Sandi Leyva Training Solutions for Accountants

October 14, 2013

10th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business

SANDI SMITH LEYVA NAMED FINALIST IN
10th ANNUAL STEVIE® AWARDS FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Stevie Award Winners to Be Announced in New York on November 8

Plano, TX – October 11, 2013 – Sandi Smith Leyva was named a Finalist in two categories – Maverick of the Year and Mentor/Coach of the Year in the 10th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business, and will ultimately be a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees and the companies they run – worldwide.  The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced during a gala event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on Friday, November 8.  Nominated women executives and entrepreneurs from the U.S.A and several other countries are expected to attend.

Sandi Smith Leyva, CPA and founder of Sandra L. Leyva, Inc., has introduced breakthrough change in the accounting industry by introducing several new products and services to boost the results of the smallest of accounting practices, those earning under half a million in revenue each year.  She has rolled out four new service lines in the past year, including Accelerator Website packages, a new JumpStart Your Accounting Startup program, outsourced CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) services for clients that want to turn everything over to Sandi’s team, and a workshop series.  Client comments include:  “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have a business here today,”  “There seems to be no end to the benefits of your program,” “My income is up 25% over last year,” “Sandi Smith Leyva has helped me work more efficiently, grow my business, and increase profits!”

“For 10 years we have been recognizing the achievements of women in business, and this year’s nominations were the most impressive class the judges have ever reviewed,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards.  “We look forward to seeing the final judges’ decisions and honoring this year’s Stevie winners in New York next month.”

“What’s great about helping accountants change is that they can pass on the ideas they learned to each of their 200 (on average) small business clients, making a ripple effect of financial success across a large number of small businesses,” explains Ms. Leyva.

About Sandra L. Leyva, Inc.

Sandra L. Leyva, Inc. is a Texas corporation with offices in San Jose, CA and Plano, TX. Accountant’s Accelerator, a division of Sandra L. Leyva, Inc., is a marketing-focused practice growth program for CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, tax preparers, and other self-employed accounting professionals who want to grow their practices. More than 450 members from 47 states and 6 countries have boosted their marketing skills, learned new revenue streams, and strengthened client retention.  Other divisions include Accelerator WebsitesUltimate Accounting vCon (a joint venture with Long for Success, LLC), BizBoost News, and BrainWays Training & Development.  Learn more at http://accountantsaccelerator.com/

About The Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in five programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

October 11, 2013

Links I Like – 8

  1. Supreme Court to Decide Payroll Tax Issue on Severance Pay
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2013/10/01/supreme-court-to-decide-whether-severance-payments-are-subject-to-fica-taxes/
  2. California Crackdown on Tax Evaders – Good for Business?
    http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_24260205/legislation-aims-crack-down-tax-evasion
  3. Xero Offers Free QuickBooks Conversion Service
    http://www.xero.com/us/convert
  4. Please take Intuit’s Rates Survey
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/intuitratesurvey

October 9, 2013

Is Your Chart of Accounts Stuck in the 1970s?

One of the value-added services we can offer clients is to align their chart of accounts with their tax form so that the numbers are easy to pull off at tax time.    But there’s an even bigger opportunity if we take a deeper look.

The traditional expense classifications on these forms are badly out of date.  For example, “Advertising” is listed, but “Marketing” is nowhere to be found.  Advertising and marketing are not the same!  Hardly anyone advertises anymore in our profession, but a lot of us market.  While we still need to comply with these forms, we need a different system if we are going to meet the needs of today’s startup businesses.

Changing With the Times

While the default charts of accounts provided with software are much more robust than our current tax forms, they still fall short.  Most haven’t changed since before the Internet.  Almost all haven’t changed for social media expenses.  They haven’t changed to account for cloud accounting costs.  They simply haven’t changed for a lot of new things we have expenses for now.

This disconnect provides accountants with a wonderful opportunity to custom-design a “modern” chart of accounts to meet the needs of today’s entrepreneurs.   My favorite area for improvement is, of course, accounting for marketing expenses.

Where Do Marketing Expenses Get Posted in Your Chart of Accounts?

