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The Biggest Complaint About CPAs: They Don't Reply to My Emails

Updated: May 23

As CPAs, one of the most common complaints we hear from clients is, "My CPA doesn't reply to my emails." This frustration is understandable, especially when clients rely on timely advice to make important business decisions. Let's delve into why this happens and how our Firm is addressing this issue.

1. Overworked CPAs and Talent Shortage

The accounting profession is currently facing a significant talent shortage. There simply aren't enough CPAs to meet the growing demand for our services. This shortage means that many CPAs are overworked, juggling multiple client needs and complex tasks.

While AI tools are becoming more prevalent, they are not yet capable of replacing the nuanced, human understanding required for accounting and tax matters. AI can assist us, but the system's intricacies often necessitate human intervention. As a result, CPAs are stretched thin, making it challenging to respond to every email promptly.

2. The Complexity of "Quick Questions"

Clients often send emails with "quick questions" that they assume require simple answers. However, many of these questions are far from simple. Providing an accurate, thoughtful response often involves detailed research and analysis. CPAs prefer to give no answer rather than risk providing incorrect advice that could mislead clients.

3. Out-of-Scope Inquiries

Frequently, the questions clients ask fall outside the scope of the agreed-upon services outlined in the engagement letter. Rather than bluntly informing clients that their queries are out-of-scope, CPAs often try to help out of goodwill. However, the cumulative effect of these "favors" can lead to burnout and delayed responses to emails.

4. Seasonal Engagements

Many clients only hire CPAs for tax season, expecting assistance once a year. If you engage your CPA solely for tax preparation, it's unreasonable to expect ongoing support throughout the year. While your question might seem straightforward, the answer often isn't as simple as a quick Google search.

Our Approach: Commitment to Timely Responses

At our Firm, we understand the frustration of waiting for an email reply. That's why we've implemented a commitment to respond within 24 hours. Here's how we do it:

  • Acknowledgement: Even if your question is complex or out-of-scope, we will acknowledge your email within 24 hours.

  • Clarification: We will let you know if your question requires more time for a detailed response or falls outside the scope of our engagement.

  • Action Plan: If further research is needed, we will provide a timeline for when you can expect a thorough answer.

Conclusion

We empathize with our clients' frustrations and strive to improve communication. By setting realistic expectations and committing to timely responses, we aim to enhance your experience with our services. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street, and we appreciate your patience as we work to provide you with the best possible service.

At our Firm, we are dedicated to supporting you and your business needs. Thank you for understanding the challenges we face and for continuing to trust us with your financial well-being.

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