Hi and welcome to the Advice for Tax Preparers blog.
What is this blog about?
If you prepare or review tax returns in a public accounting firm then this blog is for you. This blog was created to make your life in a public accounting tax department easier.
Ok, so what does that mean?
Although CPAs are good at documenting their positions on tax and audit issues, we tend to do a bad job at teaching you:
- How to be successful in this business.
- How to do things the easiest way.
- How to stay out of trouble.
Our profession (whether through design or accident) forces accountants through an “apprenticeship process” to learn the tricks of the trade. In addition, most tax preparers face the problem that the skills they learn in their initial years are based entirely on the luck of the draw of whose work they do in the firm.
Think about it. You have invested five years of your life in college, thousands of dollars in tuition, and several hundred hours studying for the CPA exam. But your career could be decided by a couple of thirty minute interviews at a CPA firm and whether you get assigned to the right tax manager.
That is why this blog is intended to shatter the system.
I am going to teach you the technical, office and social skills to be successful in the tax department of any CPA firm.
Here are a few example of what my posts will include over time:
- Interviewing from a tax manager’s perspective
- How to survive tax season without going crazy
- Life in a public accounting tax department
- Tax preparation skills
- Tax rules and regulations (see below)
- Technology in a public accounting tax department
- Office politics in a public accounting firm
- How to easily move between accounting firms
- Office & software tips and tricks to make your life easier.
Unlike most tax oriented blogs, I not going to spend time discussing complex tax laws for three reasons.
- Most of those rules will never impact your tax career.
- This blog is aimed at making your life easier not mastering the Internal Revenue Code.
- See reasons 1 & 2.
When I discuss a tax law it will be one that I believe will add value to your current or future tax career in this business. Basically, these will be code sections that tax preparers often miss when they send returns to their manager and common mistakes that get your clients in trouble with the IRS.
In addition, although this introduction might be a little long, I am not going to set a minimum or maximum length on my posts. If I can teach you something valuable in only a paragraph then I am going to do it and move forward. If it takes me five pages to teach you a topic then that is what I am going to do. But keep in mind that most of those topics will be ones I have been teaching tax staff for over twenty years. Trust me. It is better to take the time to learn these topics from me than to get a bunch of review notes from your manager.
Now that you have the basic idea of why we are here. It’s time to give you a little information on myself and why I put this blog together.
My name is Bill Meador and I am a CPA and a lawyer in Houston, Texas. I have been a tax preparer and reviewer in public accounting firms in Houston for over twenty years. During that time, I have seen plenty of ups and downs in this business. I have also had the opportunity to learn, train, work, laugh, cry, argue, and plot and scheme with many different accountants in tax and audit from staff level all the way up to partner.
During my career, I have seen many of my friends and coworkers succeed because of
- their skill,
- their luck,
- their connections, or
- a combination of all three.
However, I have seen others fail that deserved to succeed because they did not learn what they needed to know until it was too late. It might seem odd. But I have seen more people fail because they were promoted too early instead of being passed over for promotion. They were pushed ahead due to their technical or personal skills without having a chance to master their craft at the lower levels. As a result, the employee spends months (or years) trying to make up for what they missed as well as handling the burden of the additional technical, social and managerial responsibilities as a “freshman” supervisor or manager.
I was one of the lucky ones.
As with many accountants, I have always been one that had strong academic skills. But I had an additional ace in the hole. I am the second generation of my family in this business. My father has been a CPA in this business for over forty years and was a tax partner in charge of Big Eight tax department. Therefore, I have always had the luxury of being able to ask him why a tax manager or partner did something that did not make sense to me. He was always able to explain to me various tax issues that I was not learning at my current firm as well as the office politics of how this business works. After twenty years of working in this business, I have decided that it is my time to pass this information to you. Hopefully, it will add months (or years) to your career by keeping it on the right timeline for you and your family.
Let’s get to work !!!
Latest posts by Bill Meador, CPA, JD (see all)
- Learn How CPA Firms View a Gap in Your Resume - October 31, 2014
- Work in a CPA Firm Tax Department? Plan for Change. - October 20, 2014
- Accounting LIONs - September 29, 2014