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. [click to keep reading…]
This is the big one isn’t it?
Most of us get plenty of articles in our inbox and social media from sources such as Accounting Today, CPA Trendlines, Going Concern, AccountingWeb, Journal of Accountancy, etc., on the latest updates in the profession. But we are really only looking for a few things.
- How do I get my first accounting job?
- How do I make my current job easier?
- What do I need to do to get promoted?
- Can I quit and get a better job or move to a better CPA firm?
As noted in the title, I have worked on the tax side of the public accounting business for over twenty years. The part not in the title is that I am the second generation of my family to work in public accounting. My father has been in the business for over forty years. Therefore, between the two of us, we have seen decades of tax and audit staff passing and failing the exam.
Although there are plenty of places to learn about the subject matter of each exam section, I wanted to pass along a few points you might not hear from other people. [click to keep reading….]
Tax accountants might work with numbers, but we are in a people business. You will run into good and bad clients in all professions. But the following professions tend to cause CPA firms more grief on average than others. If you are assigned a client in one of these area then look at the prior year files to see if the client tends to cause a problem for the firm. [click to keep reading…]
How many times have you written down a quick note or phone number from your boss or client and then you can’t find it? The answer is too many. It can drive you crazy.
Most tax preparers have used paper Post-it Notes to leave a reminder for family, friends or even ourselves. But we know that Post-it notes can be a problem in a public accounting firm. By design they are very flimsy and easy to lose. The phone number that was given to you by your boss or client is now buried below a stack of files that you put on top it. Yes, you might find the number eventually. But you want to call that person now. [click to keep reading…]
It’s going to happen. At some point, you or your boss is going to get the following sob story from a client.
Dear My Favorite CPA (when its starts this way you know you are in trouble – heh),
I know that you only prepare my individual and business tax returns. But I really need your help. I am on the board of directors of a charity that just got an IRS notice which says we owe them $30,000!!!
We did not discover until recently that the prior controller did not file last year’s Form 990 tax return and the IRS wants $100 per day in penalties. The letter also says if the amount is not paid then the IRS will put a lien on our assets!!! Help!!! [click to keep reading]
Raise your hand if you do your best to avoid working on nonprofit tax returns. If your hand is up then you are in the majority. Most tax partners, managers and staff avoid them like the plague.
The 990 tax forms are very different from individual and business tax returns and ask a lot of informational questions. As a result, they can absorb a lot of the firm’s time and expense. In addition, since the entity is a charity, it is likely that they will ask for rock bottom prices or ask you do to the tax return as a charitable donation.
Ok, then why does the firm do them? [click to keep reading…]
This topic seems like a simple one. But tax CPAs (auditors seem to have less trouble with this one) are terrible at accepting praise. We are so trained by our conversations with clients (and the public accounting profession) to qualify every sentence that we always see the glass as half empty instead of half full. Therefore, when tax accountants finally do get praised for something they tend to do one of the following: [click to keep reading]
Why in the world did I put lunch as a topic? It’s not that hard. You find a place outside the office to eat lunch or you eat at your desk.
Life is never that simple.
Let’s put it this way. Under normal circumstances, you will spend roughly 250 hours each year going to lunch during the work week. There are office rules as to how you spend this time. But you have a couple of choices. [click to keep reading…]
Raise your hand if your client or boss has given you a set of financial statements where the balance sheet does not balance. If anyone has their hand down it must be that they only do individual tax returns (heh).
Everyone that prepares and reviews tax returns will run into situations when a client’s corporate financial statements simply do not balance. The client does not have an answer for it and you are stuck trying to make it work. [click to keep reading…]
If you are like most tax preparers and reviewers then you cringe at opening Microsoft Outlook during tax season. You spent the previous evening working overtime trying to get returns off your desk because you wanted to spend today catching up on things you need to do.
But you open your inbox and you find 20, 30 or 50 e-mails from
- other staff,
- your boss,
- headhunters (who want to lure you to another firm while you are frustrated), and
- others who want to take up your time. [click to keep reading…]