Saturday, March 6, 2010

Have You Slept With Your CPA Today?

No, it's not a bumper sticker like "Have you hugged your kid today?" I just wondered if others were sleeping with their CPA, because I am. And it's worked out really well. I haven't had to pay to have my taxes done in six years.

Now, before you make any hasty judgments about me, I want you to know that my accountant is the only person I am sleeping with. I'm not sleeping with the cable guy or my drycleaner. If my only goal was to save money, I would be sleeping with my mechanic and my dentist.

Having been in a close relationship with a CPA for six years now, I have made a few discoveries. Did you know that during tax season they often work 12-18 hour days, seven days a week? Were you aware that October 15th is fast becoming as big a deadline as April 15th? And that for a full service accountant, preparing tax returns is only a small portion of what they do? OK, I'm done quizzing you.

My CPA has clients who own multi-million dollar businesses. When I asked him one day, whose return was the most difficult or time consuming, he replied "Yours.” Now, how could that be? My income is consistently in the four figure range! I always have the majority of my bank and credit card statements. I have a Quickbooks icon on my computer desktop! Sometimes, I even open it!

But, then the memory of last year comes flooding back. The phone this one:
"Elaine, according to your records, no one paid you after August, is this true?"
"Oh, I'm sure that's not true, I would have noticed that."
"Then, why do you have seventeen outstanding invoices?"
"Oh, I guess I got so busy I forgot to enter it when I got paid. Would chicken be okay for dinner tonight?" (Not so clever attempt to distract him, since between January and April 15th, the only meal we share is dinner on Valentine's Day)

I have this recurring nightmare that starts around the end of February every year. I come home one day to find all my belongings packed in a suitcase (you know this is a dream if all my belongings fit in one suitcase). He says he doesn't love me anymore. Sobbing, I drag my suitcase to the waiting taxi (apparently, I don't own a car in this dream either) and I turn to look at him one last time. His lips part, and I think he's going to tell me it's all a mistake, that he can't live without me, that I'm the only person in the world for him. "Oh yeah," he shouts from the front porch, "and good luck finding someone to do your taxes!"

So, maybe sleeping with your CPA isn't possible for everyone, but the least you should do is give your CPA a hug. Not because they work incredibly long hours, not because they don't see the light of day for six months out of the year, not because they have to deal with the IRS on a regular basis...but, because they may be sleeping with someone like me.

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