Tax Season Client Meetings: Kill Them Now

Man working hard at office deskLet’s try to spike phone calls and emails while we’re at it.

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: Make Your Firm Faster, Smarter, Richer … with Millennials | Seven Ways to Beat Staffing Shortages | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’
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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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Make Your Firm Faster, Smarter, Richer … with Millennials

You need them as clients … and employees.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Do you know why millennials can’t buy houses?

  • Avocado toast is expensive.

MORE: Seven Ways to Beat Staffing Shortages | Who’s Your Most Valuable Employee? | ‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins | When Clients Create Errors | How We Killed the Tax Season Client Meeting | Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars
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How many millennials does it take to change a light bulb?

  • None. They accept it for what it is.

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Seven Ways to Win the Talent Wars

How small firms can beat 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: Who’s Your Most Valuable Employee? | How to Implement the Laziness Equation | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | ‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins | How to Train Clients | Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | When Clients Create Errors
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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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Who’s Your Most Valuable Employee?

Don’t be the fool in the room.

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: How to Implement the Laziness Equation | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’ | Why Millennials Are the Answer | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time
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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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How to Implement the Laziness Equation

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsCalculate and cut turnaround time.

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: The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | ‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins | When Clients Create Errors | 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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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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The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outIt’s not easy, but it is possible.

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: ‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins | How to Train Clients | How to Reduce Tax Return Errors | 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
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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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‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins

Young businessman with forehead resting on handsHow to quietly convince them to pay for tax planning.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

A well-known practice management expert, whom I greatly respect, advises CPAs to never tell clients that you don’t have time for them. I disagree with the never part. You know how it starts. On March 25th, the call comes in.

“I know you’re busy but …”

MORE: How to Train Clients | Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’ | Why Millennials Are the Answer | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm
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A request follows that could most certainly wait until after tax season. You are hip deep reviewing all the personal tax returns that got stuck in process while you climbed out of the March 15th corporate tax ditch.
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How to Train Clients

Skip this, and both service and satisfaction decline.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

You’ll hate me after this post. I’m about to reveal that many of the behaviors that you rationalize as good client service are really just desperate measures to avoid losing bad clients. We’ll talk about getting out of that mess later.

MORE: Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | When Clients Create Errors | 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 | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP
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Clients are trainable – at least as trainable as Jack Russell Terriers. That is to say, they’re somewhat trainable. However, like Jack Russell Terriers, you train clients or they’ll train you. Somebody’s getting trained. Here’s an example of how that works.
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Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process

Businessman with fingers crossed behind backHow to climb out of “done but” hell.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

A project hung up in process is one when there is a disagreement as to the status between people involved in a project. For example, a client thinks he has answered your tax return questions, while you believe he has not. Another example is when a tax return preparer believes a return is ready for review while the reviewer does not believe it’s ready.

MORE: When Clients Create Errors | How to Reduce Tax Return Errors | Why Your Firm Needs to Attract More Millenials | The Fool in the Room | The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | Maximize Your Role as Visionary
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The result of a hung-up project is a dead project – one that’s not moving to completion. If a tax return gets hung up, eventually your client calls you, and you get to waste time determining why the project stopped moving. By now, you know this increases WIP and thus decreases turnaround time.
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