Art of Accounting: In a Time Long Ago

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IMGCAP(1)]Many of my stories occurred many years ago—some are from a half century ago—so the question is, are they still relevant and why am I telling them now?

Well, maybe the exact circumstances are archaic, but the lessons and principles are as applicable today as they were when I lived through them.

For example, write-ups are no longer done manually, but the concept of comparing the current month to the previous periods is as relevant today as ever. As with training staff, the purpose is to get as much done at the lowest levels as possible.

Client relationships have changed; at least some of the methods have, but not the need for strong, caring interactions. The concept that clients still want to know that you did the work before you made your recommendations is as applicable today as it ever was. Being an advisor to clients—as well as a friend and sympathetic ear—is essential to a sound, lasting relationship. Nothing has changed over the years.

I have searched through everything I wrote in my autobiographical articles for Accounting Today and couldn’t find anything that is not as valid today as it ever was. These stories explain what accountants do, what their roles are and their importance in the whole scheme of business. I hope you learn from them, as I have as they were happening—in today’s parlance—in real time.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner in WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He has authored 20 books and has written hundreds of articles for business and professional journals and newsletters plus a Tax Loophole article for every issue of TaxHotline for 27 years. Ed also writes a blog twice a week that addresses issues his clients have at He is the winner of the Lawler Award for the best article published during 2001 in the Journal of Accountancy. He has also taught in the MBA graduate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court.  Ed welcomes practice management questions and he can be reached at WithumSmith+Brown, One Spring Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, (732) 964-9329,

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