Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Lose Longtime Customer or Client in Five Minutes

When we last got together, I warned of signs you might be headed for a client divorce, citing the dangers of offering “reactive service” in lieu of “proactive” service and its probable effect on soon-to-be former clients looking for a new CPA firm.

I’ll boil that down even further – how about just offering bad customer service?

Now I’m sure I’m not exactly going out on a shaky limb predicting what poor customer service can do to a company or organization. We’ve all seen examples of that either up close and personal or chronicled in horrific detail in the media.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are You Headed for a Client Divorce?

In the opening scene of the 2011 film “Crazy Stupid Love,” the stars, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, who play husband and wife, are at a restaurant mulling what to order for dessert.

Carell’s Cal Weaver character suggests a rather adolescent, but novel idea: they should both announce their selections simultaneously. A Mount Everest sized “oops” moment ensues when his order of a delectable pastry is shouted over by her request for a divorce.

Talk about getting hit from the blind side.

You don’t have to review films for a living to realize that Cal didn’t see this life-changing event coming.

And I don’t doubt that this scenario plays out more than a few times between CPA firms and clients – although sans alimony payments and ugly child custody battles.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Today marks the official end (sans extensions of course) of the 2013 filing season, which will undoubtedly prompt many in our preparer audience to let out a collective sigh of relief, or treat themselves  to that long-ago promised  bottle of 2009 Merlot.

Fine, you’ve earned it. Go ahead and celebrate.

But let’s be clear about one thing. I do not want to read about this filing season on Facebook. Not one word about the problems, delayed rulings, client anecdotes or hundreds of missed prime time TV shows.

Not one.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hard Lessons of Financial Literacy

The so-named “King of the One Liners”, Henny Youngman used to joke that his accountant told him that between his earnings and investments, he had enough money to live on comfortably for the rest of his life.

That was provided he died by 5 o’clock that afternoon.


After covering the accounting profession for nearly 13 years, I’ve read (and written) more than my share of stories about celebrities who, despite making dizzying fortunes, wind up either filing Chapter 11 or getting into deep you-know-what with the IRS - ultimately receiving a tax bill that often ran into seven figures. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Star Search

In June I will have the proud honor (or the headache) of a college graduation and a soon-to-be repatriated daughter who will return home after four years and change and begin her search for a job.

Hopefully, her career pursuits will have begun well before that, but if she’s adhered faithfully to one mantra during her stay at the university, it’s “never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” This is where the above-mentioned headache component comes in.

But looking past the encroaching tuition loans which would surely rival the GDP of some third-world countries, and the often intimidating process of interviewing, I’m hoping that her fairly impressive social media skills will fast-track her toward call-backs. Here’s where I’m confident that the untold thousands of texts and Facebook posts (in lieu of actual dinnertime conversation) will begin to pay dividends.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Are You a Well-Liked Boss?

In the early 1980s while living in Phoenix, my roommate, without a minute of experience with a major or even minor airline, somehow talked his way into a higher-level operations position with Southwest when the Texas carrier initially opened up gates at Sky Harbor Airport.

After a few weeks on the job where he was required to work in all positions as a management trainee, I visited him on the baggage ramp where in the blazing Arizona sun, he was hoisting everything from footlockers, to the latest model from American Tourister. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Does a Merlot Go Well with a 1040?

Being Italian there isn’t much about wine that I don’t enjoy.

I was basically raised on it, and even in my advanced age, remember quite clearly my first indoctrination to the pleasures of the grape at the impressionable age of 10. I was seated at my great-grandfather Nicola’s house in upstate New York dressed in my Sunday finest.

Great Grandpa “Nick” as we called him immigrated to America from just outside of Rome in 1919, and like most of that era, made his own wine which he stored in oaken casks in the garage. I also recall getting a corporal lecture from my father afterwards, as my formerly gleaming white shirt displayed ample evidence of too much wine and streaks of errant tomato sauce from Great Grandma DiBiasi’s chicken Parmesan.