Art of Accounting: One Hour a Year Since 1972

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IMGCAP(1)]Last week I met with a client for one hour to get his tax information. This is a client I have had since 1972.

At this point his tax return is much less complicated and he could easily mail in his info, but then we would forgo the meeting. We met when his lawyer introduced me to help negotiate his divorce. I got it done and in a way that he and his soon to be ex-wife did not fight and remained friends (to this day!). Because of this I will never lose this client. We are truly in a great profession!

At our meeting we catch up on each other’s lives, children’s and grandchildren’s doings, health issues (thankfully nothing bad for either of us) and his work activities. He told me I could never retire and I assured him I will always be around to get his tax information. In actuality I haven’t prepared his return in over 30 years, but I am the person he meets with. Occasionally he calls with a quick question about something that has nothing to do about taxes; he knows that if he has a question about taxes or his return he needs to call Peter Weitsen, my partner of over 28 years. Last year his grown son had a problem that I was able to solve for him. My pleasure—I love it when clients’ children call me.

I have others like this and in some cases deal also with the children and grandchildren. We are truly in a great profession and tax season is the icing on the cake. We get to see and interact with clients that have become friends, even if it is for one hour a year.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, published by 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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Tax practice Tax season