The Next Twenty-Three Years

By Ron Piner

For The Next Twenty-Three Years

I have been a practicing public accountant for twenty-three years. I can’t think of anything I would rather do to make a living (except for professional golf maybe) and consider myself quite fortunate. The one thing that I have come to dislike is the way people act. This will include clients as well as other accountants practicing in the trade. Accounting firms are very cheap these days and beat their staffs unmercifully. Eighty-five hours plus a week are the norm during tax time with a stressful killer schedule for the rest of the year. As for the clients, they wine and complain and expect to be treated as if the accountant is the indentured servant. Never again will I put up with cheap owners and overbearing and demanding clients.

The fees at the se firms are too high relative to the benefit received. Tax preparation has become a compliance exercise with very little time given to being proactive and planning one’s financial future. When I was reviewing returns at my last job, I would often make suggestions on steps the client could take to save more on taxes and strengthen their respective portfolios. “Oh My God” I thought as my opinions and concerns fell upon deaf ears. My colleagues, the very people I thought would share my enthusiasm for practicing our noble trade, tossed me to the side and told me to stick with the routine. People want to be dealt with on their time tables and it is more important to meet this goal than it is to offer major tax planning ideas. I think some clients just like to watch their accountant bow and jump through hoops when they come-calling.

I once had a colleague tell me that he would bleed for a client. Not this boy. I know that high fees are frustrating, but the client should take a more active role in his or her tax planning and preparation and be willing to go on extension to encourage proper planning. As for the heads of these accounting firms, cut back on your client base maybe to match with the manpower on hand. There are fewer people going into public accounting and this will be a fact of life for the next generation. As for the $125 bonus my last firm gave me after tax season, it in no way rewarded me for the lack of work life benefit that was promised.

For the next twenty-three years, I am going to revolutionize the way we deal with getting accounting help. I am taking my message to the people on radio and will tell you want you want to know and how to do your own financial and income tax planning. I will help you run your business, educate your children, build your portfolio, and save for retirement. There will be no wining tolerated by the listeners and no bowing from me. I will encourage the people to prepare their own tax returns and to seek help from me when they are stuck. This is how I intend to practice the trade I so dearly love over the next twenty-three. My guess is, many would like to see a change in the way they receive financial guidance.

Ron Piner, CPA Host of “Better Business” Saturday Mornings at 10ET On WBIS AM 1190


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