As part of my blog Advice for Tax Preparers, I will be adding interviews other tax professionals on their advice, tips, and tricks to make your life as a tax preparer easier and more successful. My intent is to get a wide range of interviews from tax professionals in terms of their experience and part of the country so that you can get an understanding of which issues are common in public accounting firm tax departments versus which issues depend on your situation or part of the country.
Now the easiest method for me would be to simply have a standard set of 6 to 10 questions and have every tax professional give their answers. But I decided it would be better to give them a large block of questions from which to choose for two reasons.
- Since each interviewee will choose different questions, it adds to the variety of questions and responses that the readers will see from each interview.
- It gives the interviewee the ability to choose the questions for which they have a passionate interest in the response instead of feeling obligated to answer a question because it is on the list.
Therefore, I have developed a list of around 50 questions which I will send to them in a Microsoft Word file and ask them to answer at least 8 of them (but they are free to answer more and I will post all of their answers)
Question Categories & Examples
At the moment, I have four main categories of questions with a few examples of the types of questions on the list.
Interviewing / Preemployment Questions
- What is your thought process when reviewing the resume of a potential new tax staff person at your firm?
- Name up to five things you would tell a future tax preparer to master while he or she is in college.
- It can be hard for an interviewee to learn if a firm is a good fit for them from the office visit because they are concentrating on making a good impression to the interviewer. How would you suggest that they do it?
- Most CPAs will not spend their whole career at one firm. What advice would you give to a currently employed tax preparer as to the skills to develop to make an easy transition to their next firm?
- I noted in a blog post that tax professionals do a lousy job of using their lunch hour to benefit their professional career. What mistakes do you see that staff make in using their lunch hour and/or what tips would you give them on how to use it?
- Name at least 3 factors or qualities that cause a tax preparer fail in a public accounting firm tax department.
Tax Preparation / Resources
- What are some of the typical mistakes that you see that tax staff make when preparing tax returns?
- What questions should a tax preparer ask you (or information they should expect from you) when they get a new tax return assignment from you?
- Many tax staff get nervous about asking for work when they are not busy because they either do not want to bother their boss or they do not want to seem desperate. What advice would you give to them on their concerns? Is there a right or wrong way for them to ask for work?
- What drives you crazy as someone in management that tax staff do at your firm?
- What do you do to maintain a work/life balance in public accounting?
- I once had a CPA tell me he was too busy to ever attend a time management seminar. What time management tips would you give to someone in a public accounting tax department?
- What do tax staff not understand about you job that you wish they did?
If you have questions that you want me to add to the interview list then add them in the comment section. After all, these interviews are intended to help you succeed as a tax preparer. Therefore, I want to ask the questions to which you want to know the answers.
As noted at the beginning, I am looking to interview tax professionals from around the country to provide tax preparers with practical advice on how to develop the knowledge and skills to be a successful tax preparer. At the moment, I am interested in interviewing tax professionals who have:
- Worked in a public accounting firm tax department for at least eight years
- Reviewed tax returns for at least two years
If you meet those criteria and want to be interviewed then contact me and I will send you the Microsoft Word file with the questions that you can answer and e-mail back to me at you convenience. It’s that simple. You get a little free publicity on LinkedIn and my blog while helping current and future tax preparers to be more successful.
You can contact me by either:
- Connecting with me on LinkedIn & sending me a message. FYI, I accept all connections with accounting majors and accounting professionals.
- Joining my LinkedIn group: Advice for Tax Preparers & sending me a group message.
- Sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Interview Request.”.
If you enjoyed reading my article then I hope you will like, comment, or share the article on LinkedIn. As more tax professionals see this post, it will encourage more of them to be interviewed for the blog. Therefore, you will be able to get more answers to your questions on how to be successful in a public accounting tax department.
Latest posts by Bill Meador, CPA, JD (see all)
- Learn How CPA Firms View a Gap in Your Resume - October 31, 2014
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