01 Dec Three Ways to Get Better Answers from Your Clients
As we get closer to the dreaded day taxes are due, it can be harder and harder for CPAs to get clients attention and get the right answers to the questions you need immediate answers for. Here are three ways to get your clients to provide more useful answers to your tax return questions.
- Ask questions in normal human language – not tax speak. Instead of asking about the basis (or worse, the dreaded adjusted basis) for stock sales, ask for the price paid and purchase date for the stock.
- Create questions with your desired answer in mind. Instead of asking, “Did you pay any personal property taxes?” Ask, “How much in personal property taxes did you pay?” The first version might elicit a yes / no answer, which really isn’t what you want. You want the dollar amount. Ask for it directly.
- Ditch e-mail as a medium for delivering questions. You know the drill. You ask 10 questions by e-mail, and your client answers seven of them over eight e-mails. You are left with three unanswered questions and the prospect of more e-mail tag. Use a software tool, which allows clients to answer questions behind a firewall and nags them until they provide answers.
Congratulations on surviving until the last week of corporate tax season. Bookmark www.ClarityPracticeManagement.com and visit us after tax season for a free trial. You can make next tax season smoother starting April 16th.Thanks for reading!
Frank Stitely, CPA, CVA