This Is NOT Tax Preparation

I had lunch on Tuesday with a longtime TaxCoach member and current All-Star in Philadelphia. (He asked me to keep his identity anonymous because it’s been a lifelong dream of his to be an anonymous source.) We had a great conversation about sticking to your guns when charging what you’re worth, and his story is well worth sharing.

Our member has worked with a family-owned business for a couple of years now. He’s prepared their taxes and done their books – and now he’s using proactive tax planning to save them a bunch of money. Late last year, he charged a $30,000 fee to save each of the three clients $100,000 each in taxes. And earlier this month, he proposed an additional $30,000 fee to save them an additional $285,000 in tax. (I don’t remember what planning strategies were involved, but does that really even matter?) Read more…

Don’t Be a CPA! (Or EA! Or Anything Else!)

My 11-year-old son Oliver is a bright, curious kid. He’s especially talented in math and science, which perplexes me. (I took Algebra II three times in high school and never cracked higher than a C and his mom gave up on helping him with math homework sometime back in third grade.) Naturally, he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.

Most of us have a vague idea what it is engineers do. They build stuff and make stuff – unlike us, who shuffle papers all day. To me, an engineer is the guy in Houston who has to teach the Apollo XIII astronauts how to make the Command Module’s square filters work in the Lunar Landing Module’s round filters using nothing but spare parts and duct tape. Read more…

Consider This for Your 2017 Resolution

2017 is finally (finally!) here, and that means it’s time for self-improvement. Are you looking to lose weight? Exercise more? Quit smoking? And if so, is “right before tax season” a good time to start something like that? (As Lloyd Bridges says in the classic Airplane, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”

How about this year you pick a resolution to help build your business? Why not resolve to take control of your business on your terms rather than let yourself be pushed around or intimidated by clients? Read more…

How to Get Clients

(Originally published January 12, 2012)

Here at TaxCoach, our Wednesday Member Call-In has become my favorite appointment of the week. It’s more than just a traditional “Q&A.” It’s become a real group discussion. I know I learn as much from you on each call as anyone on the call learns from me. And it’s become a centerpiece of the TaxCoach community.

Yesterday, a member from Florida posed the following question to me and to the rest of the group:

[An unnamed marketing services company that helps clients find good accountants] keeps calling me about a potential new client. The last guy called and said they guaranteed $10,000 in new business for an investment of $5,000. Has anybody had experience with [the unnamed marketing services company]? Read more…