Way back in time I had the good fortune to work in a firm whose in-house CPA happened to be the author of the joke column for a well-known accountant publication.
He well understood the contradiction between the nature of his editorial role and the droll reputation his profession has concerning things related to any form of humor. Thinking about it always caused him to laugh.
He would add, “An accountant is an actuary with a personality. I was going to become an attorney, but felt it would be worse to be thought a shyster!” I think he used both of those lines in his column.
If the professional stereotype has some substance you don’t have to look far into the Internal Revenue Code to understand the cause, at least among tax accountants.
There is nothing funny about it, and you do have to look far and wide to find tax jokes, because there just aren’t any. Such a morose work environment understandably takes a widespread toll on even the most affable of professions.
The only joke, perhaps, is the one played on taxpayers when the government set filing day as April 15.
Note that it is about as far as they could get from Election Day without being too obvious. So by the time you vote in November the sting of taxation is far from your mind as you pull the lever for the folks who will use the next year’s April showers to rain on your parade.
Right now the last thing most clients want to re-address is the return they just did address to the IRS. But herein lies the planning and sales opportunities.
Left to themselves clients will wait until after next New Year’s to call and ask what you can do to reduce their income tax for this year. Short of a couple of possible qualified money deductions, maybe, there’s not much to offer.
Now is the time to act and several of our core carriers have materials that make the process more focused and beneficial – with illustrations and commentary concerning how to walk through a client’s tax return pointing out opportunities and making suggestions for planning advantages.
The material might also be put to good use with CPAs, encouraging them to review the returns of clients they might send to you for planning help.
Besides, they are in such a good mood this time of year they may even respond to a couple of your jokes about insurance advisors.