Recently, over lunch, a CPA and reader of the Practical Accountant, inquired as to what process we use to develop an editorial calendar for the year. He wondered how we can be sure those topics will continue to be germane to our readers when a particular article comes out as much as 16 months later.

In some ways, it is like cooking as certain dishes work extremely well in a particular season. The wintertime seems perfect for a meat dish with a rich gravy and side of potatoes. So that's why a 1040 tax prep preview article in Practical Accountant is so appropriate at the end of the year to warm you up just before the tax season starts.

Then, there is the newly developed cuisine that is a fusion of two cultures. The chef has a feeling it is going to work, experiments a little, and comes up with Cuban-Chinese. Check it out just south of the George Washington Bridge in New York City where there are a number of restaurants offering that combination. This line of thinking is probably how Marc Rosenberg came up with his article "Grading the Managing Partner"--doing the supposedly unthinkable by having detailed written evaluations of the leader of the firm. It works and a number of firms have already developed a taste for it.

I tried to explain to my lunch partner that in some ways the articles on the editorial calendar are like slow cooking. We know the main ingredients and what we plan to call the dish, but we have to decide later exactly how much of each ingredient has to be added. That often is done in consultation with master chefs that we interview for articles, the practitioners.

Of course, I should point out that at times we come up with dishes that cause a bit of indigestion for some. The one that readily comes to mind was a cover story we did a number of years ago entitled, "Horror Stories From the Files of Professional Insurers," which also had my favorite callout of all time, "Before killing himself, he left a note blaming his accountant."

I guess the food analogy came to me because of last Thursday. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and didn't eat too much so they will be able to enjoy their next helping of Practical Accountant.

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