Get Your CPA, Accounting, or Tax Practice Out of E-mail Hell

So you’ve been in a CPA, accounting, or tax practice since Ronald Reagan was President, and you’re just getting used to the giving up the telephone as your main method of communication.  Now I’’m about to tell you that e-mail is like so 1990’s dude, so Kurt Cobain, so grunge era.  In 2016, e-mail could be strangling your practice.  Here’s a little math to show you how.


To keep the numbers easy, but also realistic, let’s assume an average client sends you ten e-mail messages per year.  Let’s further assume that you miss or lose 5% of messages.  Maybe, you delete them accidentally.  Maybe, they end up in spam.  Maybe you just can’t find them when you need them in the clutter of twenty messages an hour in April.  Let’s further assume that your staff members have the same loss rate.


If you have 1,000 clients, you are getting 10,000 messages per year.  So you lose 500 messages per year at 5%.  I did that math without staff assistance.  Let’s assume you forward half of those messages to staff for processing.  They are going to lose an additional 5% times 5,000 messages or 250 messages.  As a firm, you are losing 750 messages per year.  Let’s list the bad things that happen when you lose messages.


  1. You look like an idiot in the client’s eyes. At the very least, you come across as not very tech savvy.
  2. You spend lots of time learning how well Outlook indexing works, or doesn’t. Just what key word should you search for this time?
  3. You play more rounds of e-mail tag to get the information you missed the first time.
  4. You have to teach your staff to search effectively or even just how to file messages for later retrieval. Organization can be tough for millennials.  It makes them uncomfortable and takes them away from their safe places.


At the very least, you lose hundreds of hours playing e-mail scavenger hunt.  Don’t you especially love clients, who send you tax documents attached to twenty messages over two weeks?  Then they ask you to confirm that you got all of them.  Of course, you don’t even know how many there were to start with.  Then you have to forward all of them to your staff.  I call this e-mail hell.  When you get there, the Devil greets you with an inbox full of penis enlargement spam.


To escape this hell, you need a medium where clients can post files and messages that don’t become moving targets for Outlook indexing.  You need a medium where you can instantly retrieve that 1099 the client posts today that you won’t need for another three weeks.


You want a medium that not only allows clients to post files and messages for you, but that also helps you post files and messages allowing you to help your clients out of their personal e-mail hells.


If your CPA, accounting, or tax practice management system won’t get you out of e-mail hell, get religion and find a new one.  While you’re at it, get rid of those CD’s and get an MP3 player.


Thanks for reading!

Frank Stitely, CPA, CVA



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