Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

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Tax Prep Styles

Posted by taxguru on March 10, 2007

Q:

Subject: selecting a tax professional
 
Kerry,
 I take exception to your statement, “This means you need to work with a tax pro who will spend the time necessary to properly understand your situation and not just do your return as fast as possible, as is the case with the big assembly line franchise operations (H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax, etc).”  As with all groups you have bad apples, but there are those in this group that employ EA’s and CPA’s that are competent tax advisers.  I’d suggest sticking to your “selecting a tax professional” article. Find someone with the right qualifications and experience.  The sign on the door might surprise you.

 

A:

I’m sorry you were offended by my comments.  I have nothing against tax pros who work for the big franchise operations.  In fact, I had hired a number of Block alumni to work for me in my offices in the SF Bay Area over the decades and was quite happy with the quality of their work once I trained them in my way of doing things.

However, you must realize that the work environment is different in a high end CPA office, where we spend as long as it takes to properly address the client’s tax matters versus a store-front office that handles walk-in traffic and measures its productivity in number of returns prepared.  While I admit there are exceptions, most such offices do operate in an assembly line style that can’t possibly allow enough time for the kind of thorough work that more complicated clients require. 

If your office is an exception to that assembly line style that many people (not just me by any means) perceive of the big tax prep franchises, you should have a good marketing edge by pointing that fact out in your advertising.  As it is, most of those chains are more focused on emphasizing how fast they can prepare returns rather than how thorough they are in helping clients minimize their taxes.

I hope this helps you better understand the context of my comment.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter

 

 

 

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