I thought I would provide some follow up. The checklist has be spectacularly successful. In fact, it has bee so successful, that we are in the process of substantially expanding it to cover numerous and specific types of accounting and tax work. We have also created a premium version of the form where an individual has the option of completing the for for up to four prospective service providers so they can compare. Further, we have begun testing an upscale version of the form where for a small fee, we will review the completed form and provide our reccomedations regarding which firm would be the best choice or rank all of the proposals. The initial results of that offering were stunning. At a $250 price point, 54 out of 100 business owners choose to engage us to review the proposals. In 48 out of the 54 cases, the business owner choose to accept our recommendatons.There were 6 cases where the business owner made and explicit change in their original choice of provider based upon our recommendations.
Out of 100 original submissions in over fifty of the cases all of the chosen providers were CPAs. Out of the 80 submissions that involve business entities, a CPA was selected 76 times, one went to an attorney and three went to Enrolled Agents. The final 20 cases were individuals and the Enrolled Agents were chosen seven times, and of those, the reason for the selection was low price in five out of seven cases. It is an amazing subject to pursue. The next steps will be to conduct a larger study sample of perhaps 1,000 businesses and then undertake satisfaction surveys. We are also exploring the potential to make the selection application available in the QB Online and Xero Add-on Marketplaces. We are going to contact the AICPA and all of the state CPA societies to make the checklist available on as wide a basis as possible. There is considerable mis-information available in the market, as a significant number of people were under the impression that H&R Block was a professional firm, something that is most certainly is NOT.
Finally, I am sure you can tell how disappointed I am to have absolutely confirmed that “Enrolled Agents are most certainly NOT America’s Tax Experts. One can hope that prospectively the Enrolled Agents will recognize that they have sufficient skills to present themselves on their own merits that can cease spewing the mindless propaganda bout being “America’s Tax Experts”. It was interesting to see how many business owners were influenced when they learned how many different tasks could be performed by CPA’s that non-CPA’s are prohibited from performing. Further, while there maybe be individual EA’s that have a good level of accounting skill, where the tasks at hand involve quantitative tasks, an EA that is lacking accounting skills is a significant deficiency. It strikes me that the EA’s are not used to the extent they ought be in IRS Representation matters. Enrolled Agents that lack accounting skills are also an acceptable option. However, and EA’ that does not have accounting skills comparable to those of a CPA a significantly inferior choices for estates and trusts due to the importance of accounting income under state law. The EA that lacks the accounting skill should NEVER bet the choice where a business entity [any corporation, limited liability entity or partnership and same for transactional consulting. It would be a stunning change for the Enrolled to actually admit which choice would be in the best interests of the client, rather repeating the nonsense about being “America’s tax experts. Business owners would be better served by quoting another piece of their history and telling the Enrolled Agents “you and the horse”