Friday, July 29, 2016

Of Accountants, Dentists and Auto Mechanics

At my rapidly advancing age, I’m always comforted when I receive a clean bill of health from Dr. Jeff, my dentist. I may have long ago lost my hair, but I take pride in the fact I still have my original 28 (sans wisdom teeth) intact.

So at the end of my semi-annual check-up and cleaning earlier this week, we reminisced at how long we’ve enjoyed our doctor-patient relationship. For those keeping score at home, my first visit to him was in 1995 and four grandchildren (for him) and another daughter for me (now 21) since then, we’re still keeping the faith.

Now that’s even more surprising when you consider that Dr. Jeff practices in New York City and I have to take the train in to see him, despite the convenience of roughly 50 dental practitioners within a five-mile radius of my suburban home. But when you find someone you like and perhaps more importantly, trust, you keep the ship sailing in the same direction.

He’s never recommended any unnecessary work and many times told me that if I ever had a problem on a weekend, he’d gladly come in the office for an emergency. Thankfully, I never had to call in that favor.

I’m sure it’s a similar story with regard to choosing and staying with, an accountant. As a matter of fact, I’ve had Rocco, my accountant, two years longer than Dr. Jeff.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Folks Will Never Get It

I once had a professor in college who frequently employed a common expression but with a colorful twist. For example, when you painstakingly showed someone the correct procedure for something, and they did their best impression of ignoring it, he would straighten up to his full 5-foot-5 inch frame, wag his finger and said, “you can lead some people to water, but invariably they will p#&$ in it.”

Graphically put, but point well taken.

Now, within our company we also have an expression when meeting with clients and that being we don’t pretend we’re experts in things we’re not. We don’t offer services such as executive recruiting, or technology consulting although we have excellent referrals for each.

Another area we don’t wade in too deep is training and marketing although again there are some very good people in the profession who do and we’re glad to pass any inquiries along.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t understand the critical importance of each.

Unfortunately, our understanding of that tandem’s value doesn’t translate universally to the profession.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How Technology Killed the Live Conference

There are certain events in your life – good or bad – that no matter how long ago they happened, you remember exactly when and where you were. For the purpose of brevity in today’s missive, let’s focus on technology.

For example, I was at a friend’s house in 1984 when his wife was typing on her IBM 286 equipped with a Prometheus modem who explained she was “talking” to one of her colleagues at the large cosmetics company where they worked. Their “conversation” came across as simple block letter text, but that was my inaugural introduction to e-mail.

Some 15 years later, a CPA friend who needed some more credit hours in order to fulfill his CPE requirements for the year explained that he was going to attend a “webinar” – an online course he could take while seated at his desk.

“One day this is going to replace live conferences,” he predicted. When I asked how, he explained that the savings in terms of travel, lodging (if the event was a regional or national) not to mention time, would be huge determining factors in terms of attendance.

Obviously that didn’t happen overnight.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A man walks into a CPA’s office…

Henny Youngman, the so-named “king of the one-liners” often told this joke about a man walking into a psychiatrist’s office.

“Doctor, I need help.”

“Okay, get on the couch. And before we start what do you do for a living?”

“I’m an auto mechanic.”

“In that case get under the couch.”


I often lament the fact that I never majored, or even minored, in psychology, considering how many times I have had to assume that role during my career. As an editor, I always maintained that my job was equal parts manager, mentor and psychologist.

Now, as a consultant, those percentages are skewed far more toward the psychiatric side, since we’re helping CPA owners and partners to embark on the biggest business decisions of their lives.

Case, or, more appropriately, cases in point.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Have I Got A Deal for You!

I have never enjoyed great success opting for those massive discounts on name brands – especially the ones appearing with annoying regularity as online pop-ups.

Case in point: last year, I ordered a $30 pair of Oakley sport sunglasses which as anyone familiar with the brand knows is roughly 1/5 the retail price. A month later, the glasses came – in a crumpled package replete with a return address in Mandarin.

These knockoff “Oakleys” were constructed of such substandard materials that after just three uses, one of the lenses came tumbling out.

Never again.

Which brings me to the topic de jour – that of a $4 smartphone.