Columbus Accounting Guide

Tech Tools

By
From the September 2013 issue of Columbus CEO

Accounting has come a long way from columnar ruled ledger paper and No. 2 pencils. Electronic document management, online client portals and cloud-based computing are typical of the technologies used by accounting firms today.

“Technology is, quite frankly, changing the landscape and reshaping our industry,” says Scott Wiley, president and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs.

“The time it takes us to do what we do has been cut tremendously because of technology,” says Joe Patrick, a shareholder in the Columbus office of Schneider Downs & Co. Inc.

“Technology is moving the industry forward. We work more efficiently and collaboratively,” says Ed Walsh, shareholder in charge of Clark Schaefer Hackett’s Columbus office.

Accountants are making the most of those efficiencies for their clients.

“It’s the quality of our hours that has improved. Technology has taken over some of the mundane tasks, so the services we provide add value to our clients,” Walsh says.

“I’d say routine work used to take up 70 percent of my time and value-added work 30 percent. Now, technology has flipped that to 70 percent value-added to 30 percent routine. That makes a big difference to clients and what we can do for them,” Patrick says.

As a result, technology is impacting what accountants charge their clients. “It’s increased profitability. The improved efficiencies help keep fees reasonable for clients,” Walsh says.

For all of its advantages, though, accountants know it’s important to balance technology with the personal touch. “Face-to-face and telephone conversations are invaluable and can’t be replaced. Technology is best when it complements client relationships,” Wiley says.

A variety of software, Web-based applications and other technology is in place at Central Ohio accounting firms large and small. Some tools are rather newwhile some are entrenched. Here’s a look at how area accounting professionals use different technologies as well as how they affect firm productivity and benefit clients.

Document Management

Accountants have long struggled with all the paper they handle. It’s no surprise that electronic document management is an industry favorite.

“Today, everything that was paper is now electronic. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have a fair amount of paper sitting on our desks, but in the end, all of it ends up in an electronic format,” Walsh says. “There’s no such thing as a paper file room today.”

“Files take up a lot of room, and firms often had to rent space that was costly,” Patrick says. “Because all of our documents are stored electronically now, we just converted our file room into an extension of our lunch room.”

It starts with electronic scanning. “Our administrative staff scans clients’ papers upfront to convert them to electronic documents. Let’s say that multiple 1099s are in the stack. The scanner sorts the documents, so all of the 1099s are together in the final scan,” Walsh says.

Electronic data from Whalen & Company CPAs is sent to a vendor who reads it using optical character recognition technology. “It automatically populates the tax return with the data, all without any keystrokes from us. It’s done in as little as 10 minutes and all of the security features are in place,” says Richard Crabtree, partner at the firm.

The Cloud

Instead of connecting directly to a server at the accounting firm, cloud-based computing stores information off-site, or “in the cloud.” Data is accessed using the Internet.

“Now, any size of firm can access customizable databases that used to be available only to larger firms,” Wiley says.

Cloud technology reduces information technology costs, because resources aren’t tied up in infrastructure. Firms can store as much data as they need and pay only for what they use.

“The cloud takes the data to our employees. They securely access information from anywhere there’s an Internet connection, and we can provide more timely service,” Walsh says.

Mobile Technology

The role of mobile technology, whether it takes the form of laptops, tablets or smartphones, cannot be overestimated.

“It’s a game changer,” Wiley says. “It’s a new lens to view how a firm manages, develops, grows, engages and transacts business.”

Staying in touch by email on the go definitely adds efficiency, but Schneider Downs is looking beyond that. “We’re developing an expense management tool that can be accessed through smartphones,” says Teresa Grady, technology consulting group manager.

A virtual private network (VPN) gives accountants remote access to the firm’s files. “I can be in Texas and get a call from a client in Pennsylvania. Within seconds, we can both be looking at the same data. I can answer their question immediately. I don’t have to remember to followup when I’m back in the office and the client doesn’t have to wait for a response,” Patrick says.

Portability is important. “Our auditors carry everything they need to a client’s office: a laptop, VPN card, portable scanner and portable printer,” Walsh says.

Mobile technology also allows employees to work from home. “In that critical time before April 15, mobile technology gives accountants new avenues to balance their life,” Wiley says.

Client Portals

Web portals let clients directly access their tax documents.

