This is a second post providing insight into rainmaking in a professional firm.
After our first response, the CEO of the potential client decided he wanted to compare solutions for solving a current problem they have with their 2013 tax return.They started by interviewing three firms. They eliminated one after the first round and came back to us with a request for a specific proposal to repair their botched 2013 tax return. These are significant issues that could result in wholesale changes to their return. They wanted to see what specifically we would do so they could compare it with the other firm’s proposal. This is an odd request at the minimum, and in the most likely case, this is may be a client who may be a bit hard to get under control.
The other applicant is a local office of another national firm that has offices all over the country, as opposed to our approach. The local office is an ignored backwater that does all the shit returns for more significant offices. So I knew the guy was in over his head.
My first inclination was to to withdraw from the list of applicants. But our great and wonderful professional staff convinced me otherwise. Never-the-less, I am getting the impression this client only hears what he wants to hear and may be reluctant to take good advice, These clients can be the kiss of death because they can get in a lot of trouble and have a tendency to drag you in after them.
Here’s my response
” We don’t think it’s a wise idea to select an approach in this manner.
If you go off a proposal, you will be locking yourself into a position that may turn out not be the best solution. And if I recommended an approach without all the pertinent information, I would be doing the same thing. My inclination is to open a dialog with the IRS and let my eventual decision evolve over time depending on the concessions we get from the IRS.
There are myriads of outcomes possible, and many of those outcomes are decidedly unpleasant. If we just start, every one of those outcomes will remain in play. We believe it is a better idea to take as many of those off the table before committing to a solution. Then when we commit, we know what to expect. This doesn’t need to be solved today. We have the time to take the approach I suggest. The IRS is still in a mess from the shutdown and tax season bearing down on them.
Many of the tax strategies we use are reserved for our clients and we do not divulge them casually. This keeps our clients on the cutting edge of their industry and helps them stay competitive.
All we will need is returns from the last three years, a power of attorney and a working relationship with your company.
If you hire our firm, we will make it a priority to make corrections that result in the least damage and the best benefit to you. But the research, time and effort that goes into a project like this cannot be done quickly enough to be put into a proposal. This is a work in progress to find the best solution.
One more thing.
We can tell you are very concerned about selecting an accounting firm. That is obvious from the detailed approach you are taking. It is a difficult task because there is not a CEO out there with the ability to recognize competent tax and accounting talent. But this approach is not going to help you. You are just giving incompetent talent more opportunities to snow you.
That having been said, we would love to work with your company. This may not be the answer you are looking for, but our main priority is developing a working relationship with your company that results in the best outcome for you in the long run. ”
C’est La Vie
His first response expressed his dissatisfaction with my response. I responded as follows.
” My response will give you a good picture of our firm and how we operate. Like I said in our meeting and in the email this morning, there are a myriad of possible approaches and results. The best way to approach them is the way I described. “