Myth 1: Concierge CPAs are just for the wealthy.
In the past it may have been, but this is not the case anymore; however, as the CPA population is aging, it is the future of the profession and makes more sense for a CPA looking to pull back on their hours. With a large portion of CPAs at or hitting retirement age, this is better for them as well. Most models are set up so you are paying about $150 per month (which works out to $1,800 per year). This is less than the average American household spends on coffee and soft drinks per year.
Myth 2: Concierge CPA services is too expensive as I still have to pay for my tax return.
While you have to pay for your tax return, the value of the additional deliverables you receive is worth much more than the cash value you are giving up. Here are just some of the items you receive: (a) 1-on-1 meetings with your financial advisor and attorney to make sure everyone is on the same page about your life plan. (b) Personal financial statements so you can see where your financial picture is relative to what you think and where you want it to be. (c) Tax Audit Protection which can literally save you thousands of dollars if your tax return is ever audited by the IRS. You usually will also receive newsletters, seminars, presentations, access to information, and access to a network of other providers at a discount.
Myth 3: Concierge CPAs will make it harder for the average American to have their tax return prepared by a CPA.
Since the 1990’s, there has been a decrease in the number of people becoming a CPA. This is in part to the extra year of college usually required to sit for the CPA exam, but also due to the horror stories of CPAs working 70 – 90 hours per week during tax season, year after year. The historical model of a CPA practice required the CPA to act more as a ‘historian of the numbers’ vs an actual partner for the client. The concierge model allows the CPAs to go back to why many of them went into the profession, to help clients plan for their financial future and to do proper tax planning and work side by side with their clients. As this model evolves, it should give college students more of an incentive to consider the CPA profession and see the extra year of college is an investment of time and money worth making.
Myth # 4: This is just another way for my CPA to collect fees from me.
There is an old saying ‘Less is more’. The reality is most CPAs only ‘make’ money off of a percentage of their clients. This model allows CPAs to reduce the number of clients they are juggling to a more manageable number and to spend much more time with those clients. Concierge CPAs are able to work normal hours (i.e. usually less than 45 hours per week), reduce their stress level, offer more advice to clients and spend more time on self-education, which ultimately benefits all of their clients.
Myth # 5: My CPA will likely take on the same number of clients and I won’t see any change in availability.
The typical tax preparer may have 200 – 300 clients. Concierge CPAs are traditionally contractually prohibited from taking on more than 150-175 clients. There should be regular meetings set up with you (and your spouse) for status checks, as well as for planning (those meetings are usually at no charge and included with your membership fee). They will be available for your questions / emails, as well as there will be an after-hours number available to you in case you are out buying a car and want to know the true effect of the financing terms being presented to you!
Contributed by: Jason F. Griffith, CPA, CMA
Founder of www.VIPCPA.com