My thoughts on tax season - a reflection!
This morning I was reflecting on the 2014 tax season and a lesson that one of my previous Directors (from my government days) once taught me came to mind. I worked in public service since I graduated from high school and at the time I heard this, public service was all I did. He said, and I quote: Services can be 2 out of 3 of the following things, but rarely will you get all 3!
Good, cheap and quick....
As I related this to my own practice and tax season, it rung so true.
QUICK: My company doesn't provide quick tax turnaround like other tax chains. We won't sit with you while we complete your return. This is because we focus on complex returns and while we do use computer generated tax software, we do not RELY on that software for your return. Every return is reviewed line by line by my partner for accuracy which has in turn allowed us to catch even computer generated mistakes! We have a minimum 10 work-day turnaround when your number is next (all returns are based on first in, first out and priority/complexity). So I'm happy we are not quick! Because we are thorough and accurate! But we are TIMELY! Rather than quick, we are timely and ensure that all of our clients are aware of and meet all required deadlines!
CHEAP: Cheap is in the eye of the beholder. You may pay less to have the return completed NOW, but if there were errors and mistakes, most likely you will be paying far MORE in the future with penalties, interest and IRS representation if you are audited. We tend to focus on complex business, family and estate returns, so usually these are not going to be cheap. But you do get what you pay for! But it's cheaper to pay now than to pay later when there is a problem!
GOOD: I feel confident when I say, that my company is GOOD. We aren't quick, because we are accurate and thorough. We aren't cheap, because we tend to help people with complex situations create a tax and business plan of action so they have peace of mind and a focus for the future (yet again, cheaper to pay now than pay later in penalties and audits). We ARE good because we take a holistic approach to accounting and taxes. We look at your big picture and all aspects of your finances to make the best tax planning decisions WITH you. Once you are our client, you have a trusted advisor that is always there for you - year round! We don't charge by the hour --- we charge flat rate fees for trust and transparency.
So here's something to think about, not just for taxes, but for most services you need... Do you want your level of service to be:
1. Quick and cheap, but not good?
2. Good and quick, but not cheap?
3. Good and cheap (relatively speaking), but not quick?
My vote is just for number 3! GOOD so I know I can sleep at night that I'm protected from the IRS (as it relates to taxes) and that I have a team of advisors on my side! Cheap in respect
to paying a premium now for a high level of service but less than you would if errors are made on your taxes!