The new tax law has spurred a ton of interest over the last couple of months, and we signed up close to 100 new members in January. If you’re one of those new members, we’ve got a real treat for you this week! (And if you’ve been around awhile, you’ll still enjoy the discussion.)
For better or for worse, we live in a do-it-yourself age. Google and the internet have convinced everyone that they can become instant experts in any subject they want. YouTube videos teach everything from computer programming to carpentry. LegalZoom lets you be your own lawyer. (Never mind the dictum that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.) WebMD lets you diagnose their own cancers. And you don’t even have to lift your lazy butt out of your seat to say, “Alexa, make me an expert in tax planning.”
Sometimes knowledge alone isn’t enough. So our DIY economy jumps in to provide the tools you need to put your new knowledge to work. Home Depot sells the equipment you need to tackle any home improvement project, whether you know what you’re doing or not. (Seriously . . . if you’re not sure you’re ready to drywall that basement bathroom, you’re not.) AutoZone sells tools that you can use to do thousands of dollars of damage to your car.
And of course, right now, the Staples down the road has an entire standing display full of tax-preparation software that clients can use to do thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to their finances.
But just because you can go out and buy yourself a tool doesn’t mean you have any business actually using it. If you’ve ever reviewed a return that a business owner prepared on TurboTax, you know that’s true. (When I was running my own practice, I used to love when clients brought in the returns they prepared themselves!)
And that’s where the bone saw comes in.
Just for kicks, open up your Amazon account and enter “surgical bone saw” in the search box. It’s terrifying. But you’ll be amazed to see page after page after page of saws you can buy. And cheap! That baby you see in the picture below is listed at just $12.30! That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than paying some overeducated surgeon thousands of dollars! If you’re a parent, you’re probably salivating right now about how much you’ll save when one of your kids breaks an arm or has a skiing accident, right?
Now, some clients really can use accountant-in-a-box software to prepare simple tax returns. Some moms really can use bandaids and Neosporin to take care of minor cuts and scrapes, too.
But nobody in their right mind would think that just because they can buy a bone saw for $12.30, they have any business cutting out the surgeon when it comes to family orthopedics?
So why are they so convinced they can use tax-prep software to bypass you.
That’s why you need to go on Amazon right nowand get your very own bone saw that you can show to clients when they ask about doing things themselves that you know they have absolutely no business doing.
Bring it with you to seminars! Kevin Moser just sent me a photo of him holding his up for the audience at one of his recent talks. (It’s a good look.)
Have it on a very visible shelf in your office, or mount it on the wall where visitors can see it and ask about it!
Right now, the news is full of articles explaining how the new tax law may or may not save your clients money. But we know there’s more to that whole discussion. Most reporters – and even most accountants – will focus most of the time and energy on what the new law does. But we want to focus on what opportunities the new law creates – and how we can use proactive planning to make the most of those new opportunities.
And that’s not a DIY job.
HGTV has a whole lineup of shows where impossibly attractive flippers, fixer-uppers, and property brothers show you how to turn tired old houses into sparkling gems.
But CNBC has no shows, at least that I’m aware of, where impossibly attractive accountants teach you how to make the most of the new Section 199A rules.
There’s a reason for that. (And it’s not because accountants aren’t attractive. We’re astonishingly good-looking people, once you look past our green eyeshades.)
The most powerful tools in the world can be worse than useless if wielded by the wrong hands. Make sure your prospects and clients understand this to help them see your value.