Becoming a Client — General Information
Part of the GreatCPA® Difference is that I always very closely monitor my capacity to add new clients. I am different from most other CPAs insomuch as I never take on more work that I can complete with an appropriate level of immediate, solutions-oriented responsiveness. My first allegiance is always to existing clients. CPAs that add new clients from the general public during Busy Season do so at the expense of their service to existing clients. And since my existing client base is always very close to my desired capacity, I usually only have limited openings each year for new clients.
For these reasons, I only add new clients between June 15th and September 1st of each year so that sufficient time can be allowed for planning, education (of both of us) and back-and-forth questioning that can occur in advance of each tax season.
In short: I only proactively add new clients in the summer before next year’s busy season.
I can usually make only one exception to the above rule: Potential new clients that are or are becoming an immediate (or very close) family member, a very close friend, or exceptionally-strong ally of an existing client may be accepted at other times (subject to overall capacity and timing issues) when the relationship can be confirmed with the referring person. Make sure to know who referred you when you call me at 804.359.1330 and reference them by name immediately at the beginning of our conversation.
I regret that because of capacity issues that unless you meet the one exception noted in the paragraph just-above, that I must ask that you please mark your calendar for just-immediately-after June 15th and call me then at 804.359.1330 so we can make sure that we have a match for next year and to schedule your New Client Meeting.
I Only Add New Clients Between June 15th and September 1st of Each Year As Follows:
A big part of the GreatCPA® Difference is a close working relationship. I charge a flat $365 fee for an up-to-one hour in-person meeting to discuss the current year’s issues and to plan for the preparation of the current year’s return(s). Internally, I this an "Onboard Meeting" and I only do these meetings live and in-person at my Richmond, Virginia office.
Payment for the meeting is required on the day of the meeting by check, cash, or through VENMO. So be prepared for this. Payment will be made at the end of the meeting.
New Client meetings are scheduled only by having a telephone conversation (please call 804.359.1330 during normal hours) to make sure we have a match and so that we can agree on a specific day and time.
What to expect at your New Client Meeting:
I'll be enthusiastic about immediately looking at a printed copy of your most recent Federal and State returns while we begin to get to know each other. Doing this immediately tells me things about you that I will begin to ask questions about. I'll look for things that "pop-out" as unusual that I can make observations about in hopes of raising meritorious questions about ideas and strategies going forward. If I see something that is strange or unusual or might not have been handled thoroughly or properly, I'll make observations. As this happens, we will be exchanging questions (and answers) back and forth.
As the meeting progresses, and I ask questions about what I see in the prior returns, you'll begin to introduce questions and ideas. My goal for this meeting is that each of us will make a favorable impression on each other towards the common goal of becoming partners towards the goal of preparing correct returns that focus on strategies to make sure that returns are prepared efficiently with a solutions-oriented attitude that is collaborative. And, of course, I want every single one of your questions answered.
Your questions are important--first because I want to, of course, answer them, but I'm also using your questions to learn what you are not asking. The biggest risk in life is that you don't know what you don't know, so I'm always thinking what you are not asking and I'm using that methodology to make observations and to chart a strategy for the future.
Things to bring to the On-Board Meeting:
Printed copies of at least your most recent Federal and State Returns (you can bring me up to three years, but I will focus first on the most recent year's).
Printed copies of the most recent year-to-date pay stubs for all W-2 employment that will be shown on the current year's return
A list of questions
Printed Copies of any letters recently-received, if applicable, from taxing authorities
Anything else that I ask you to bring when we speak on the phone to schedule the meeting.
After your Onboard Meeting and as a new client, you will be added to the client database and considered an equal member of the existing client family and will receive the following benefits:
A Guaranteed spot for the next busy season’s preparation. At the Onboard Meeting we will talk about the process of how meetings are scheduled and the deadlines for receiving information.
20% off (up to $365 in total) on any amended or prior year returns that we agree (during the meeting) need to be done, including a just-prior year return (if you haven’t filed yet). Preparation fee quotation(s) given at the meeting.
Copy of the prior busy season’s year-end client letter and engagement letter that were issued to clients the prior January 1st.
Ability to have additional consulting hours at a $325/hour rate for more planning, meetings, preparation and assignments—whatever you need.
My personal cell-phone number
Ability to call (at no charge) with brief questions for the remainder of the year — existing clients are never billed for brief and infrequent telephone calls.
Upcoming busy season’s year-end letter issued next January 1st (on or about).
If you've reviewed the above information and feel we have a match at the right time, please give me a call.
I ask that our initial contact to occur by telephone (804.359.1330) during normal business hours so that we can discuss your unique situation. Should you by chance reach my voicemail, almost all messages are returned within 90 minutes.… One of my cornerstone values is that I never leave the office for the day until all calls are returned.