The “Typical” Tax Season Effects
Several years ago, I looked into a new life insurance policy for myself because it seemed like the smart thing to do. In doing so, I quickly realized that I was not in good shape medically, but more importantly, I was not in a good position professionally. My life insurance provider told me that my rates would be high not only because of my health, but because of my industry. By that, I mean my CPA profession was life-threatening.
Yes, you read that right. The mortality rate for CPAs is higher than that of other objectively riskier professions like skydiving instructors. CPAs work long hours, have poor work-life balance, and therefore have industry wide issues with obesity and other weight related sicknesses. Skydiving instructors have safety measures and back up plans and parachutes all to prepare them to jump out of a plane over and over and over. CPAs hadn’t figured out a backup plan. The work compression is stressful, it is so complicated, everybody has the same deadline, and some new issue always comes up. Busy season never felt like something I could adequately plan around to have a more balanced year, so I didn’t. And I, like so many other CPAs struggled with work-life balance, worked crazy hours, and ultimately had serious physical health problems, along with work problems.
The question was, “Why not?” I graduated from college, I passed the CPA exam, I built a business, but I can’t plan to keep myself healthy? Why couldn’t I exercise during tax season? Why couldn’t we, as a team, plan for success and include a contingency plan for when something goes wrong? Why couldn’t we come up with our own backup parachute?
If you think about it, I know when my deadlines are years in advance – April 15th, every year. And I also know who I will be doing work for since I have maintained a healthy client retention rate. So why can’t I plan ahead since I have such certainty in what I am doing and who I am doing it for?
Hello, “New” Tax Season
In 2013, I started protecting my medical health, and realized I needed to protect my work health as well plus my staff’s work health. I couldn’t work them harder, so I worked with them to create a plan we could stick to that would dole out rewards for everyone.
Here’s how that went: In 2015, our new plan made it possible for every client to be finished with tax season a week before the deadline. Since then, we’ve met that same goal for every tax season, April and October. How does that look for our employees? One tax season, we rewarded ourselves with a long weekend. I, Ford Baker, went to San Francisco with my son for a Father Son Football Weekend. Another CPA in the office went camping and hunting in Arkansas with his Brother-in-Law. I’ve also gone to Colorado with my wife on filing deadlines, and one of our directors did the same this last year.
We have been able to improve on that because underlying all of it was a technological innovation that allowed us to work on our client's information in real time. We gather our client accounting information each and every day, automatically, so we don’t have to wait or go back and forth with you to start our work. And we work on it throughout the year, so we don’t start your tax return after you stop your year, but work on the return throughout the year with you. We have become more efficient, and our client satisfaction has gone up, all because we were driven to have better balance in our lives and as a firm.
So, What Does All of This Mean for You?
If you are a business owner looking to work with a CPA that’s proactive, follows a plan, and delivers your numbers ahead of time, we’re the group for you. The key words here are “work with.” We can’t churn out the numbers early if we don’t have cooperation and cohesion from your side. We have back up plans for mishaps, but not consistent errors. This type of solution saves you time and it saves us time as well. Having said that, this plan we’ve been discussing includes limited hours on the BaCo side. If you’re looking for a group that will answer the phone night or day, rain or shine, no matter what, we are not the group for you. We sell time for a living, but not all of our time is for sale.
We aim for 100% satisfaction. The way we achieve that is through this plan of being proactive, handing out data ahead of time, saving you time, and saving us time. If you’re wanting things outside of this plan or you’re asking for the time that’s not for sale, we won’t engage with you simply because we know you won’t be satisfied.
If you are looking at this article and thinking, I wish my firm did this, then why can’t it? If the answer is because my firm would never (fill in the blank) then maybe your firm needs a fresh face, ours. We are different, we aren’t typical, but if your life is just as important as your paycheck then check out what we have to offer. You can fill out an application and come by the office. Maybe your firm will be our firm and your wish will come true.
Published on Jun 17 @ 9:18 AM CDT