When it comes to accounting for marketing expenses, I truly believe we need some big changes.  Where do you put business cards expenses?  Usually, it’s coded to office expenses or printing.  Where do you put the costs for a direct mail campaign?  Printing, postage, and professional fees (assuming you hired a graphics designer) contain these expenses.  Where do you put your social media expenses or the cost of your web site?  Since these expenses didn’t exist before most charts of accounts were designed, there might just be some changes that need to be made.

Shouldn’t you be able to see your marketing spend at a glance?

As both a CPA and a marketer, I want to know my total marketing spend at a glance.  I also want to know my selling spend.  That includes labor.  In addition to knowing my marketing spend, I want to know how much we’ve spent on each marketing channel as well as what it costs me to market each of our service lines.

Accountants that can answer those questions for their clients will be providing invaluable advice like a trusted advisor should.

October 8, 2013

Refer A Friend

We’re pretty jazzed to announce our new Accountant’s Accelerator 2014 Refer-A-Friend special offer.  We’d love for you to help us spread the word about our program.  And we think you should be rewarded for your efforts.

So here’s the offer:

  1. Tell your accountant friends about our program.  Your friend must be a new client, not an AA alum.  You can send them to http://fillyouraccountingpractice.com  or https://accountantsaccelerator.com/.  Be sure to show them the testimonials page:  http://accountantsaccelerator.com/testimonials/  We add new testimonials almost every week.
  2. Email your friend’s name and email address to support@sandismith.com with a subject line of “Refer-a-Friend,” and let us know you sent them.  We will not contact them directly.  We will not put them on any list.  You have our word on that.
  3. When their sale comes through, you’ll earn a $75 Amex Gift Card that we’ll mail to you.   You can earn multiple gift cards if you send us multiple new clients!

We do have a couple of rules:

  1. This program cannot be combined with our affiliate program.  Any new client coming through on an affiliate cookie will not qualify.
  2. Any marketing messages you send out on our behalf must be completely professional, with no pressure and no exaggerated promises.
  3. In case of conflicts, final judgment regarding this program and prizes awarded will rest with us.
  4. We hope to run this program for several weeks, but we reserve the right to end the program at any time.
  5. No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  Etc. etc.

This offer starts today, so feel free to start spreading the word right away!

Thank you so much for being part of the Accountant’s Accelerator program.    We appreciate you.

January 14, 2012

Anchor 2012 with a Theme

Filed under: Accounting Marketing,Grow Your Accounting Practice — 1o49d @ 6:36 pm


It’s 2012, and according to all of the experts, we’re in for a wild ride this year.  With predictions of the end of the world, political egos running wild, and a couple of dictators still in power who aren’t right in the head, 2012 may just be the year to declare a theme to help you stand by the goals you have for your business.

Deciding on a theme for the year will give you a focus and a new perspective on your work and your routines.   It can be highly rejuvenating to look at things through the lens of your new theme.

Ideas for themes are limited only by your imagination.  Some possible themes include:

  • Abstract themes, such as abundance, creativity, or diversity. At the risk of sounding a little fluffy, an esoteric theme might be just what you need in 2012.  A theme with abundance will allow you to think big, be abundantly generous with others, and search for large contracts.   A theme with diversity will challenge you to be more open-minded.  I’ve been doing a lot of work lately in the area of forgiveness.  You may also want to consider gratitude or humility or service. 
  • Relationships. Your year might be dedicated to meeting new associates and building business relationships.  Your action item might be to spend more time networking, participating in groups, and going to accounting conferences or meetings.
  • A new service. Perhaps you’re launching a new service, such as financial services for the elderly, and need to focus on developing this new line of business. 
  • Giving back. On a personal note, you might value volunteering and decide to organize your year around a couple of volunteer opportunities.  
  • Growth. You might want to consider a growth-related theme, such as productivity or profitability.  You might also want to develop a new skill such as learning a new language, developing your people or communication skills, or taking a philosophy class at your local junior college. 
  • Exploring. If you’ve retired or the business is starting to run smoothly without your day-to-day input, it might be time for that trip around the world.
  • Organizing, detoxing, or cleansing. Consider cleaning out your garage (or your office), upgrading your systems, re-designing your filing system, auditing your own books, going on a cleanse or a vacation to an ashram, or another project that will leave you feeling clutter- and worry-free.

