We all have expectations, when you go to a restaurant you expect to be served food that is not going to make you sick. The problem is we are not good at communicating what those expectations are. I have trained several dogs; friends are always asking me how we managed to have such a well behaved dog. The answer is we expect it from her. She knows what her rules are because we worked with her on them.

I am always getting calls from people who are unhappy with their CPA, most of the time it is due to a lack of communication between the CPA and the client. Industry wide communication has been identified as the number one problem clients have with their CPA. I know it is often the number one complaint I get in my own practice and is something I am trying very hard to correct.

One of the issues I see is that most people don’t understand what their CPA really does.  The definition of a CPA is a certified public accountant only a few of which concentrate on tax. I happen to concentrate on taxes. A good CPA in the tax area does not prepare taxes as their main source of income – preparation of taxes is more of an proof of what they do, not the product itself – a good CPA is a tax strategist – that means they search for ways to save you money on taxes.

I promise your CPA is not ignoring you; I am not ignoring my clients. The problem is we often get immersed in a project and forget things like returning calls or e-mail. We usually are not doing it on purpose but instead want to have to perfect answer for you.

So what can you really expect from a good CPA

  • Most CPA’s give very good tax advise – the problem is they don’t normally write it down – A good CPA writes things down so you can go back to that at any time needed
  • Most CPA’s really do understand business and business processes – A good CPA can explain business jargon such as tax entities or P&L reports in normal terms.
  • Most CPA’s understand areas of business that are not financial such as marketing – A good CPA understands the value of working as a team and the value of putting you in contact with experts such as marketing, legal and even business coaches.
  • Most CPA’s know several different industries – a good CPA understands their limitations and will tell you.
  • Most CPA’s understand financial planning such as retirement planning and such – a good CPA has amazing contacts that can get you even further ahead.

The bottom line is that you need to find a CPA who meshes with your personality – if you prefer to communicate with e-mail then find a CPA who prefers that too.  Let your CPA know what you expect from them. If you want a return call within 5 minutes find a CPA who can give that too you. The best CPA is the one who you want to learn from and who you are willing to be the ideal client for so tune in next week for what your CPA expects from you.

What do you expect and how can I improve – I really do want to know?