I feel badly for tax CPAs.
You probably know that I used to work as a tax accountant and no longer do; that’s probably why. But really… I do feel badly for them.
Most people don’t want to see you when you’re a tax CPA. It’s nothing personal. It’s like seeing the dentist. Most people don’t dislike the dentist because they’re a dentist; they dislike the dentist because when they look at a dentist, they see a drill. CPA = paperwork (drudgery) + paying the government. Blech.
I also feel badly for them because of the massive juggling act they have to perform. They have so many people to interact with in such a short period of time. This year is probably even worse than most because thanks to Congress, they didn’t even have finalized forms until the very end of January (at best). Some forms weren’t even done until mid-February. I mean c’mon. Do you know how many people freak out at the mention of an extension?! No envy here.
These CPAs do not have the luxury of time. It can take years to develop a relationship and a deep understanding of someone’s business when you really only spend a few hours per year with someone devoted to tax planning (and even less if they’re only preparing returns and not providing full tax planning). I’ve seen massive misunderstandings between CPA and client due to a lack of understanding of a client’s business operations. Imagine when that mistake is repeated year after year going unnoticed until the right question was asked at the right time by the right person. If it ever is. It’s not pretty.
Here’s the other problem that tax CPAs have. They have clients who trust them and want them to provide anything and everything that remotely touches accounting. Sometimes it’s bookkeeping or auditing or business valuations or fraud detection or even IT (think corrupted QuickBooks files). So maybe they try to give their clients what they want, and maybe they have the best of intentions, and maybe they think it’ll be a nice way to even out their own business’ cash flow.
But here’s the problem… if someone offers all of these services, it’s doubtful they can do any of them really well.
That’s one of the main reasons I made the jump to become a Virtual Controller.
I get the privilege of deep diving into my customers’ systems. I help them troubleshoot what’s broken and offer ideas about how to improve what isn’t working. I get to constantly learn about a multitude of different businesses and cloud technologies. I get to warn them when things seem to be going off course, and I get to help them understand what I’m looking at, why I care, why their tax CPA is going to care, and most importantly, why they should care.
If they have a tax CPA who seems to be speaking another language, I act as interpreter. Or, if the business owner prefers, I help keep them out of the process as much as possible… giving the tax CPAs what they need, when they need it, but leaving the tax planning to those who specialize in it.
I basically do everything I can to help everyone around me do their job better… tax CPAs get to focus on taxes; owners focus on running the business; bookkeepers focus on bookkeeping; and I focus on making sure the gears are all well-oiled and everything runs smoothly. I help business owners get more organized, use the right tools, operate more effectively, monitor the accuracy of the accounting data, improve cash flow, keep an eye on the budget, and turn numbers into English for good decision-making.
Seven hats for the price of one. Not a bad deal.