As you choose you goals for 2012, make sure the majority of them support your theme for the year.  Themes can bring an overarching focus to our practices and our lives.

My theme for the year is “higher self.”  My challenge for myself in 2012 is to be my best self always in everything I do, say, and feel.

What’s your theme?  I’d love for you to share yours on my blog or on my Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/sandismithleyva.

December 28, 2011

The Three Biggest Money Leaks in Your Service Business

Filed under: Accounting Marketing,Grow Your Accounting Practice — 1o49d @ 9:13 am

There are dozens (and maybe hundreds) of ways your business can leak money. In this article, I’ll visit three ideas that are fairly simple to implement and may be some great goals for you to consider for 2012.

1. Multi-tasking.

It’s so interesting how multi-tasking makes our brains feel like we’re accomplishing more. But scientific studies show how inefficient multi-tasking really is and that we’re accomplishing quite a bit less when we multi-task.

The quintessential example is driving while talking on a cell phone, which is actually so life-threatening that we have laws against it in many states. In life or death work settings such as hospitals and airplanes, multi-tasking can also have fatal effects. In the typical workplace where lives are not at stake, then multi-tasking is simply a waste of time, money, and energy.

Taking steps to move from multi-tasking to developing superior time management practices in your business workflow will allow you to plug this common money leak. It’s a habit we need to consciously work on breaking.

2. Marketing on the fly.

In many service businesses, it’s feast or famine when it comes to clients. That’s because when you have work, you’re too busy to market, and when you don’t have work, you may be reacting to the next marketing idea that falls in your inbox. The result is a money leak that has you paying way too much for marketing that often does not return your investment.

The answer is twofold. One is to get enough marketing training so that you know what marketing investments are going to return the most value for your business. The second is to create a year-round plan to smooth out your marketing efforts.

3. Lost customer opportunities.

In just about every business I’ve worked with, there are opportunities within your current customer base that have not been harvested. When you offer multiple services or products, it may even be that some of your clients do not know everything you do.

Here’s one of dozens of quick “aha” exercises I provide in my Accountant’s Accelerator program that is bound to uncover some revenue opportunities for most of you. Open a clean spreadsheet to get started. In the rows, list each current customer you have. Along the columns, list your current service lines. In each cell, drop in the revenue you received from that customer. The blank cells should reveal some opportunities for 2012 revenue.

Get started on the right foot in 2012 by plugging these three money leaks in your business.

December 20, 2011

Six Strategies to Give Yourself a Raise for 2012

Filed under: Accounting Marketing,Grow Your Accounting Practice — 1o49d @ 8:35 pm

When I worked in the corporate world, it was always great to get a raise.  Now that I am an entrepreneur, raises are replaced by increases in revenue and profits.  More revenue and profits are nice, as long as we’re not working correspondingly more hours.  So how can we give ourselves a true raise: work the same amount of hours or less and make more?  Here are ten strategies for your consideration:

