As tax and accounting professionals gear up for the busy tax season, it's worth nothing that this yearly face-to-face meeting with clients is a great time to cement your relationship...and answer any questions they might have about the changes roiling the profession.

It may seem that Andersen’s demise and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has nothing to do with a small or medium-sized practice, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The very fact that a major piece of legislation to crack down on accountants was signed into law last year put the entire profession in the spotlight. As a member of that profession, even your closest clients may be wondering if you at least knew about the kinds of accounting tricks and independence problems that were believed to have been crucial in the downfall of Andersen, Enron and WorldCom. And it’s still too early to tell how strictly the act will be interpreted and whether states will pass their own laws that might very well filter down to the smallest of firms.

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