I have to admit that Fridays post tax-season have a special place in my heart. I’m able to smile when someone says “Have a good weekend” rather than my inward snarl that takes place when I’m embroiled in the midst of tax season and Fridays hold no significance except as just another work day. So I have to confess on a recent Friday afternoon my thought pattern was weighted far greater to the upcoming weekend plans than my work load. It was a telephone call from a possible new client that jarred me back to reality.
The first thing I heard was, “I am embroiled in a dispute with my ex-boyfriend over property we owned and I was thrown off of it.”
First alarm bell.
Next, “I’m receiving an inheritance. I really don’t think it’s fair but I’ll work it out with my family.”
Second alarm bell. My experience has shown that these situations rarely work themselves out easily.
“I’d like you to review a will and trust.”
Third alarm. These are legal documents best reviewed by an attorney.
“I haven’t filed a tax return for a number of years.”
Fourth alarm. I’ve found that there are generally numerous issues involved and catching up filings is often a much greater task than the client anticipates.
“I really don’t have any money and am seriously watching what I spend.”
Need I say there were so many bells that were going off it was hard for me to hear. I was also wondering why I hadn’t left early that day. It was Friday after all.
I really don’t want you as a reader to think that I don’t welcome your call. I do. My job is to provide service to you in the sharing of information and my technical knowledge. My caller had obviously been holding all of her issues in reserve and seemingly on that Friday afternoon, it all exploded with a phone call. So, how can we make things work for both of us?
As a potential new client, you most likely will have questions that you are hoping to get some guidance on. If you have a specific area, such as foreign income, I’d suggest that you let our administrative individual know that when you are asking to speak to a CPA as a new client. We can do our best then to transfer you to an individual best suited to help you. Compile a list of your issues and questions. If you’re anything like me, you probably find that it’s not until you finish that you realize you forgot to ask one of the questions you most wanted answered. It’s possible that a telephone conversation will lead to an appointment. It’s unlikely that if we are new to your situation we can give you an adequate answer to your questions simply via a telephone call. Try to understand that while your issues may have been haunting you for an extended period of time, we may not be feeling the same sense of urgency as you are.
I’m going to continue to enjoy my Fridays because I know that the next tax season will be here well before I’m ready for it. In the meantime, maybe I’ll hear from you and we can be on our way to establishing a great relationship.
Cheryl Dickerson, CPA