Friday, March 9, 2018

DIYer is DOA

Seeing as we’re knee deep into filing season the chatter on many of the social media platforms naturally turns to tax matters. On Facebook I read where one poster who had “friended” me several years ago, complained that after 10 years with the same CPA, his accountant actually had the temerity to raise his fee.

The complainant groused about now having to pay $500 for his return and sent out a group question of whether or not he should use Turbo Tax to save money.

Since I’m the furthest thing from a DIYer, my immediate and very vocal response would be a decided “NO.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lessons from a storm

For those who were fortunate not to live in Northeast this weekend, the area got walloped by the worst storm since Hurricane Sandy. Rain, sleet, snow and wind gusts approaching 70 miles per hour knocked out power to roughly 1.5 million people from Maine to Pennsylvania and downed thousands of trees and power lines.

As of this writing there are still nearly 100,000 people in my area without electricity and appears that it will not be restored anytime soon. Many school districts are closed and to add insult to injury, another storm is expected to hit in mid-week.

As you can imagine, residents are at the end of their patience as the local power suppliers have been almost glacial in their response. In fact one of the towns had to call the local and state police to quell a near civil riot as some folks threatened the repair personnel due to their inability to make any progress.

In a word it’s ugly.

So yesterday I happened to be in line at the local grocery store and struck up a conversation with one of the repair lineman who explained that part of the problem was jurisdictional squabbles between state and local power authorities and who was responsible for what.  

So in addition to slow progress, residents have to bear the brunt of red tape as well. Strangely this got me to thinking about the changes about client services now impacting the CPA profession.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Dr. Jeff and the search for a new accountant

In full disclosure, I have enjoyed a “bromance” with my dentist – Dr. Jeff – since I first wandered into his midtown Manhattan practice back in 1995, with two cracked fillings and a new experience in oral pain.  He’s simply one of the best practitioners – medical, dental or legal – I have ever met. He takes the time to ask about family – even remembering their names – and never, ever performs any work without it being absolutely necessary.

I made the commute from my suburban home to New York City for 25 years to my office and despite working from home since early 2012; I still make the trek in to see Dr. Jeff.

Even though he’s approaching his late 60s he assured me, he will not retire anytime soon. That elicits a collective sigh of relief.

Ditto for my accountant Rocco.

He’s been preparing my 1040s since 1991 and is basically a tax code geek – aware of even the minutest changes that most CPAs would have to research. He, much like Dr. Jeff, assured me he will never retire.

So when a fellow member of my health club began complaining about his dentist and asked me for a recommendation, I realized that despite their differing professions, dentists are much like accountants in that their client base is predicated largely on referrals. Think about how many of you are patients and clients of either and how you got there. I’ll wager over 90 percent of you came to both through a referral by a friend or colleague.