Focus. Think Ahead. Be Creative.

By Rob Poterucha, CPA

One of my favorite things to do is play pool. When my wife and I were looking at houses this past summer, one of the first things I did was measure the basement to see if a pool table would fit. If it didn’t have the right dimensions, it was off the list. My wife definitely rolled her eyes at me when I told her that, but she also knew that it would mean she might have some more time alone without me bugging her!

Now, what does this have to do with my job as a tax accountant? Well, there are quite a few similarities. The first similarity is that you must be focused. Even if it’s the simplest shot, you need to go through your routine of making sure you hit a quality shot. The same can be said for tax returns. We have returns that we do that are far simpler than some, but that doesn’t mean we can lose focus. A quality product needs to be completed regardless of the complexity.

The next similarity is thinking ahead. In pool, you do this by thinking of the next shot. Sometimes, you must think two or three shots ahead. For example, if I have a ball that is tied up with another ball and both are impossible to make, I need to think of a way that I can disturb them. I do this by thinking ahead and trying to create a shot where I can use the cue ball to break them apart. The equivalent in the tax field is planning. By asking our clients what is happening in their life or what they think will happen, we can plan for multiple scenarios and help them understand their tax situation. It’s never a fun conversation with a client when you tell them they have a large balance due with their return when it could have been mitigated with tax planning.

The final similarity that I see between playing pool and being a tax accountant is that sometimes things don’t go the way you expect them to. For example, when I “break” in pool, I never know where the pool balls are going to stop rolling. I may have to improvise and use a creative solution to the shot at hand. Being a tax accountant is similar because clients are constantly in new tax situations. We need to use the skills we’ve learned over time and apply them in the best way we know how. This is how we serve our clients and are their trusted advisor.

If you have any tax questions as we get towards the end of the year, feel free to reach out to us as we would be happy to help.

And P.S. I would be happy to play pool with anyone too!

Rob Poterucha, CPA | Supervisor