Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Healthy relationships start with managing expectations, especially communications. Generally, WCG relies on emails and text messages as our initial communication style.
We do this for two reasons- first, it allows you to take your time and fit our needs into your busy schedule. Second, it memorializes the conversation and becomes a part of your client record.
However, we understand that this doesn’t work for everyone or for all situations. If you prefer the telephone… if you prefer to sit down with your service professional and have a conversation, we will always happily accommodate. You just need to let us know.
Who Drives the Boat?
In most ways, you do. We will ping you with phone calls, emails and text messages about critical things like tax return preparation and payroll approvals. However, if you want a Periodic Business Review (PBR) or a business consultation meeting, or just want to check-in regarding tax reduction strategies, those are mostly requested by you. We used to ping clients and business owners in the past for these meetings but it quickly became noise and unproductive; as such we encourage you to reach out to us… at any time… for anything.
How We Use Email and Text Messaging
Email Templates and Blasts
We have created a customized communication tool to pre-populate an email with a template message. From there, we customize it to fit your particular situation. We use a template because it allows us to align our message as a team and to remain consistent. It is also efficient. If we are typing the same message about home office, for example, a hundred times, why not make it a template?
A lot of critical information which requires exactness can only be communicated in writing which also makes our emails long. If you don’t like reading emails or spending the necessary time to review our communications, then frankly our relationship might not work. Having said that, we might have a solution to the TLDR response… CPA Concierge. With this service we will still send those emails, but they will be followed by a telephone call to review. Think of it like story time.
Sidebar: TLDR tells someone, “too long, didn’t read.” It’s amazing anyone is getting through high school with TLDR on the brain. We now know why Christmas letters have all but disappeared in favor of the printed mass-mailed card… then again they were just big brag-fests, right?
Also, we send email blasts to all clients very sparingly. In the age of opting out or unsubscribing, you will miss important emails such as changes to tax code and certain deadlines. For example, we recently sent an email about the pass-through entity tax deduction to about 1,100 business owners. We have 80 or so who had opted out and missed a significant tax savings strategy (we actually ended up calling all 80 people since it was that important).
We encourage you to not opt out or unsubscribe to our email blasts. We only send about 15 per year.
Email Progress Alerts
We send progress alerts via email for certain tasks such as tax return preparation. Some clients have complained that we communicate too frequently. And to be certain, some clients would complain if stopped providing these progress alerts. We can’t make everyone happy. Therefore, we believe there is less pain and anxiety with over-communicating than under-communicating.
Since a lot of people get inundated by emails, we also send a text message with most of our emails to alert you. If we are actively having a wonderful email conversation, then we do not send a text message. But if we send an initial email asking for missing information or alerting you that your tax returns are ready for review, as examples, we also send a corresponding text message. Our custom system also queues messages so they are only sent from 8:00AM to 7:00PM mountain time.
Email Response Times
Our email response times vary. For everyone except the tax team, our response time is 1-2 business days. Should your situation require a quicker resolution, no worries! Call us! See below for a list of direct phone numbers, or you can always call 719-387-9800.
You can always text us at any of our phone numbers too, and say “Hey! Call me please.”
For our tax team, things are a bit different. Because of the volume of work and the focused energy required for tax return preparation, we check and respond to email on Mondays and Thursdays only. During certain times of the year given summer schedules and holidays, your email might not be attended to for several days.
The tax team’s commitment is to respond to each email within 3-4 business days. As mentioned before, and what cannot be over-emphasized, should your situation require a quicker resolution call us. We love talking to our clients. Taxes are boring… let’s break up the day a bit with your phone call.
Why do we do this? Two reasons- first, attending to email can be a black hole and perhaps an unnecessary distraction.
Second, having certain work blocks dedicated to email establishes a consistent pattern for response, and provides comfort to you, the client, knowing when a response is coming. Said in another way… if response times vary all the time between 10 minutes to 5 days, they are truly undefined and perhaps chaotic. But a response on every Monday or Thursday provides consistency.
We have also created a client communications form so you may tell us more precisely your expectations and how you would like to be communicated with. Please click on the button below-
When Do We Call You?
For WCG, we will initially call you under a handful of circumstances-
If we feel that electronic communication is failing. If we ask “what is your favorite color,” and you respond with “pizza,” clearly words are being exchanged but we are not communicating.
