I received a compliment today. I am a CPA who goes by the book. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be a compliment. I was approached by someone today who was letting me know how someone else (they wouldn’t tell me who) out there is portraying me. Apparently, I’m by the book, but this other person can help you work around IRS regulation. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT STATEMENT!!!!


1 – You DON’T work around IRS regulation! If you know what you are doing, you work within regulation. I have saved people hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars working WITHIN the law, not around it!


2 – The person who said this, from what I understand, IS NOT A CPA and working with one doesn’t suddenly make you an expert. CPA’s are FIDUCIARIES for their clients and this person, clearly, IS NOT. It is my JOB to ASSUME you are going to get audited and make sure you are in the safest position I can put you in! Of course, guarantees cannot be made, but I work very hard to make sure I give sound, safe advice!!


3 – ANYONE can call themselves an accountant or a bookkeeper with little to no experience or education. Beware of anyone who tells you they are almost exactly like a CPA or EA, but don’t ACTUALLY have those letters behind their names. Having been on both sides of that fence I can tell you, without doubt, that is not a true statement no matter how much experience in the industry you have! They are not required to have the level of continuing education CPA’s and EA’s have to maintain in order to represent their clients to the IRS. They are most likely not experts in the latest and greatest in tax laws and accounting standards.


This is the stuff that frustrates me! It should not be a bad thing that I work within regulation! It should not be used as a weapon against me! Nichole and I are CONSTANTLY cleaning up after people who “work around IRS regulation!” Those are also the clients, when audited, I really can’t do much for except educate them and work with the IRS to soften the blow. Not knowing the law and following the advice of a professional who is not a fiduciary is not considered a valid reason for doing things you should not be doing.


Don’t get me wrong! There are some AMAZING bookkeepers and accountants out there that are not CPA’s. Naseem Matteson (Small Business ABC’s), Regan Miskin (RAM Bookkeeping Services), and Mary Fawley (Great Bridge Bookkeeping) are three examples of accountants/bookkeepers that are fantastic and work WITH CPA’s, not against them. Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention my business partner (business wife, really) Nichole Payne, who is not a CPA but an AMAZING managerial accountant!!! Not one of these women will ever make the claims that this person made to my colleague.


So, if you are someone who wants to work around the law, definitely don’t come to me. I’m too busy going by the book, and very proudly so.


Misty Leinberger
Misty Leinberger