There was one dentist in my hometown. Upon graduating from college, he bought a building in town, outfitted it with dental equipment and started accepting patients. He must have been practicing for 20 years before I was old enough to need his services. My mom sent me to him throughout my childhood (another 15 years). In those 35 years since he graduated from college, he never changed a thing. He used the same dental equipment, same 1960’s syringes (big metal things with glass tubes), same sinks and chairs, and worst of all, the same dental methods that he learned in college.
After I grew up and moved away from my hometown, I was amazed to learn that tooth-colored fillings existed! My hometown dentist only offered analgum fillings. I was amazed to see a digital x-ray! My hometown dentist processed the x-ray film the old way. My hometown dentist would wash and re-use syringes…nobody does that anymore! The field of dentistry had advanced quite a bit since he graduated from college, but he hadn’t kept up – after 35 years, he was a dinosaur.
One might doubt that there are many industries where a professional can make a living as a dinosaur, but like small-town dentistry, the accounting industry is full of dinosaurs.
The accounting industry changes daily. If a practitioner “takes it easy” for even one year, they are way behind. Software changes, accounting methods change, tax rules change, IRS procedures change, technology changes, etc. I see many tax returns come across my desk that were prepared by someone like my hometown dentist. The accountant might have been on the cutting edge at one time, but his knowledge has since atrophied from neglect. The results are some bad tax returns…tax returns that are off by $1,000’s.
The mentality among clients is often: “Matt has taken care of my return for years, he knows me.” That is true, Matt knows you and your situation, but does he still know all of the other stuff…the stuff that makes him a proficient accountant. Sometimes it is best to get a second opinion. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Matt.