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Two weeks ago my office had a beach party and I met a group of new employees and interns. To engage them in conversation, I asked what they were going to work on and why they decided to become an accountant. I got them to start talking, but they had more questions than answers, so I answered and also added a few of my “two cents” to give some insight into what CPAs do.

Part of what I talked about was how I learned to be a listener watching ballet and how working with a Carvel ice cream shop made me a consultant. I also told them that very important work is often given to a junior person rather than a much more experienced accountant, such as reviewing a client’s minutes, internal controls, and cash balances. I also explained to a member of staff who worked in some restaurants the differences between being an auditor, a tax specialist or a consultant for a restaurant.

Much of what I talked about was in a memo I sent to my students last semester when I was asked if I liked auditing or taxes better. I’ve also included some stories about getting the right foundation in accounting and providing outsourced accounting and consulting services to clients, what clients really need and want (regardless of what they say) and how I provided it and became a “trusted advisor” to my clients. I touched it up a bit and included an article I wrote for The CAP Journal on the future of accounting which included a list of 30 non-traditional advisory services that are now offered by CPA firms. I was going to send this memo to the people I spoke with, but instead decided to send it to everyone in our office as I think it has something for everyone. I also decided to send it to my loyal readers. It is 20 pages long and contains a lot of “meat”. Send your request to [email protected] and just put “Audit or Tax” as the subject. No message needed.

I hope you will have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] with your questions about practice management or assignments you may not be able to complete.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPA. He is on Accounting Today’s list of the 100 most influential people. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns”, co-authored with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition”. He also writes a blog twice a week dealing with issues customers have with with the Pay-Less-Tax Man Blog for the bottom line. He is an adjunct professor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MBA program and teaches end-user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is an ongoing series where he shares autobiographical experiences with advice he hopes his colleagues can adopt. He welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or [email protected].