Do Your Clients Feel Important?

Portrait of a mature businesswoman giving a binder8 ways to delight them.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Clients are our customers. They pay our salary and enable us to make good livings. Do what you can to accommodate them and make them feel important – as important as they believe they are.

MORE: 5 Small Leaks to Beware During Tax Season | 5 Tax Review Keys | 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season | 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season
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Also be user-friendly – do not make it difficult to work with you. Clients don’t know how smart we are. They think we are great, but they measure us by the small things – the good and bad.
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Social Security as an Asset Class

Scale with coins on one side, alarm clock on the otherWithdraw funds from elsewhere.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

If you have ever worked in the United States or were married to someone who did, the chances are you will eventually receive Social Security benefits.

MORE: When Clients Don’t Know | When the Kids Don’t Want to Take Over | Staff May Surprise You with Leadership | Problem Clients | When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change
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There are different ages when regular benefits can start beginning at age 62. The longer the benefits are delayed, the greater they will be … until reaching age 70.
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When Clients Don’t Know

Two older businessmen talkingInvestigate motive before diving in.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

We all have clients who wonder what their business is worth and sometimes imagine getting away from it all.

MORE: When the Kids Don’t Want to Take Over | How to Waste Lunch Hour | What’s Your Negotiating Style? | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | How I Became a Published Author | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | How an Out-of-Work Tax Preparer ‘Saved’ Our Lives
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Some even sell, but many more talk about starting the process but are not really committed to selling.
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5 Small Leaks That Can Sink a Tax Season

Tiny businessman standing on dripping faucetShut them off before they cause great damage.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Some people are micromanagers and anal with details. Others are big-picture managers, letting details take care of themselves.  Neither is completely effective and both disciplines need to be balanced.

MORE: 5 Tax Review Keys | 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | Help Tax Clients Help You | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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There is a time for details and a time for big-picture thinking. When setting up procedures and processes it is essential that all details be considered and planned for. Once the process is set up, there should be brief but continuous monitoring. And then the big-picture thinking should take over – that is where you will make your money.
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When the Kids Don’t Want to Take Over

If you didn't have time pressure, how might your planning change?

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

I had a client who had five sons and three daughters who worked in his business. Their ages ranged from 28 to 48. I was helping him with exit planning and suggested that I could possibly structure a transaction where either some or all of his children could buy his business.

MORE: How to Waste Lunch Hour | Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff | Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business | Becoming a ‘Media Star’ | Don’t Pass Up Opportunities
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He liked the idea and I told him to meet with them and suggest it.
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5 Tax Review Keys

Thorough always beats sloppy.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Don’t be sloppy instead of thorough.

All work has to be reviewed. And clients and others look at it.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season | 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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Sloppy work is always evident and usually incomplete. Thorough work is careful and usually complete.
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Treat Review Procedures Like Quality Control

Number 66 questions to ask yourself.

By Ed Mendlowitz
How to Review Tax Returns: The Field-Tested Update

The purpose of tax return reviews is to ensure the quality of the return.

MORE: Use Tax Return Prep for Training and Growth
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Quality should be defined as an accurate product along with pertinent and applicable tax law benefits applied as well as planning opportunities identified so the client can maximize their financial wealth and security. The review should also uncover and eliminate red flags that might cause a notice or audit.
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Use Tax Return Prep for Training and Growth

Man and two women talking in officePLUS: 10 reasons to improve your review process.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: New year, new plans?
Join the survey. Get the plans.

By Ed Mendlowitz
How to Review Tax Returns: The Field-Tested Update

Tax season is a microcosm of everything done in an accounting practice.

MORE MENDLOWITZ: 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season | 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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One of the primary concerns of a business is having the proper processes and quality control procedures.

Choosing how to properly use the reviewers’ time and interface them with the staff can contribute immensely to a smooth tax season.
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How to Waste Lunch Hour

Business Colleagues Eating Meal Together and Discussing WorkThis was time that could have been spent working ON the business.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

I was recently in Manhattan during lunchtime and thought I would drop in at a CPA firm I did some consulting for to see if anyone was available to have a quick lunch with me.

MORE: Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff | Staff May Surprise You with Leadership | Problem Clients | When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | How to Be ’the Other Guy’s Accountant’
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It was around 12:45. If no one available, no harm done. I showed up (that counts as a “client contact”), would see a few people and then would only be there 10 or so minutes.
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4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research

Businessman is dialing phone for adviceWhen "quick and easy" isn't.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

I keep a few of the one-volume tax guides in my office so I could look up a quick answer when I need to. Recently a golf buddy emailed me a question that I thought I could answer quickly. He wanted to know that if he was in the “zero” percent capital gains tax bracket, did that apply to an unlimited amount of capital gains? Sounds like a simple question.

MORE: One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season | 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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Well I looked it up online and then in three one-volume tax guides. Only one source had thorough coverage of the issue. I ended up spending an hour on this “simple” question including my emailed response. Nothing is simple anymore. 
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One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season

Businessman talking on phone in the officePlus 4 more ideas.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Occasionally accountants lose touch with their clients, especially during tax season. Part of this is because of the crush of work, which is compressed into a pretty short period.

MORE: 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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We sometimes lose sight that we are working on something the clients consider one of the most important things in their lives at that moment.
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Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff

Senior businessman mentoring two younger workersEveryone is busy, but work still has to flow smoothly.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

This is a response to a reader who sent me the following email:

MORE: Staff May Surprise You with Leadership | What’s Your Negotiating Style? | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | How I Became a Published Author | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know
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All your articles are good, and so was this one about a surprise staff leader.

Question: Why was it important in your firm, for you personally, to “know” about Elliot and the tax manager?

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5 Steps for Tax Season Success

Man talking to woman with checklistApply consistency to service, processes and standards.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

One way to guarantee extra work is to have everything always done differently each time it is done.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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Not establishing uniform procedures is bad business and unnecessarily consumes part of your life. Consistency in performance reduces work and review time and creates a greater reliance on the staff people.
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