Why You Shouldn’t Take Your CPA’s Business Advice


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Not many people know about me, but I am a chartered accountant. I keep the certification, but that doesn’t mean I’m a very good CPA. For me, if the numbers are close, that’s enough, which isn’t exactly the sign of a good CPA. Fortunately for the profession, I haven’t practiced accounting for years.


But come on, you love your CPA, right? He hasn’t aged well, I’m sure you will agree. But he’s a good guy. You would let him babysit your children. You would let him dance with your wife. In fact, you’d be better off because the guy knows your innermost financial details. But while they have your best intentions at heart, the point is, your CPA has their own agenda. You are a client, and like a doctor who watches this patient on the operating table with impartiality, your CPA is probably looking at you the same way: a few billable hours, a partial payment for his next vacation, or a few hours of his schooling. child at university.

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To make money as a small CPA you need a lot of clients which means there is no way your CPA really knows everything they need to know to better you. to serve. He is also probably not an expert in your industry either, although he should be, as there are always best practices and new tax rules that may be specific to your type of business. Your CPA does not specialize in state, local, or sales taxes. He is not an expert in personal financial planning or an estate planning guru. These are all separate specialties. Don’t let him tell you he knows this stuff. He doesn’t. Find someone who specializes if you need this kind of help.

Moreover, even if he is a tax expert, he still does not know everything about taxes. In fact, he’s probably so overworked that he hasn’t had time to keep up with all the latest developments. Of course, his profession requires him to take continuing education courses, but a lot of the guys I know in these things are sleeping, working on other things, or just ticking the box to get their credit. Large companies have entire research departments based in Washington and New York that keep abreast of the most recent legislative developments affecting their clients. Your CPA has Google. For big issues, get a second or third opinion. Pay them if it’s worth it.

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CPAs are notorious procrastinators. They are quick to return the ball. They cannot complete your return because a certain receipt is missing. They haven’t finished your financial statements because you still owe them this and that. It’s always something. It is an easy thing to resolve. Just make a list. List all the things your CPA asks of you. Confirm the list with him. Deliver the things on the list. Confirm this delivery, in writing, by email. And then ask him over and over again why he doesn’t do what he said he would do, when you’ve done your part.

Remember that your CPA is primarily a tax expert. He might try to convince you otherwise, but he’s not a very good businessman. If he was, he’d be sitting in a plush office on Park Avenue, not a podunk business above a Chinese restaurant in the mall down the street. It is not a sign of success. It is a sign of earning a living. No problem with that.

Don’t hesitate to ask your CPA for advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Just because he knows how to count money doesn’t mean he knows how to make money. Have other advisers for this.

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