I’m going to start by saying right up front I’m not a Facebook fan. It just looks like a giant time suck . . . especially when you consider how many people use it for political bickering. And like everyone else here, I have too many Facebook “friends” that aren’t real friends at all. At least LinkedIn is up front about its ulterior commercial motive!
Having said that, we decided to use Facebook to host our TMN online forum, simply because that’s where the people are. And when I log into Facebook to participate in those conversations, I occasionally look through some of the other tax and business development groups.
Wednesday night, July 3, I was on the “Entrepreneurial Accountants” group when I came across an accountant venting a little frustration. Her post:
“Annoying client called. ‘What’s the best way to save on taxes.’ My answer. ‘Hire a good CPA.’
I got a good laugh out of that, of course. I’m in the business of answering that very question! But I nearly choked as I read down the page and saw one of the comments:
“Work on your mindset so you are glad to pay taxes.”
I wasn’t sure the poster was being serious. (She couldn’t really be serious, could she?) So I posted my own reply, just one word: “Really?”
A minute later, her response came back:
“Really. My grandpa said the great thing about income taxes, you don’t make it, you don’t pay it. I’m all about paying the least amount possible, but I also want a profitable business, so taxes are required.”
Now, I’m sure good ol’ grandpa is full of folksy wisdom, and probably some folksy Will Rogers quotes, too. But seriously…? Setting aside the objective reality for just a moment (and we’ll get back to that, I promise), can you imagine a client coming to you in pain over their taxes, and telling them to change their mindset to embrace it? It’s kind of like being a hostage negotiator . . . walking into a bank holdup . . . and telling the hostages cowering on the floor to work on their mindset so they’re glad to be hostages!
I’ve had more than one client come to me over the years and tell me, “It feels like my CPA is working for the IRS.” Do you think that client wants to hear me say they should be glad to pay taxes!?!?
Now, I agree with the poster that taxes are a sign of success. I agree that some level of tax is probably (probably) necessary for the client to function in the modern economy. But when clients come to us in pain over their tax bill, and we’re seeking to sell a tax plan to ease that pain, we don’t live in a world of objective reality. We live in a world of subjective perception. And telling that client to change their mindset to be glad to pay taxes is the sort of reality slap that sends them looking for a new tax pro! I’ve said for years that the average CPA couldn’t sell cocaine to Charlie Sheen. This is a perfect example of why I say it! Please. Don’t ever ever ever EVER tell a client they should be glad to pay taxes. Or you might find they’re not a client much longer!