Art of Accounting: Becoming a 'Media Star'

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IMGCAP(1)]After I began writing regularly for financial and business publications like Boardroom Reports and my firm’s own newsletter, that opened many doors, but the opportunities needed to be actively pursued.

An associate producer of a local news program who was a friend of a client once called to ask if I could help her come up with some questions an on-air reporter could ask the tax expert who was going to be interviewed. I spent almost an hour helping her when she remarked how knowledgeable I seemed. She wondered if I would like to be interviewed instead of the person they had in mind. They sent a camera crew to my office and I became the “Channel 5 tax expert” for a few years. This led to my appearing on five New York City TV stations, CNN and others. As the producers switched jobs, I was their first call for on-air tax advice, leading to meeting other producers who also switched jobs. I also picked up quite a few of them as clients along the way.

I also appeared as the first studio guest on CNBC because an assistant producer had read a tax tip article I had written for a young women’s magazine. She was asked to try to get a tax expert to appear at the studio and be interviewed about last-minute tax tips. The article was excerpted from a book I had written, published by Prentice Hall. When Boardroom stopped publishing Successful Tax Planning, an editor who worked on it was now with Prentice Hall, and she asked me to write a tax book for them, which I did—more opportunities seized.

There are other stories, but the point is to not kick aside opportunities. Recognize them when they appear, do some work, research and be prepared, be helpful when you can, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

You might think I had a charmed career, and I did, but it was backed by hard work once the crack in the door was opened. Next week I will present some examples from the graveyard of missed opportunities that I offered to colleagues but were not seized. And they’re still available to you, if you carpe diem!

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner emeritus at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz (published by CPATrendlines) and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition” (published by the AICPA). Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or

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