This one’s for the clients. My clients and other people’s clients.
One of the things I hear when clients choose me to prepare their taxes is that their prior #taxpro didn’t communicate with them. That is not a complaint my clients typically have. If anything, it’s the opposite. I use mass e-mailing software to send office updates frequently during tax season. Why? It’s a concept called “one to many”. If I send out one e-mail to everyone and even half of the recipients read it, that means my call and e-mail volume goes down by an order of magnitude. I don’t get clients calling and e-mailing about “Where’s my stuff?” because I try to let them know regularly if/when I’m running behind schedule or bottlenecked. Same thing if I am seeing the same errors or omissions over and over on client paperwork (e.g., clients forgetting to update their driver’s license and/or banking information on my interview). It’s not that I’m trying to annoy my clients by e-mailing constantly. It’s that I’m trying to manage the resources in my office.
Speaking of managing resources, many times the reason #taxpros don’t respond to your “Where’s my stuff?” questions is because we have to choose between handling those types of inquiries or actually preparing tax returns. It’s the same reason many of us want you to do a thorough job on your annual client interview (or organizer). That’s what those documents are for. When you “pencil whip” your interview and then submit questions via phone or e-mail it slows everything down. Sometimes we have to return to work we thought was finished. Other times, we aren’t ready to answer your question because we aren’t actively working on your return. But if we don’t answer almost immediately then you continue to follow up with even more calls and e-mails. Either that or you become the “my #taxpro doesn’t communicate” client. We want to help you. And we definitely want to answer your questions. But unless you have worked in a tax office during season you really cannot understand the level of effort that goes into ensuring returns get processed both accurately and on time. Especially for those of us who work solo or with only part-time seasonal help.
As I was writing this I just had a client leave because of “too many e-mails.” Believe me, I understand the overwhelm. I really do. But you know what? There’s nothing that says you have to read my (or anyone else’s) e-mails right now. I write them so you have the information you need when you are ready to start working on your tax return(s). And I’m both sorry and not sorry to see you go. We’ve made some big changes in our office this year that I’m hoping will allow us to move into the future and to continue to be able to accept new clients without a workload that has us making ourselves ill (or dropping dead at our desks, and yes, it happens). None of these changes were made lightly and none of them were easy (or cheap). I’m one of the few reputable, experienced, and reasonably priced #taxpros in my area who is accepting new clients. To be able to do that means running my practice in a way that works for me while being as simple as I can make it for you.
If you are my client (or the client of someone who communicates “one to many”) please remember that while you may be getting multiple e-mails from one source (our office) if we don’t choose one to many we are getting multiple calls and e-mails from hundreds of clients. In other words, do yourself and your #taxpro a favor and “for best results” read their communications and follow their instructions. And it’s really OK if you feel like you just can’t manage within our systems. Your leaving our practice allows you to find what you need and allows us to accept clients who can work with our program.