportunities because most CPAConnect members do not perform those services.

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Assist the CPAConnect firm by means of a practice continuation agreement. Many sponsors have these agreements in place in the event an unfortunate disability or untimely death befalls a partner in a CPAConnect firm.

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Acquire a CPAConnect member through a potential M&A transaction.

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Offer the opportunity for down-streaming “C” and “D” CPAmerica clients.

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Gain additional expertise through the specialized niche capabilities or certifications offered by the CPAConnect member.

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Market specialized services to CPAConnect members, such as wealth management or business valuations.

Traits of successful sponsors Some common traits among firms successful in CPAConnect sponsorship: 1.

Top-down approval. The leading partner supports the program and ensures compliance among other partners and staff.

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The sponsorship program is complementary to the growth objectives of the firm.

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The firm designates a partner or senior manager as CPAConnect Liaison. The person not only interfaces with CPAConnect staff during the recruitment process but also serves as the gatekeeper for CPAConnect members requesting assistance from the sponsor.

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The marketing director works cooperatively with the CPAConnect Liaison on related sponsor activities, recognizing that the program assists the firm in fulfilling its own goals and objectives.

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The sponsor takes to heart the minimum criteria to be successful and makes a concerted effort to fulfill those requirements each year.

CPAConnect Sponsor Guide

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Sponsor firm criteria checklist To provide uniformity among all CPAmerica sponsors, the CPAmerica board of directors approved the following activities as the recommended criteria for sponsor firms. These basic requirements are intended to foster stronger relationships between sponsor firms and their respective CPAConnect members. Note: Those sponsors who meet these criteria will be paid part of the dues revenue generated by their CPAConnect member to offset out-of-pocket expenses.

Hold one face-to-face meeting with each new CPAConnect member within 3 months of their joining CPAConnect. Provide complimentary 15-minute phone consultations/second opinions. Include all CPAConnect members on firm mailing lists for newsletters and announcements. Invite all CPAConnect members to in-house CPE (at a charge, if appropriate), excluding in-house CPE focusing on firm-specific processes or confidential client matters. Invite all CPAConnect members to at least one annual firm outing/event, e.g., parties, golf outings, etc., if applicable. Offer a minimum of two complimentary in-person meetings per year for all CPAConnect members. These meetings may be individual, one-on-one meetings with each CPAConnect member, group meetings with all/multiple members, or a combination. Establish a communication method with between the partners at your CPAConnect sponsored firms with either the CPAConnect champion(s) at your firm or all partners at your firm.

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www.cpamerica.org • (352)727-4070


Recruiting CPAConnect member firms The most successful method for recruiting a CPAConnect member is by personal invitation. By encouraging the partners and managers of a CPAmerica firm to provide one recommendation each, the sponsoring firm could expect to secure two to three CPAConnect firms each year. These recommendations may come from either a personal knowledge of a local CPA firm they have met at a state society meeting or someone with whom they have worked in the past. People who were sought out for membership and personally invited tend to be more successful members of CPAConnect. The invitation should involve a one-on-one meeting at your office or an invitation to participate in a group event where CPAConnect is discussed, and can include an online personalized virtual tour of CPAConnect services by your association staff.

CPAmerica recruiting support For those choosing to recruit CPAConnect members, CPAmerica will assist you in developing (or improving) a member recruitment and sponsorship program. Resources and assistance available include: 1.

Providing sponsor firm resources in the CPAConnect Sponsor Community on the members-only website. The community includes a sample invitation letter, membership application, dues schedule, and other materials that will help your firm establish a CPAConnect sponsor program.

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Offering marketing materials such as a CPAConnect Member Guide – a printed brochure that will introduce a prospect to an overview of CPAConnect’s member benefits and resources.

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Conducting members-only website tours for prospective members, followed up with personal calls from both CPAmerica staff and advisory committee members.

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Providing onsite recruitment and assistance by the Director of Member Services, when appropriate.

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Developing prospect lists for the sponsor’s specific geographic area.

6. Assisting with bulk mailings, email solicitations, or personal calls.

CPAConnect Sponsor Guide

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Next steps after recruiting firms Getting off on the right foot is the best way to establish a beneficial business relationship between your firm and your sponsored CPAConnect associate. Here are some suggestions that will help in making that first meeting a success: Time Frame Each sponsor firm should meet face-to-face with each new CPAConnect member within 3 months of the firm joining, preferably at the CPAmerica member’s office. Attendees Include all partners from the CPAConnect firm, if possible, so that more than one person at the sponsored firm becomes familiar with your firm. Also, include as many partners and/or other key personnel from your firm as possible. Location Because the initial meeting is in your office, invite the CPAConnect member to take an office tour so they can meet multiple people from your firm. Likewise, within the first year, make an attempt to visit the CPAConnect member’s office to become acquainted with their staff and surroundings.

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www.cpamerica.org • (352)727-4070


Suggested agenda for first meeting Below are a list of suggested topics to go over at your first meeting: 1.

Who should they contact at your firm for assistance? Will you want them to simply contact your CPAConnect champion, or do you prefer they contact individuals with expertise directly? Provide lists and expertise of personnel at your firm (especially if you prefer they contact individuals directly).

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Ask about practice specialties and needs of the CPAConnect member. Look for expertise they may have which you lack, as well as expertise they lack which you have. Also, listen for any general assistance they may need which you can provide.

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In response to listening to their information, provide the same for your firm. Focus on any specific services or expertise you have that may benefit their clients, and any needs of yours for which they might provide assistance or services.

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Provide them with an overview of services you plan to offer them on a regular basis. This would include the basic requirements listed on page 4 sponsor, and any other optional activities you plan to provide. (e.g., your firms’ CPE schedule, and annual practice management meetings).

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Suggest that the CPAConnect member arrange a webinar for the partners (or the entire firm if desired) with the CPAConnect staff to learn the features and capabilities of the members-only website.

CPAConnect Sponsor Guide

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CPAmerica International 104 N. Main Street, 5th FL Gainesville, FL 32601

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D’Yãn Davis Director of Member Services ddavis@cpamerica.org www.cpamerica.org • (352)727-4070

2018 CPAConnect Sponsor Guide  
2018 CPAConnect Sponsor Guide