Without hesitation, the answer was, simply, “No.”
As a builder of relationships, I knew better.
What begins twisted —
In the beginning, as a young CPA, I said, “Yes!” to everyone who waltzed through the front door. Thirty years later, I still dance with some of them.
Where did the others go?
They are off to find someone able and willing to be paid to perform.
Those little words: To and For. They are innocent in appearance — powerful in meaning. Many times, professionals exhibit an attitude of doing things to their Clients. I believe in performing acts of service for People.
Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different things. My philosophy has, always, been to serve. Yet, at times, my actions have been less than honorable. The rationalization was made that, as a businessman, it was okay to take on projects simply because someone asked me to do it — and, they had the money to pay.
“And,” you ask, “the problem is?!”
My reply, “It didn’t feel right.”
Difficult to put into words. Yet, there was something about their attitude that bothered me. There was not a true meeting of the minds or a connection at the core of word and deed. While I wanted to do something of value for them, they just wanted me to do it for the money. There was going to be a financial exchange — nothing more. And, I agreed.
What begins twisted — ends twisted.
So it was with the woman above. For over a period of ten years, she had money and needed accounting services. I was paid well for my services — very, well. In fact, I asked to be paid more each year in search of a better feeling (commitment) for our arrangement.
Silly me, for believing that people are more important than projects. I offered ideas for building wealth and achieving success — she took them and paid me. Right up until she wanted to believe she owned me — and, that I should be willing to accept her abuse.
You see — she is very gifted in intelligence, charm, and social skills. Yet, rather than grow in maturity of business acumen and ownership of the consequences — of her choices — her approach is to manipulate those around her. And, if that fails, to buy them.
When I said, “No. No, thanks. and, No more.” — she asked, “Why?”
I went on to say, “Because, for the last few years, I have felt dirty working for you. While I want to do things for you, you want me to do it for the money. No more.”
Lest anyone think that I work just for the love of it, let’s take a look at the spectrum between logic and emotion.
Yes, money is important. Those who say it isn’t will lie about other things, too. Money is a tool, nothing more. When managed properly, it allows great businesses to serve great people.
Equally important is how any relationship feels. It must be mutually beneficial in ways beyond the quid pro quo of a financial arrangement.
Those clients with whom I have danced for thirty years are the ones who receive much more than the accounting projects for which they ask. They, in turn, share with me their life stories. We have a connection beyond description. Suffice it to say, we share a similar worldview and an enduring bond of family, friends, and community.
Much more than a professional ‘Accountant ~ Client’ relationship, it is one of friendship. Friends go above and beyond to serve the best interests of each other.
So, when I hear one of my Friends say, “You sure do a lot of work for that amount of money!” I know we have discovered the true potential and passion of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.