Friday, February 26, 2021

What’s the Worst Decision Ever Made?

 

The late comedian David Brenner used to perform this routine he called “the worst doctor.”

The premise of the shtick was that of all the people who were awarded medical degrees, someone somewhere in the world had to earn the dubious designation of being the “worst doctor.”

I would think the long-term effects of being treated by the worst doctor would far surpass having your 1040 prepared by “the worst CPA.” After all, undergoing an audit is far better than the potential horrors of medical malpractice.

Not being a CPA myself, I cannot vouch for the skill set or lack thereof of questionable practitioners but it’s safe to say that many of them can and have made some of the worst decisions in recent memory.

Case in point.

We recently took on the plight of a sole practitioner in the Northeast, who had a profitable practice generating slightly over $1 million in billings. He was in his mid-60s and plainly speaking he had “had it.” The tandem of annual tax season pressures and the COVID-19 pandemic resigned him to the fact that it was time to take down the proverbial shingle and take up pickleball in a warmer climate.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Where Does it All Go?

 

In the classic 80s comedy “Married with Children,” the opening credits began with the patriarch of the family, Al Bundy, sitting on a couch holding a stack of dollar bills high over his head. As Frank Sinatra crooned, “Love and Marriage,” in the background each member of the Bundy clan approaches Al only to snatch money from his outstretched hand and scurry away.

I’m sure most of us have felt that like at times, figuratively if not literally. It seems that only moments after payday, our newly filled coffers are severely depleted.

But where does it all go?

Glad you asked.

After researching a myriad of articles on the subject, I have taken the unsolicited liberty of compiling a list of some of often overlooked areas that successfully and often clandestinely, siphon money.

Friday, February 12, 2021

When it’s time to rehang the shingle

 

I along with nearly 200 million viewers watched in amazement last week as 43-year-old Tom Brady mercilessly schooled rising heir apparent Patrick Mahomes in what was oft repeated as a Super Bowl “matchup of the ages” turned out to be a harsh and painful lesson delivered by someone not yet ready to pass the proverbial torch.

But what I found even more inspiring than Brady’s performance, was the victory lap enjoyed by the 68-year-old coach of Tampa Bay, Bruce Arians, who just two years ago retired from coaching in the NFL citing health problems including multiple bouts with cancer and burnout.

After spending one unhappy season as an TV analyst, Arians returned to coaching last year leading the Buccaneers to an unspectacular 7-9 record. Amazing what one big free agent signing can do, getting the last laugh on those who jeered the team for giving Brady a two-year, $50 million contract.

So, given as how our company primarily works with aging CPA firm owners who are ready to step down from full time duty and solve their succession strategy via a merger, I wondered what happens to those folks who retire and then find themselves mired in boredom and frustration asking, “is that all there is?”

Coincidentally, I recently ran across an article that detailed warning signs when it’s time to, well, un-retire.

Friday, February 5, 2021

“Bordering” on the Outrageous


Over the past few months, there have been myriad articles on the scams related to the COVID-19 vaccinations. As I mentioned a few weeks back I received a call from someone residing in the bowels of Bangalore promising me a “skip the line” opportunity if I just forwarded them my credit card information.

After all, scams do not come cheap. And I shudder to think how many will eventually fall for this this ruse, particularly the elderly who are most vulnerable.

Until just this week, I felt that one was perhaps the most creative and considering the climate of fear amidst the pandemic, the most opportunistic.

Then, earlier this week, as the East Coast was battered by a nor’easter that dumped as much as 26 inches of snow in many areas (including 21 inches in my little bucolic village) a call came via my mobile phone from of all places, Edinburg, Texas.

Now the only thing I know about Edinburg is that was the host city to what was once called Pan American University and the reason I even knew that is that the University of Denver, my alma mater used to annually include that institution on its basketball schedule. In fact, one of the team members joked that once when they flew into Edinburg, a tumbleweed blew across the runway.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Whose Bright Idea Was This?


 I’m sure most of you can harken back to some of your past jobs and dredge up examples of management decisions that defied analysis. Like bad managers, I am confident there is no shortage of strategic moves that would befuddle a middle schooler.

As an example, I once worked for a restaurant chain that specialized in exotic crepes. Many of you along the East Coast and in San Francisco may have an idea what company I’m referring to. Most of the company’s units were in shopping malls and obviously were mandated to adhere to the opening and closing hours of said malls.

The exception being a certain New Jersey county, which prohibited malls from remaining open on Sundays. Now, with no shoppers allowed in the mall, it would stand to reason that the restaurant would be closed as well. Nope. The company ordered them to remain open and as customer counts resembled a haunted house, it inexplicably held steadfast its imbecilic decision.

I even wrote to the company headquarters questioning the futility of remaining open, only to be dressed down by my manager for having the temerity to contact corporate.

Not long afterwards the company shuttered many of its stores and the concept was passed from one buyer to another and today, just a few remain in select airports. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Super Pricey Super Bowl

 

In full disclosure I have never attended a Super Bowl game.

Interestingly, I’ve secured tickets to the big game on several occasions for friends and relatives through a long-time connection on the NFL Committee, but I’ve always maintained there is a reason that they make 55-inch flat screen TVs and oversized E-Z chairs. That way you never have to deal with parking, or lengthy lines at the refreshment stands during TV timeouts and halftime or inevitable snaking lines of humanity at the restrooms.

In fact, my last in-person attendance at an NFL game was a Miami-Dolphins-New York Jets clash nearly 10 years ago, when in the first quarter alone, there were four pier six brawls in the stands along with numerous flying cups of beer. After going to nearly 60 games in my life beginning in 1970, it was at that moment I vowed to retire permanently to my living room.

This year’s matchup will match the dean of NFL quarterbacks – the incomparable 43-year-old Tom Brady against arguably the best of the younger generation of gunslingers – Patrick Mahomes.

You know what else will be eye-opening? The average price of a ticket to the event which is $5,100.

Let me repeat that, $5,100.

Friday, January 22, 2021

When it Absolutely, Positively Has to Get There Overnight?

 

For those of you old enough to remember the above ad slogan, it was the theme of what was then known as Federal Express, the overnight delivery service which we now refer to by the truncated moniker FedEx.

The company, which was founded in 1971 in Little Rock, Ark., celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with its delivery schedule and employees as it has with other competing delivery concerns.

For a narrow block that contains exactly six houses, we residents get an inordinate amount of home deliveries whether it be UPS, DHL, Amazon, or FedEx. My neighbor receives at least two packages a day and over the past several years delivery trucks have become as much a part of the natural landscape as the rows of hickory and evergreen trees that line the street as well as the occasional deer.

And then suddenly it got personal.

Last week, an obviously undertrained FedEx driver attempted to squeeze a tight U-turn between my driveway and the one across the street and somehow wedged the vehicle between two retaining walls.

I was in the process of putting on my shoes to help direct him out of his malaise when he inexplicably put the vehicle in reverse and proceeded not only to roll over my flower bed but also shear my mailbox off its post – snapping it in two equal parts.