(1) “You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”
Do not choose your career, or run your tax practice, because it is what you think your family, friends, clients, etc would want you to do. Follow your own dreams, and make your own decisions, and your own mistakes in the process, based on what you want.
(2) “Only Sherwin Williams Can Cover the Earth”
When I first began my own practice, many, many, many years ago, I thought that I should offer clients, either personally or via relationships with consultants in other fields, all kinds of financial services, and not just 1040 preparation, so that their tax business could not be stolen away by their insurance agent or broker or another financial professional.
Then I remembered what a wise old Texan, and former boss, once told me – “Only Sherwin Williams can cover the earth”. You can’t be all things to all people. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to offer the world to your clients.
Along the same lines, remember that the Tax Code is humongous and you cannot be an expert in all Sections. Choose the area of tax practice that you enjoy most and are best at and limit your practice to that area.
(3) “Just Say No!”
Don’t be an Ado Annie. You must learn to say “no” to clients.
For some reason clients erroneously think that because you are proficient in preparing one type of government report (a Form 1040 or 1040A) you therefore know how to properly prepare all government reports and forms.
Regardless of how much you would sincerely like to help them with matters other than that in which you are educated and experienced, realize your limitations. Learn to tell a client “I don’t do that”.
Over the years clients have asked me to fill out census forms, and loan, financial aid, discount program, and rebate applications. I clearly state that I do 1040s, and nothing else, because that is where my education and experience lies. I tell them that I know nothing more about these other forms and applications then they do, and that I do not have time during the tax season to do anything that does not involve a 1040.
You should also learn to “just say no” to accepting a new client if you feel you are already overworked during the tax season, or that the client shows a potential for agita and aggravation.
And lastly, learn how to “just say no” to a client when they ask you to do something that is “shaky” or “shady” – such as to claim a deduction that you know, or strongly suspect, is not legitimate or appropriate, or not to claim income that you know they received. A client like that you don’t need.