How to Reduce Tax Return Errors

Error stampedWe must turn unseen clients into human beings in the eyes of staff.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

I wasn’t initially certain this post was necessary. I covered a lot of material in my first book and other posts.

MORE: Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’ | How We Killed the Tax Season Client Meeting | Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars | There Are No Easy Answers | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm
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However, last night my sleep was haunted by the ghosts of tax return errors past, present and future. I saw my coffin rolling down the chute to the cremation chamber. I was inside shouting that I had one more checklist to complete before my life was done.
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Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’

Angry boss in chair staring down at tiny businessmanNot to be confused with the dreaded “done but.”

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

In my last book, as with this one, I recommended hiring younger staff. In that book, I cautioned that you might have to teach very simple tasks like breathing and using the bathroom to your newbies. CPATrendlines.com posted an excerpt with my advice.

MORE: How We Killed the Tax Season Client Meeting | Why Your Firm Needs to Attract More Millenials | The Fool in the Room | The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | The Land Mines in Tax Returns | Give Your People the Resources They Need | The Right Way to Assign Staff Projects | Workflow for Dummies
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One reader posted that she didn’t believe it was the responsibility of an admin department to teach bathroom use. She was new to this hot new writing technique called sarcasm. She did a great job making my point that you have to teach your staff a lot of really basic things.
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How We Killed the Tax Season Client Meeting

Man working hard at office deskYep, there’s an app for that!

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

What did Dorothy and her friends fear in the Wizard of Oz? “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Dorothy feared the wrong things if she’s a partner in a CPA firm. We don’t see much wildlife in our offices during tax season unless you count fast food delivery people and the occasional crazy client.

MORE: Why Your Firm Needs to Attract More Millenials | Why Millennials Are the Answer | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | 3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers
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We should really fear the events that destroy our priorities and drain hours from productive work. Meetings and phone calls and emails, oh my! Let’s look at why these communication methods are so destructive from a practice management standpoint.
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Why Your Firm Needs to Attract More Millenials

Two men talking at table, one younger in plaid with man bun, one older with glasses and sweater over shouldersWhat makes a firm millennial-friendly? Ask a millennial.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Younger clients demand electronic solutions. If you want younger clients, evolve your firm.

MORE: Why Millennials Are the Answer | Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars | There Are No Easy Answers | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP | The Tax Practice Traffic Cop
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This evolution becomes even more critical when you consider that paper tax forms are going away. We will harness electronic data feeds from blockchain transaction systems. Annual tax season meetings become totally useless at this point.
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Why Millennials Are the Answer

Millennial clients will make your firm smarter, faster, and more profitable.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Do you know why millennials can’t buy houses?

  • Avocado toast is expensive.

MORE: Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars | The Fool in the Room | The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | How to Be the Chief Communicator | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season
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How many millennials does it take to change a light bulb?

  • None. They accept it for what it is.

Why do millennials always type in lower case?

  • They reject capitalism.

What is a millennial’s favorite fragrance?

  • Scents of entitlement.

Buy me a craft beer, and I’ll tell you a half dozen more. Now, after all of the above, I’m about to tell you why you need millennials as clients and how they increase the efficiency of your firm.

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Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars

Seven keys to beating the staffing shortage.https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/09/18/better-talent-drives-better-results/

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

The following story brought tears to my eyes while I sat in a Barbados resort drinking some alcohol concoction. Was it the alcohol talking or the happy ending where I got a profit distribution check? Maybe a little of both.

MORE: The Fool in the Room | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project?
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The afternoon before I left for beautiful Barbados, the partner group of our outsourced accounting practice met for a state of the practice meeting conducted by our director of outsourced accounting.
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The Fool in the Room

Which employee is most valuable? You might be surprised.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

We have been heavily in the numbers so far. Let’s take a break from that to discuss a factor that, while not heavily numeric, plays a big factor in managing WIP – employee productivity. Because capacity is the denominator in the Lean Six Sigma equation, and employee productivity is a big factor in capacity, employee productivity becomes a big factor in determining turnaround time.

MORE: Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | There Are No Easy Answers | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP | The Tax Practice Traffic Cop | How to Coach Your Staff | How to Create Good Managers
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First, let’s dismiss from the room all the consultants, who tell us that time tracking and productivity metrics don’t matter. For the most part, these consultants have never managed or owned CPA firms. Rarely have they worked in firms for any length of time.
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Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsAlso known as the laziness equation.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

One of the funniest parts of launching Clarity Practice Management has been watching my business partner, Peter Daniel, learn about the business acumen of CPAs and accountants. Peter and I founded Clarity as a collaboration between a CPA firm client (Peter) and a CPA firm (me.). He knew what he wanted from a client perspective, and I knew what we wanted as a CPA firm.

MORE: There Are No Easy Answers | The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | Maximize Your Role as Visionary | The Land Mines in Tax Returns | Give Your People the Resources They Need
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Peter owns a software development company and believes in the rational decision-making model for businesses. The rational decision-making model is totally irrelevant to the way most CPAs and accountants run their practices. For instance, consider this interchange between Peter and a practitioner at our Clarity booth during a trade show.
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There Are No Easy Answers

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outBut we still can make more money, have happier clients and lead saner lives.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

I’m back. Since writing the “Relentless CPA – The New 21st Century System for Driving Success at Tax and Accounting Firms,” I have spoken to dozens of CPAs and accountants, been called a dozen names (some of them deserved), and received a few death threats.

MORE: The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How to Be the Chief Communicator | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff
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Actually, the death threats came from my wife, who said she’d kill me if I said “yes” to any new projects. She watches lots of crime shows, so the FBI regarded her threats as serious. I am writing this to buy a bulletproof vest for when she gets out of jail. Thank you for your contribution to saving my life.
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