The way they were

Clients leave lasting impressions

Corey Butler, MNCPA communications coordinator | February/March 2018 Footnote

"Memories light the corners of my mind ..."

Barbara Streisand aside, who comes to mind when you reminisce about your clients? Is it the couple you helped during a life-changing situation? The one who drove you batty with their indecisiveness? Or, maybe, do you think about a client who helped you?

More than 85 MNCPA members shared with us their most memorable client stories. The following are a handful of stories that made us stand up and cheer, or reel back agape. These stories will be used as examples of how CPAs can help throughout tax season and beyond during the Tax Campaign, our annual public relations effort highlighting the value of working with a CPA.

So, take a trip with us down memory lane as we relive CPAs' most memorable clients.

The newlyweds

I had a newly married couple come in as new clients. The wife had taken money out of an IRA for college tuition and had paid the 10-percent penalty for early withdrawal on her past returns. I was able to file amended returns and the couple received refunds, which they used for a down payment on their first home.

The benefactor

A client learned that his son's classmate had been accepted at Washington University, but could not go because her father had lost his job. My client, who wished to remain anonymous, had me be the go-between in providing her with a gift over four years that allowed her to go there.

The joker

I had confessed to a client that, one year, I was nervous about telling him his balances due (even though he was expecting the large dollar amounts). The following year, when I called to discuss his balances due again, he played a joke and told me that he had to pick himself up off the floor after knowing his balances due. I thought he had actually hurt himself at the time of our conversation!

The one who was in the right place at the right time

I was meeting with a client in the height of busy season late on a Sunday when the office was empty. I was also late in my pregnancy and had gestational diabetes, which causes blood sugar swings. Apparently, my blood sugar dipped too low and I started shaking and almost passed out right there! My client had to run to the vending machine and get me a Coke. How embarrassing!

The procrastinator

A client, who was a natural born procrastinator, was disappointed that I was rushing him to make his final decisions on payments at 5:15 p.m. on April 15. He wrongly assumed I worked until midnight and he had a few hours to make up his mind. I had to inform him that my wife was waiting in the firm lobby for me.

The widow

I had a client whose husband died the year before I started working with her. She was working full time and was going to start receiving her husband's Social Security, and was worried about how much she would owe the following year. We figured out an amount to have her job withhold extra from her paychecks. When she returned the next year, she was very worried she would owe money and didn't have it. When her return was done, she was receiving small refunds from both federal and state. She burst into tears of happiness because she had been so worried.

The one who "makes an entrance"

A client was late for his appointment, so he was driving a little fast as he approached the building. The brakes went out and he smashed into the side of my building. It sounded like a bomb going off! The spot where he hit the building created a crack that went straight up the wall and across the ceiling. No need to say how that appointment went!

The new parents

One of my clients adopted a child and the IRS was not allowing the adoption credit. At the time, there were multiple fraud issues associated with this credit. I worked with my client over the course of about 10 months. I talked with the IRS, sent numerous copies of documentation and finally got the matter resolved. My client was extremely happy and has been referring multiple new clients to me ever since.