Over the next several weeks, our company will begin in earnest contacting our CPA firm clients again to gauge their succession readiness or willingness. Or conversely, their lack thereof.
Traditionally, from mid-February until the end of April, our calls to clients are treated with equal disdain to those peddling replacement windows or the latest vacuum cleaner models. In other words, it’s one of the slower periods of the year.
So with tax software glitches, last-minute rule changes and of course, tardy clients who feel that it’s perfectly okay to send in their documents at 2 a.m. on deadline day, I like to re-engage these firms as soon as possible so that the aftertaste of another grueling season is not lost to revisionist history several months down the road.
But on a fee basis if nothing else, most of our clients should be pleased with the 2018 filing season as well as other accounting-related services they provide. Even though the oft-debated tax cuts enacted late last year curtailed the amount going this year to the coffers of the U.S. Treasury, the accountants and preparers were on the receiving end of record-breaking largesse in terms of client spending.
According to a recent survey, Americans doled out some $44 billion on accounting, tax prep, bookkeeping and payroll services in the fourth quarter of 2017. For those keeping score at home, that’s roughly $1 billion more than the year-ago period.
Distilling that figure down even further, it translates to about $135 for every person in the U.S.
On the taxpayer end, an estimated 65 percent of filers will receive a tax cut in 2018, according to the Tax Policy Center, averaging $2,200 from the new law’s individual provisions.
Closer to home, my long-time accountant Rocco said that his fees rose nearly 20 percent this year and that was without an increase or a bump up in the number of clients.
So the question arises, are there more people filing or is it a result of fee increases?
After observing the profession for nearly 20 years, my guess is that it’s an equitable mixture of both.
Not to throw out an oft-repeated cliché, but we’ll strike when the iron is hot and begin our annual client canvass when they’re relieved to have survived another season. And it won’t hurt that many of them will have a bit extra in their pocket.