“Each of our clients has their own server site that stores their information securely. Security is a top priority when using the Web for tax-related documents. Clients appreciate that,” Grady says.

“We respond to client requests for a document right away, but they had to contact us with the request,” Crabtree says. “With a secure portal, clients can directly access the documents they need anytime without notifying us.”

Portals also save time during on-site visits. “Instead of giving me all of the information I need when I arrive, clients can start feeding it to me through the portal. That way I can have at least some of what I need for the visit ahead of time,” Patrick says.

CRM Software

Accounting firms use customer relationship management (CRM) software to build business and manage client and prospect relationships.

“The data is very accurate and flexible, so we can build targeted marketing lists. We see who has a relationship with a specific client or a prospect. It also tracks interactions, meetings and phone calls with them. It’s not new technology, but our firm has been aggressive in using it,” says Mark Shumaker, marketing manager at Schneider Downs.

Clark Schaefer Hackett uses a CRM system to tailor its electronic communications. “Clients, like everyone else, are deluged with emails. The software differentiates our messages, so they’re relevant to each client,” Walsh says.

Social Media

Social media is a must for firms that want to engage current and future clients. “It requires some effort, but social media has moved from broadcasting information to reputation management. It’s too good of an opportunity to miss connecting with clients and minding your organization’s reputation,” Wiley says.

While Whalen & Company uses traditional newsletters, seminars and face-to-face events, social media keeps it progressive. “If we’re going to service the younger generation, as well as their parents and grandparents, we must use social media to be current,” Crabtree says.

The IRS

Third-party research services keep CPA firms up-to-date on the scores of Internal Revenue Service changes that occur annually.

“Our provider tracks changes to our professional standards, the tax rules and regulations. They aggregate it and email us daily and weekly summaries,” Patrick says.

The IRS’s online e-file option debuted in 1986. “Almost all tax returns today are filed electronically using e-file. Ironically, though, if a client’s return is audited, the IRS agent asks for a paper copy,” Walsh says.

Paper, it seems, isn’t completely obsolete after all.

Lisa Hooker is a freelance writer.

 

 

Central Ohio Accounting Firms

More than 40 firms, from seven with 100 or more accountants to some with just two or three, responded to Columbus CEO’s annual survey of multiple-accountant practices. Here’s the list, in alphabetical order.

Arena & Harrison CPAs Inc.

615 Rome Hilliard Road

Columbus, Ohio 43228

(614) 878-7167

Fax (614) 878-7191

Email: ahcpa@ahcpainc.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 5

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Ary Roepcke Mulchaey

2 Miranova Place, Suite 600

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 486-3600

Fax (614) 486-3400

Email: rary@armcpa.com

Website: www.armcpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 4

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 14

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, forensic accounting, tax (business/individual)

 

Balestra, Harr & Scherer, CPAs Inc.

P.O Box 875

Circleville, Ohio 43113

(740) 474-5210

Fax (740) 474-7319

Email: harr@bhscpas.com

Website: www.bhscpas.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 42

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, governmental, tax (business/individual)

 

Blue & Co.

8800 Lyra Drive, Suite 450

Columbus, Ohio 43240

(614) 885-2583

Website: www.blueandcocom

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 5

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 35

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, healthcare tax (business/individual)

 

Bodine Perry Robinson

7620 Olentangy River Road

Columbus, Ohio 43235

(614) 431-1040

Fax (614) 431-0553

Email: info@bodineperry.com

Website: www.bodineperry.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 4

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 24

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

CBIZ/Mesarvey Russell & Co.

5450 Frantz Road, Suite 300

Dublin, Ohio 43016

(614) 793-4501

Fax (614) 793-2679

Email: mdrennen@cbiz.com

Website: www.cbiz.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 7

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Clark Schaefer Hackett

4449 Easton Way, Suite 400

Columbus, Ohio 43219

(614) 885-2208

Fax (614) 885-8159

Email: ewalsh@cshco.com

Website: www.cshcocom

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 6

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 64

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Clarus Partners

350 E. First Ave., Suite 150

Columbus, Ohio 43201

(614) 545-9100

Fax (614) 545-5461

Email: clarus@claruspartners.com

Website: www.claruspartners.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 5

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 34

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business valuation, tax (business/individual)

 

CPA Advisory Group Inc.

