Art of Accounting: Top 10 Regrets

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IMGCAP(1)]A month and half ago I posted the 10 reasons for my success. I received quite a few calls about that and I came up with some regrets, so I’m sharing them here.

1. Not taking off Fridays: I could have taken off either every Friday or Monday and extended the weekend. This would have greatly improved the quality of my life while taking very little away from my work or productivity. This is even more so now in this age of 24/7 connectivity where you can handle calls and emails easily while not in the office.

2. Not getting rid of nasty people that were clients: I will also add “or those that paid below reasonable fees.” The quality of my life certainly would have been better without them, while my revenue would not have taken much of a hit. I would have had more time to spend with my nice clients that paid the right fees.

3. 3 to 10: Can’t think of any other regrets. There have been some bad business decisions, some bad things and some mistakes, but that is part of being in business. One of the most unpleasant things I had to do was perpetual fighting with some clients over fees and also to get paid (a minor few, but enough to be annoying). This is regretful, but not a regret since this seems to be a universal issue among everyone in business, not just accountants. And most of the blame probably goes to me for not conducting my business affairs as diligently as I should have. So, unpleasant—yes; a regret—no. Obviously, if I knew then what I know now, I would not have any regrets or second thoughts about unpleasant things, but c’est la vie. Paul Anka’s lyrics (as sung by Frank Sinatra) definitely apply to me: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.”

#1 and #2 are no longer regrets, but were for a good part of my career. Look at your regrets and fix them now. I have.

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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