Art of Accounting: Being the One Person the Client Can Absolutely Trust

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IMGCAP(1)]Last week I wrote about never trying to sell financial products or services to clients and gave a few reasons for this.

Since I wrote that column I decided to take another look at it (see Art of Accounting: Being an Accountant and Not a Salesperson for Other Things). I have, perhaps, a better reason why I did not engage in these additional areas. I always wanted to be the one person in the world whose advice the client could completely trust. To do this, I had to put myself in the position to eliminate any doubt whether I was making more money on one type of recommendation than another.

By refraining from selling any of these things or getting commissions or referral fees, I believe there could be no thought that I was interested in anything other than my clients’ best interests.

What the clients get from me is unbiased, independent advice, and they know this. I feel this has a great value to business owners and want to be the first person they call when they have to make a decision.

This, to me, is an important role, and I get a lot of pride when my clients call me when they need to make their most important decisions. Those calls are worth a lot to me—much more than the extra revenues I could have received from selling other services and products.

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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