A Long Time Ago, at a CPA Firm Far, Far Away …

Hourglass on rustic wooden tableMany concerns haven't changed.

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

Many of my stories occurred many years ago – some are from a half century ago – so the question is, are they still relevant and why am I telling them now?

MORE: Working Hard? Or Hardly Working? | Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend | Perception Becomes Reality | The Making of a Consultant
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Well, maybe the exact circumstances are archaic, but the lessons and principles are as applicable today as they were when I lived through them.
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Working Hard? Or Hardly Working?

Man working hard at office deskHow to communicate your value to clients. 

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

One summer I worked for my father at one of his large clients. It was a hot July day and I was wearing a suit and tie and there was no air conditioning in the office, just a fan that wasn’t one of the most expensive you could buy.

MORE: Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend | When Discounts Don’t Work | Call Me Before You Do Anything | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster
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Across from my desk sat the owner’s father. He just sat there; he did no work. I was working hard and barely looked up, but when I did our eyes met occasionally and he nodded, but that was it.
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Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend

Green "opportunity" highway sign with sunrise backgroundThe client could have it all, but the accountant had to show him how.

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

Many years ago my boss, Bernard D. Kleinman, had a client who was a creative genius in the advertising industry, and was being courted by many other firms.

MORE: When Discounts Don’t Work | It’s Not Always about the Money | The Value in Value Consulting | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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He liked his job, position, and respect, and he had no desire or thoughts of leaving. But, as a gentleman, he listened to whoever approached him.
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When Discounts Don’t Work

Don't just report numbers; help clients see the big picture.

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

My father’s largest client was a luggage manufacturer with a national brand sold in specialty luggage stores, but not in department stores.

MORE: It’s Not Always about the Money | Perception Becomes Reality | Call Me Before You Do Anything | The Value in Value Consulting | The Making of a Consultant | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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He did this because he wanted to maintain the selling price, did not want discounting and felt his customer base would be more loyal if they did not compete against the larger stores’ discounting policy. He was very successful and very profitable, but probably not as large as he could have been had he had the volume that department stores would have provided.
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New Tax Advice: What Clients Need Now

16 hot topics for tax planning – all billable.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The Practice Doctor

It seems all anyone is talking about these days is the new tax act. For over a year I have been posting a tax blog every four weeks on www.bottomlineinc.com. So now there are more than a dozen.

Use the titles below to select what you are interested in, and I am sure you will get some valuable information you could use with clients.

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It’s Not Always about the Money

The true value in a prenuptial encounter.

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

Prenuptial agreements are essential in many situations, but it is always awkward for one of the blissfully in love parties to bring it up. Prenups consider the possible failure of the happiest thing in the two people’s lives.

MORE: Perception Becomes Reality | Call Me Before You Do Anything | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster
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A client once asked me to accompany his son to a meeting where the terms of a prenuptial agreement were to be worked out to make sure the son’s small ownership of the business could never pass outside of his blood line … or the father’s control while he was alive.
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When Perception Becomes Reality

Overstuffed and overflowing filesSometimes looking less than your best is more effective.

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

Is reality what something actually is or what people perceive it to be? Jack Welch of GE fame once said that reality is “seeing the world as it is rather than as you wish it were.”

MORE: Call Me Before You Do Anything | The Value in Value Consulting | The Making of a Consultant | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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Sometimes that is not so. And sometimes you can alter reality to make it seem like something else.
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Call Me Before You Do Anything

Man with net chasing winged moneyWhen a good number should be a great one, justify it.

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

I have always told my clients to call me before they did anything major or new financially to see if there was anything tax-wise that could be done to help them.

MORE: The Value in Value Consulting | The Making of a Consultant | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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Nowadays, there is much less tax maneuvering, but much more from a financial aspect, and it is amazing how accountants can help.
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The Value in Value Consulting

Woman in officeKeep your eyes and ears open.

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

People can learn new skills and either do nothing further or use it to grow.

MORE: The Making of a Consultant | Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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Using my experience from consulting for an ice cream shop, I started to think about doing some extras for clients (see "The Making of a Consultant"). I still had my day job as an accountant and needed to follow the work schedule my boss gave me, but I now knew something and wanted to see how else I could use it.
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The Making of a Consultant

girl eating ice cream coneSometimes numbers tell stories we don't know yet.

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

While I was working full-time early in my accounting career, I was also picking up clients whose accounting I did on the side, also known as moonlighting.

MORE: Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster | A CPA Looks Back Across the GenerationsGoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

One of the clients was a franchised ice cream store. I used to go there one night every quarter to record his checkbook transactions into a regular set of accounting books. Today, in one form or another, this would be done on a computer with software such as QuickBooks, but in those days it was written up in ink by hand.
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Learning to Delegate: Slow is Faster

Green checks being made on checklistEagerness needs tempering.

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

When I was in high school, I spent a few winter Saturdays helping my father and “learning” what a CPA did.

MORE: A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations | Follow the 1/20th Tax Client Marketing Rule | How Many Hours Should Staff Work?
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His routine was to go to one client twice a month and another once a month and he spent the fourth (or fifth) Saturday cleaning up correspondence in his office. My work consisted of posting sales to an accounts receivable ledger and rechecking the arithmetic on the client’s handwritten customer invoices.
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