  1. Take on more profitable work by knowing your opportunity number.  In order to do this one, we need to know our gross margins by service or product line.  When we know our numbers, we can figure out what projects we can take on that increase the margins rather than lower them.  One example of this is to know your opportunity number.  Right now, my opportunity number is about $3,000.  I can’t easily take a new client in the door for less than that or I don’t give myself a raise.  When you know what kind of work you should be going after, you can give yourself permission to stop chasing after the small stuff and pursue the work that will give yourself a raise.2. Create new revenue streams.  This might sound hard, but it can be really simple.  Let’s pretend one of your core skills is writing, like it is for me.  At first when I sold my writing, I did it by selling articles.  Lately, I have had to get more creative.  I now sell my writing half a dozen ways:  I offer products in the form of binders I have written.   I perform marketing copywriting services for client’s websites and marketing materials.  I offer a client newsletter.  See how I can take one skill and make several different products out of it?  What skill do you have that you can make different products out of?  By thinking about what your clients need that you can offer, you can create new revenue streams and give yourself a raise.
  2. Upsell to current clients and improve your revenue per client.  Can all of your clients list every service you offer?  I know mine couldn’t!  My web design clients probably don’t know about my coaching services, and my copywriting clients probably don’t know about my speaking services.  That’s something I need to do something about!  How about you?  Do all of your clients know about every service you offer?  If not, you’re probably missing out on some revenue opportunities.
  3. Boost your marketing skills.  OK, I realize this one is a bit self-serving, but increasing the effectiveness of your marketing will lower your costs and give yourself a raise.  Every lead lost because of a miss in your sales call, a poor website, or an ineffective elevator speech makes you go after more prospects, which increases your costs and time.  Just getting an effective elevator speech can allow you to collect about 10 times as many cards for your time spent networking, and that’s a nice pickup in productivity.
  4. Use your time better.  By implementing some advanced time management techniques that aren’t all that well known, you can improve your productivity, increase you billable hours, and make more by working less.  Your stress level will also go way down, and you will have more energy.
  5. Work on your mindset.  The world we live in, and especially the U.S. culture, sure does a number on our poor brains.   It’s a surprise any of us are still sane after we take in the horrific news stories, negative or controlling people at work or in our lives, and advertising designed to make us feel inadequate.  No wonder 85% of Americans suffer from low self-esteem.  If you feel you lack confidence at times, you’re not alone.  It’s an epidemic.  We need tools to help build our confidence so we can live up to our potential and become all we can be, as the army says.

Are you ready for a raise in 2012?  Try these tips and watch your income grow.

December 13, 2011

Six Strategies to Stop Losing Business to Competitors

Filed under: Accounting Marketing,Grow Your Accounting Practice — 1o49d @ 8:35 pm

It’s rare that I lose business to competitors, and it’s also not an accident.  If you are losing business to your competitors, here are some strategies you can use to “become a category of one,” as they say in marketing.

1. Build your brand.  In accounting, professional services, and coaching, our brand is our name.  We can build it up by building our reputation for delivering results to clients and becoming a thought leader in the profession.  Do this a number of ways:  write articles, make speeches, offer teleseminars, post your testimonials and case studies, get interviewed by the press, serve on a committee or board of directors, and become a well-respected business leader in your community, to name a few.  When you build your brand, people will come asking for you by name and won’t consider others.

2. Make clients money.  Offer your services in a way that not only provides the compliance work that clients need, but that has them saving money or making more money so that your fees pay for themselves in the client’s eyes.  This is best done by getting clear how your services provide a return on investment for a client.  Often clients don’t even know how much you’ve saved them, so sometimes you need to overtly communicate this.  When you turn your final deliverable over to a client, add a report that summarizes how much you have saved your client.  This will go a long way toward getting great testimonials, more referrals, and increased client retention.

3. Stop hourly pricing.  It’s far too easy to have a prospect ask your price and compare you with someone lower.  Which is totally ludicrous, because no one can know how fast you are compared to someone else.  So if you do hourly pricing, you have to let prospects know you are faster (if you are).  The best way to get out of the whole price conversation is to bundle your services and develop fixed fee packages.   Clients love the certainty of a fixed fee, and you totally sound like you know what you are doing when you have a package.

4. Become more client-centered.  Listen.  Develop your services at the intersection of your skill set and your client’s needs.  You will benefit from constantly rolling out new products and services, and your client will think you can read their mind.

5. Learn marketing.  If you are a great technician and a lousy marketer, you’re a best-kept secret.  If you’re a great marketer and a lousy technician, you’ll have a lot of customer turnover.  You need both skill sets to succeed in this economy.  If your competitor is better than you at marketing and is an average technician, they’re likely to do just as well as you if you are a lousy marketer and a great technician.  Sad but true.

6. Put some fun into your products or services.  Last year, I had a contest and gave away an iPad.  This year, we’re taking our top tier clients to a fancy resort in Phoenix and maybe even to the Bahamas.  People are craving to have a little fun in their lives, so especially if you offer dentistry or taxes, it’s a great idea to make it as fun as possible.  Figure out what your clients will like, and add it to your service package.

Try these six strategies to beat the competition in 2012.

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