[IMGCAP(1)]Stanley Hochhauser passed away last Wednesday. He was a client that I worked with in my first job and became my client when my father passed away in 1976. Stanley was the last of my father’s clients and his passing also closed a link to my past. I am an accountant because of clients like Stanley.

Stanley was a dream client. He had a successful business. He was smart and actively contributed to our important client/accountant collaboration. He was concerned about his affairs so he always pushed us to do more for him. He treated my staff people in a royal way, continuously interacting with them, making them feel involved in his business, and always taking time to teach and mentor them. They were all eager to go to his office, and he paid our bills by return mail.

If it weren’t for clients like Stanley, I probably would not have remained in public accounting. He made things exciting and pleasant while creating growth opportunities and a predictable cash flow. He was a nice, happy, content person.

Having known him for such a long period, I found it was difficult to not learn a lot about him. We chatted about many things, but he only spoke about his “past” when he was much older. Each of my conversations with him was a mini education on many topics. This included why he decided to go into business, what his choices were, how he did initially, and how hard he worked (and continued to until his grandson stepped in to run the business) making a living and providing for a family while growing the business. We also talked about managing cash, interacting with his brother who was his partner, hiring and supervising people, and surviving many recessions and economic downturns. He also found some time to tell me about his combat service in World War II and seeing his one-year-old son for the first time after the war ended.

As he got older he was fortunate to have a grandson who was able to learn the business and take over. Even then he still was involved, but the pressures of day-to-day management and never-ending decisions were eliminated, allowing him long winters in Florida with his beloved wife Rita. I used to visit them in Florida and our conversations continued, but more on a personal level than business and in a less harried atmosphere.

Stanley was a couple of weeks short of his 98th birthday when he died. He lived a wonderful life, leaving behind a good and proud family and was an exemplary role model for those who knew him. He was a true gentleman, and the world is a little less good today without him. 

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 www.CPATrendlines.com 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 www.partners-network.com. 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 emendlowitz@withum.com.