By Dube & Cuttini
You work hard to find and develop that perfect “power team” of advisors to help your business grow. So, getting a “dear john” letter from your accountant (or lawyer, mortgage broker, financial advisor, or realtor) may come as a complete shock to you. You may say, “How did this happen? What went wrong? That complete jerk!”
To be honest, firing clients is rare. 99% of them are fantastic! But as a public service announcement to that 1% who may be thinking about knocking on our door, please read this first. It will save everyone a lot of time and trouble. (And also make those 99% feel very appreciated by us as we LOVE to work with you!)
1. Commit tax fraud
This is really a no-brainer. If we find out you’re committing tax fraud, please move on. We operate with complete integrity with our clients, our contacts, and with Canada Revenue Agency. Being aggressive with bonafide arguments for your tax position is one thing. Fraud is another.
2. Ask us to commit tax fraud for you
Yes, this has also happened. Sometimes this is just out of naivete. Usually these conversations start with “My buddy told me that he’s saving thousands of dollars in taxes doing XX.” So we explain why “buddy” is going to get a nasty visit from the Canada Revenue Agency. Reasonable people accept our advice and understand that “buddy” may not be the best tax advisor. Unreasonable ones insist that we’re idiots, and that “buddy” is helping him do XX for sure. Good luck with that. Please go ahead and become a CRA target – we will kindly help our clients stay away from this type of hit list.
3. Lie to us
A rare occurrence, thank goodness, but we will fire you for lying to us (why? See #1). And, please don’t hide information from us, which is just as bad as lying in most cases. Sorry, but if you can’t be honest with us, then why are you here?
4. Think you “know” more than we do
Yes, the fact that we’ve been doing this for too many years to count, have mandatory professional development hours each year, have written a multitude of articles for national publications, spoken across the country, and literally written the books on real estate accounting in Canada, we still get the odd client who thinks they know more about our areas of expertise than we do. Then why bother coming to us? (The only real danger to these types is when they tell their friends or post online their vast amount of knowledge of the Canadian Income Tax Act. And, that leads us back to point 2.)
5. Expect us to read your mind
While we like to think we’re good, we haven’t quite mastered the art of mind reading yet. So please, if your financial statements and tax returns are incorrect because you forgot to tell us about three more properties you own, try not to blame us.
6. Expect that we can bend the rules of time and space
We will work unbelievably hard for you to meet a short deadline, for the CRA, for bankers, for lawyers, to close deals. We understand that this happens sometimes, as everyone has circumstances out of his or her control. (One of our lovely clients brought a tax return in on April 29th due to a severe illness…we got it done!) But, if you always need something yesterday and give us the information to complete it tomorrow, we need to talk.
7. Pretend that we work for free
As a knowledge provider, we have to bill for that knowledge – this is our “product”. We also know that we are not cheap. We try to make this clear at the beginning of our relationship. So, why the surprise when the bill comes due? We welcome honest questions and open discussions about invoices. But a small minority “forget” the amount quoted, negotiate after the fact, “didn’t know GST/HST was applicable”, feel that H&R Block rates are more appropriate, or simply don’t pay. Yes, we’ve actually been told, “This is too expensive…I have four kids at home to feed.” Guess what? So do we! This is a business too, just like yours. And at the heart of it are people. We have a great team who love their work, but they have families to support. We completely understand when people are going through tight cash flow, and will work with you on payment options. Just ask.
8. Take “it” out on us…whatever “it” is
If you’re having a bad day, please don’t yell, scream, or call names. You may be stressed out by life events (marriage breakup, business breakdown, illness, money problems), and we have helped in small and large ways many clients through troubles like this. And, yes we are human and make mistakes, just like you, which we will work with you to fix. However, calling someone a monkey isn’t cool. Everyone deserves respect.
9. Complain…. A LOT
We want to LOVE working with you. If you are constantly complaining, especially when our team is trying to bend over backwards to help, you’ll soon find yourself with another advisor. Life is too short to spend with negative people. Bring on the positive!
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