229 Huber Village Blvd., Suite 220

Westerville, Ohio 43081

(614) 942-1990

Fax (614) 942-1991

Email: info@cpaagi.com

Website: www.cpaagi.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 5

Primary areas of practice: business consulting/planning, financial reports/statements, tax (business/individual)

 

Crowe Horwath

10 W. Broad St., Suite 1700

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 496-0001

Fax (614) 365-2222

Email: mediarelations@crowehorwath.com

Website: www.crowehorwath.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 11

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 103

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation review – attestation, consulting, tax (business/individual)

 

Deloitte

180 E. Broad St., Suite 1400

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 221-1000

Fax (614) 233-6280

Website: www.deloitte.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 27

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 249

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Earman and Wood CPAs

3955 Brown Park Drive, Suite A

Hilliard, Ohio 43026

(614) 850-2727

Fax (614) 850-8861

Email: learman@ewcpas.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 3

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)


EY

41 S. High St., Suite 1100

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 224-5678

Fax (614) 232-7939

Email: craig.marshall@ey.com

Website: www.ey.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 15

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 168

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Ferguson Consulting

979 High St.

Worthington, Ohio 43085

(614) 430-9666

Fax (614) 430-9727

Email: richard@fergusonconsulting.com

Website: www.fergusonconsulting.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 4

Primary areas of practice: business valuations, forensic accounting, litigation services (expert witness)

 

GBQ Partners

230 West St.

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 221-1120

Fax (614) 227-6999

Email: info@gbq.com

Website: www.gbq.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 15

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 105

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

HHH CPA Group

1250 Old Henderson Road

Columbus, Ohio 43220

(614) 451-4644

Fax (614) 451-3818

Website: www.hhhcpagroup.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 5

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

775 Yard St., Suite 160

Columbus, Ohio 43212

(614) 494-5300

Fax (614) 494-5305

Email: ssmith@holbrookmanter.com

Website: www.holbrookmanter.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 6

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 19

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Howard, Wershbale & Co.

460 Polaris Pkwy, Suite 300

Westerville, Ohio 43082

(614) 794-8710

Fax (614) 794-8712

Email: smitha@hwco.com

Website: www.hwco.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 12

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, healthcare nonprofit/labor organizations

 

Jamison & Associates, CPAs Inc.

6115 Maxtown Road

Westerville, Ohio 43082

(614) 794-1771

Fax (614) 794-0080

Email: cpaoffice@jamisoncpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 2.78

Primary areas of practice: closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual), tax (estates/trusts)

 

Jones, Cochenour & Co.

125 W. Mulberry St.

Lancaster, Ohio 43130

(740) 653-9581

Fax (740) 653-0983

Email: blong@jcccpa.com

Website: www.jcccpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 16

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

KPMG

191 W. Nationwide Blvd., Suite 500

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 249-2300

Fax (614) 249-2348

Email: philiprsmith@kpmg.com

Website: www.kpmg.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 12

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 130

Primary areas of practice: advisory services, audit/compilation/review – attestation, tax (business/individual)

 

Laubie, Karling & Associates

1041 Dublin Road

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 481-0700

Fax (614) 481-0175

Email: kevin@lkacpas.com

Website: www.lkacpas.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 19

Primary areas of practice: closely held businesses/corporations, compilation/review – attestation, tax (business/individual)

 

McGladrey

250 West St., Suite 200

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 456-2800

Fax (614) 224-4197

Email: william.petrus@mcgladrey.com

Website: www.mcgladrey.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 41

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, tax (business/individual), technology consultation/computers

 

McLeish, Bowman, Barber & Pfahler

1000 N. 21st St.

Newark, Ohio 43055

(740) 366-4444

Fax (740) 366-6964

Email: rpfahler@mbbpcpas.com

Website: www.mbbpcpas.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 4

Primary areas of practice: business consulting/planning, new business formation/startup, tax (business/individual)

 

Mellman & Perdue CPAs

4029 E. Broad St.

Columbus, Ohio 43213

(614) 237-2523

Fax (614) 237-6886

Email: mpssperdue@yahoo.com

Website: www.mpaccount.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 4

Primary areas of practice: financial planning/investments, financial reports/statements, tax (business/individual)

 

Neilley & Co. CPAs Inc.

