In the normal course of business it is necessary to periodically update for changing trends, technology and legal and industry standards. This month I made the following six changes that will be reflected in future engagements:
1. Elimination of fax communications. Fax is just outdated, often insecure and inefficient. Instead, I encourage the use of scanner apps available for smartphones and the associated secure store and transfer services associated with these. I am happy to help any clients make the transition.
2. Removal of some services from pro bono engagements. I often support community groups and lower income individuals, both in reduced fee and pro bono engagements. In an attempt to provide more uniform treatment to these clients, I am removing the following services from pro bono agreements: 1) services connected with the administration of grants received, 2) services associated with increasing revenues above the levels required to meet the core organizational mission, 3) services triggered by client neglect, 4) services that add unnecessary costs (for example using paper where electronic services are more efficient), 5) services where the client can afford to pay. Services for community groups and lower income individuals that are removed from pro bono engagements may be provided on a reduced fee arrangement that is typically half of the regular fee schedule.
3. Separation of paper handling services. Services for the handling, transport, storage, scanning and filing of paper documents will be separate from any tax or accounting engagement. I am happy to help you get your paperwork organized and help you move away from paper-based systems, but this just isn’t a core part of tax or accounting work.
4. Paper mail address. It should be obvious but we affirm that the choice to use a consolidated secure mailing address of Post Office Box 333, Newport NJ 08345 for all national and international postal mail does not constitute a physical presence or office at that location. It is simply part of an efficient paper management system. Actual physical location of services will continue to be affirmed as part of the engagement agreement.
5. Statement on secure communications. Clients should be aware of differences between secure and unsecure communications and technologies. The choice is always up to you but we want to be sure that you know that both methods are available. I am happy to help clients learn how to use the best technologies for each situation.
6. Pricing and taxes on services provided – I’ve deliberately underpriced some technology-driven services for small businesses in an effort to attract clients and provide immediately recognized exceptional Apparently my technology providers used the same strategy. But now the cost of those services like accounting, payroll, bill pay and electronic banking have increased dramatically. Separately, the time required for me to maintain an excellent level of service to clients and meet government compliance requirements has increased. Additionally, following last year’s Supreme Court decision in the Wayfair case, more states are adding sales tax to many intangible products and services that were previously untaxed. I must adjust pricing at the earliest opportunity. At the earliest opportunity in the normal course of engagements, I will review and increase prices.