Art of Accounting: Now You Are Starting to Work!

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IMGCAP(1)]One summer I worked for my father at one of his large clients. It was a hot July day and I was wearing a suit and tie and there was no air conditioning in the office, just a fan that wasn’t one of the most expensive you could buy.

Across from my desk sat the owner’s father. He just sat there; he did no work. I was working hard and barely looked up, but when I did our eyes met occasionally and he nodded, but that was it.

Sometime in the mid-afternoon, I was dying from the heat and felt totally uncomfortable. I stood up, took my jacket off, loosened my tie, and rolled up my sleeves. At that moment he remarked, “Ah, now you are starting to work!”

My lesson from this is that it is not only important to work hard, but it’s equally important to give the appearance that you are. I extended this to emphasizing my hard and valuable work for clients by remarking at the end of each meeting that “we really covered a lot of ground today” or “this was a great meeting!” or something similar to impress success or achievement upon the client.

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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