2720 Airport Drive

Columbus, Ohio 43219

(614) 418-1775

Fax (614) 448-9208

Email: admin@neilley.com

Website: www.neilley.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 3

Primary areas of practice: closely held businesses/corporations, financial reports/statements, tax (business/individual)

 

Norman, Jones, Enlow & Co.

226 N. Fifth St., Suite 500

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 228-4000

Fax (614) 228-4040

Website: www.nje.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 8

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 20

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Oles & Associates

1328 Dublin Road, Suite 400

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 487-0774

Fax (614) 487-0777

Email: joles@oles-cpa.com

Website: www.oles-cpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 8

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Parms & Co.

585 S. Front St., Suite 220

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 224-3078

Fax (614) 224-4616

Email: info@parms.com

Website: www.parms.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 11

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, litigation services (expert witness), tax (business/individual)

 

Payne & Company CPAs

4630 Sawmill Road

Columbus, Ohio 43220

(614) 458-1101

Fax (614) 458-1106

Email: kevin@payneandcompany.com

Website: www.payneandcompany.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 5

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Plante Moran

65 E. State St., Suite 600

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 849-3000

Fax (614) 221-3535

Email: robert.shenton@plantemoran.com

Website: www.plantemoran.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 15

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 109

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers

41 S. High St., Suite 2500

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 225-8700

Fax (614) 224-1044

Website: www.pwc.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 12

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 176

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, mergers and acquisitions/SEC, tax (business/individual)

 

Pritchett, Dlvsky, Saxe & Keller, Ltd.

1621 W. First Ave.

Columbus, Ohio 43212

(614) 481-8051

Fax (614) 486-0546

Email: billkeller@pdskcpa.com

Website: www.pdskcpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 7

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, nonprofit/labor organizations, tax (business/individual)

 

Pusateri, Nichols & Company, CPAs

115B Commerce Park Drive

Westerville, Ohio 43082

(614) 891-5423

Fax (614) 891-1435

Email: gwen@pusaterinichols.com

Website: www.pusaterinichols.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 2

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 4

Primary areas of practice: business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Rea & Associates Inc.

5775 Perimeter Drive, Suite 200

Dublin, Ohio 43017

(614) 889-8725

Fax (614) 889-0159

Email: contactus@reacpa.com

Website: www.reacpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 10

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 27

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Romine CPAs & Associates

6895 E. Main St.

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068

(614) 755-2727

Fax (614) 755-3804

Email: amcallister@rominecpas.com

Website: www.rominecpas.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 9

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Ron Lykins Inc. CPAs

45 W. Main St.

Westerville, Ohio 43081

(614) 891-1041

Fax (614) 891-3283

Email: lykins@lykins.com

Website: www.lykins.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 6

Primary areas of practice: tax (business/individual)


Schneider Downs & Co. Inc.

41 S. High St., Suite 2100

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 621-4060

Fax (614) 621-4062

Website: www.schneiderdowns.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 9

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 60

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)


SS&G Inc.

300 Spruce St., Suite 250

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 488-3126

Fax (614) 488-0095

Email: info@ssandg.com

Website: www.ssandg.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 28

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, closely held businesses/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Thomas R. Daye & Associates CPAs Inc.

150 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Suite 160

Worthington, Ohio 43085

(614) 888-8699

Email: tom@dayecpa.com

Website: www.dayecpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 1

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 6

Primary areas of practice: new business formationstartup, closely held business/corporations, tax (business/individual)

 

Whalen & Company, CPAs and Consultants

250 W. Old Wilson Bridge Road

Worthington, Ohio 43085

(614) 396-4200

Fax (614) 396-4210

Email: lnay@whalencpa.com

Website: www.whalencpa.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 18.77

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Wilson, Shannon & Snow Inc.

10 W. Locust St.

Newark, Ohio 43055

(740) 345-6611

Fax (740) 345-5635

Email: nsnow@wssinc.net

Website: www.wssinc.net

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 11

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 27

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)

 

Wolf, Rogers, Dickey and Co.

38 S. Franklin St.

Delaware, Ohio 43015

(740) 362-9031

Fax (740) 363-7799

Website: www.wolfrogersdickey.com

Number of Central Ohio partners/shareholders: 3

Number of Central Ohio full-time equivalent accountants: 17

Primary areas of practice: audit/compilation/review – attestation, business consulting/planning, tax (business/individual)