Back and Forth
If we have more than two iterations with an email thread, at times a phone call is preferred to wrap it all up.
We will also call you if the subject matter requires an active conversation. Certain topics have a myriad of decision points like a bad flowchart, and email is a terrible medium.
For payroll processing, we will call you to confirm certain things like a new employee or cash needs that exceed an established amount. This is to protect you and your business from possible irregularities.
If we have a zillion things missing on a tax return or need a bunch of clarifications on your accounting records, we will call you. In these situations, we will have a draft email ready to go in case we get your voicemail.
If it’s been a while, and we miss the sound of your voice.
Should you get our voicemail, please leave us a message. Our phone system transcribes the recording and emails us, and of course we are alerted directly on our phone. So, we might not see the email right away, however we are still alerted and can dig up your message.
Managing your business and the engagement with us cannot be accomplished over voicemail. So, if we are playing tag with you, after a two iterations we will send a scheduling link to find an agreed time for a call.
Ideal Client Relationships
Since our client interactions are about relationships, WCG has a short list of expectations from our clients. We do not believe in the adage that the customer is always right. Sorry. This might seem harsh, but we have several good clients who are expecting us to keep distracting clients out of the fortress so we may leverage our resources correctly.
Sense of Urgency
We expect clients to have a sense of urgency. As Tina Watson, founder of WCG, says, “We hope you value your business as much as we value your business.” In other words, we need clients to carve out time for us so we may do the job you’ve hired us to do. It doesn’t make any sense to hire a housekeeper but not provide access to the house.
Our relationship isn’t a drive-thru transaction. We want to work together on understanding your business, tax and financial worlds. Sure, we have several clients who provide beautiful financial statements and we produce equally beautiful tax returns. At the same time, we prefer to review the financial statements, poke around a bit, ask some questions and collaborate with you to ensure the best advice is being offered and the best tax return is being prepared.
We want you to be open and honest with us. We don’t like playing hide the ball or some silly guessing game. Accountants unfortunately do not have the same client privileges as attorneys, doctors and clergy enjoy. However, we’d rather have you tell us the truth in plain language so there is no confusion.
We are not machines. We are human beings who from time to time make mistakes and have bad days. While one of our favorite phrases is “We are all actors on a stage. We do not have bad days.” we expect the same compassion from you that we offer to you. The Golden Rule comes to mind. We do not tolerate swearing or yelling at our staff. Jason Watson remembers working for the airlines when passengers would be screaming at the gate agent, and he would simply say, “if your gate agent could say anything other than your flight is cancelled she would, but she can’t, so cut her some slack.”
Trust and Verify
To become a CPA you need 150 credits of school (which means a Master’s Degree), to pass a ridiculously tough four-part test (45% passage rate) and work for another CPA for 2,000 hours. A lot of clients want to understand how things work. This is great, and we love teaching the basics. We truly do. However, please understand that a newbie CPA spent 6-7 years just to become a CPA and it is difficult to reduce all that knowledge into a singular conversation. We hope that our clients can get to a point, or at least trend towards the point, where they trust the professionals they hire, and they verify the work product.
Taxes are a way of life. We are not interested in doing business with clients who do not believe in paying taxes or who do not have the fiscal responsibility to pay taxes. Yes, we want to minimize taxes. No kidding. It is your duty as an American citizen to pay the least amount of taxes allowed by law, and we will help you do that. At the same time, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in 1936, “Taxes, after all, are the dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”
Of the G20 countries, only South Korea, India, Mexico, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia have lower personal income tax rates. None of those countries with the possible exceptions of South Korea and Canada sound like a place worth living in (in our humble opinion). We live in a great country. Pay your dues. Just not a penny more.
Direct Phone Numbers
Please use the direct phone numbers below to call us. You can also send a text message to our direct phone numbers.
We recently moved to using WCG-issued cell phones with RingCentral to improve your access to us.
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Jason Watson, CPA is a Senior Partner of WCG Inc., a business consultation and tax preparation CPA firm located in Colorado Springs, and is the author of Taxpayer’s Comprehensive Guide on LLC’s and S Corps which is available online and from mostly average retailers.