CPA Practice Advisor

NOV 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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NOVEMBER 2018 ■ 11 BUILDING YOUR NICHE PRACTICE a call to action also resonate with potential leads, e.g., “Stop chasing your tail and call us today!” ■ Hashtags: Use popular hashtags, such as #LoveAnimals, #PetLover, #Dogs, and #Cats for social media posts. Also, create a unique hashtag for your firm, for example #CPA4Paws or #CPA4BirdVets, etc. That will help to easily distinguish who is sharing your posts. ■ Social Media Fun: Share fun videos, photos, and quotes on the pet holidays throughout the year. LifeLearn Animal Health ( offers a list to help you plan. High Impact Content Offering information clients can use is a great way to engage others. They often take more time to create and can have a longer lead time than most content. But, what you gain is a more qualified lead than say someone who completes a download form. Content developed for these leads includes pieces like product demos (think cloud-based accounting tools and portals), webinars, case studies, data sheets, ebooks, FAQs, and whitepapers. In some cases, this content works well in video or podcast form. Short, how to and FAQ videos with a memorable, call-to-action are a terrific way to generate interest. Remember to use that animal-themed trigger to help people remember who you are. Relationship Building ■ Create an app that your on-the-go client can access anytime anywhere. There are development-friendly tools, like the AppInstitute’s drag-and-drop interface, that allow you to create a simple, easy-so-use app for clients ( Include features like expense uploading, portal connection, tax filing deadlines, and fun trivia and events. ■ Become a local superstar by getting involved with local fun runs and charity events, local business meetings, and office-pet highlights on social media. ■ Develop “freemium” content specifically for your clients that others have to pay for, such as exclusive events, webinars, and offers. ■ Remind clients of seasonal meetings they should have with you by offering them a check-up list just like you would get from them for your pet. ■ Sharing information about pet services, such as trusts, estate planning, and tax laws regarding deductions, are tools your clients can share with their clients, which could lead to additional income in other service areas of your firm. In parting, think about the “pet-tential” each of these efforts has to draw in new clients and engage existing clients. Add some pet personality to your content and the “pawsibilities” are endless. ■ Becky Livingston is the president of Penheel Marketing, a boutique marketing firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs. Planning Considerations One reasonable 2018 planning issue is calculating how much depreciation to take on assets placed in service during the year, since bonus depreciation and the Section 179 election for immediate write-off are very generous. These deductions will reduce QBI and taxpayer taxable income. The interplay with phase out limits for veterinary families will make calculation tricky, when trying to find the best tax outcome in a particular year. Additionally, deciding how much depreciation to take, affects taxable income in future years, so the planning becomes a multiyear effort. Secondly, and this is uncharted territory as of this post, veterinary practice revenue is a complex mix of personal service income and retailing via product sales and pharmacy sales. Additionally boarding and grooming activities, as well as others conducted through the veterinary business entity, could possibly fall outside of the definition of specified service trade or business. So is it possible that some allocable portion of the practice’s net income would not subject the owner(s) to QBID limitation? Perhaps cost accounting will take on new and important precedence in mixed revenue practices. The definition of a “specified service business” under the new Section 199A is going to be critical. We will be watching this issue carefully. Potentially, practice owners will consider spinning off parts of the veterinary practice that are not related to professional veterinary services, into new legal entities that are eligible for the QBID. Keep in mind, this and many other ambiguous sections of the new, complex, nearly 1,100 page tax law must be clarified through regulatory guidance, and additional Congressional actions to fix vagaries of the new law. ■ This article first appeared on the Veterinary Practice Made Perfect blog, published by Marsha L Heinke, DVM, CPA, EA, CVPM. Marsha is a doctor of veterinary medicine, an Enrolled Agent, a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager.

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