My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Comments and Questions on my Blog Posts

I hope everyone had a good summer. I got in a fair bit of golf (including a boy's trip to Muskoka Bay Golf Club and a quick golf trip with my wife to Turning Stone in Verona NY, just past Syracuse - there are 3 excellent golf courses at Turning Stone). Unfortunately, my golf was totally erratic and I think at this point I need to accept that is me as a golfer.
Muskoka Bay Club Golf Course

Over the eight years of this blog, I have received numerous messages of encouragement from readers and/or thanks for writing a particular blog or even how I really assisted them in their financial lives. I have often told my wife that without all this positive re-enforcement I would likely have stopped writing years ago.

This weekend I got a couple questions/comments that I want to clarify and respond to. The first question was on why I keep saying “speak to your accountant" when someone leaves a question on a blog post I wrote. The second which I felt was quite rude, I will discuss at the end of this post.

Speak to Your Accountant


Since this blog began in September 2011, I have religiously answered comments on my various blog posts. I have tried my best to steer people in the right direction or provide direct answers. However, I often provide general direction and say, “please speak to your accountant”. I thought this comment was somewhat self-evident in that it means; either this is a complicated subject and I cannot answer it on my blog, or that I may have an answer that is more of a grey area and it is best not to answer on the blog as I know people at the CRA read this through my analytics.

This weekend a reader emailed my Gmail account about a couple answers I provided on questions they had left on my blog. They asked why I kept telling them to “speak to your accountant” and did not provide them direct answers. I thought I would clarify why I often answer speak to your accountant.

1. To answer any tax question, you need a full set of facts that often take a half hour meeting to gather. Thus, rather than misdirect, any question that has measure of complexity I try to provide some general direction but always say speak to your accountant.

2. In addition to the comments I answer on the blog, I get several requests each week to answer personal or corporate questions on my Gmail account and I just do not have the time or honestly the inclination when I have clients who pay for this advice.

3. Tax answers are not always black and white. I say speak to your accountant because of the grey areas. How I would answer a reader versus a paying client may be different based on the grey areas. I need to know the exact facts, whether we have a supportable position and the clients risk reward profile.

4. As I note in my disclaimer to each blog post “This site provides general information on various tax issues and other matters. The information is not intended to constitute professional advice and may not be appropriate for a specific individual or fact situation. It is written by the author solely in their personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which they are affiliated. It is not intended to constitute professional advice, and neither the author nor the firm with which the author is associated shall accept any liability in respect of any reliance on the information contained herein. Readers should always consult with their professional advisors in respect of their particular situation. Please note the blog post is time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law".

Non-Tax Blog Posts


I also had another reader say that I should stick to only posting tax posts and not write "silly" posts such as last weeks “Are Accountants Really Boring”. As you may have guessed I did not take kindly to that comment and if I was not a professional I would have had some not publishable words, but I stuck to the don’t read the blog if you do not like it.

In some ways I would have understood the comment if it was framed in a politer manner. But tax posts are technical and take forever to write and must be reviewed for technical completeness. In addition, if I did not have the variety of writing on financial, estate, wealth and or whatever I just feel like writing, I would never had made it past three years.

That’s it for my clarification/rant.

This site provides general information on various tax issues and other matters. The information is not intended to constitute professional advice and may not be appropriate for a specific individual or fact situation. It is written by the author solely in their personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which they are affiliated. It is not intended to constitute professional advice, and neither the author nor the firm with which the author is associated shall accept any liability in respect of any reliance on the information contained herein. Readers should always consult with their professional advisors in respect of their particular situation. Please note the blog post is time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

24 comments:

  1. Hi Mr. Bean Counter,

    Just wanted to say I've been reading this blog on and off for the last couple years, and actually really appreciate the variety of topics brought up and that not every post had to be about tax.

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    1. Hi Anon

      Thx, variety is the spice of life as they say:)

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  2. Hi Mark,

    I have enjoyed your posts for many years and have much respect for your efforts to make complicated tax matters understandable and entertaining. I can also relate to the readers who think you can provide gratuitous advice on a specific situation with limited and often less than accurate information. I am a recently retired CPA who still gets calls and cornered at social events with "I have a quick tax question for you". Often, I politely advise that they should speak to their accountant as the advice on such a matter is not "quick". Oh yeah, I too am a struggling golfer and Muskoka Bay is a spectacular track.

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    1. thx anon- great, when i retire i am not safe:)

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  3. Hi Mark, I'm glad you had a great, albeit somewhat 'erratic' golfing break this summer. Just wanted to let you know I look forward to your posts as I always pick up important points that I didn't know about or hadn't previously considered. So don't let an impolite or seemingly ungrateful comment spoil it for the rest of us. Thanks for the great blog! Christine

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    1. thx Christine and for your other comments made on the blog over the years

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  4. I loved your humour article! I even recommend it to an accountant I met later that day!! Don’t stop writing those ... among your other very helpful advice columns. Tip: anyone who can’t handle a bit of humour you don’t want them influencing you in any way... it’s just wrong to not love humour :))
    Please keep writing ✍️.

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    1. Thx Bernie, you obviously have a bad sense of humour :)

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  5. Keep doing what you're doing. Your blog with both its tax and "silly" posts is great! Cheers.

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  6. Hey Mark,

    Keep up the good work. I'm a financial planner who regularly reads your blog and very much appreciates your insights.

    FYI - I write a monthly column for a local Christian newspaper and am periodically surprised at the insensitivity of individuals getting free advice. They are the minority. The majority are respectful and appreciative, but unfortunately often silent.

    Keep up the great work. You are appreciated.

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    1. Thx Arnold, I agree they are the minority, I was not in a good mood (tooth issues) when I got the comments.

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  7. I very much enjoy reading your blog, have been for years. If I find a subject I don't like or can't relate to it, guess what? I skip it!
    Your writing is clear, humorous, and has helped to kept me on track with my finances as well as shown other possibilities.
    Ignore the fluff, keep doing what you do.
    I click on the ads on the side once in a while to help you out as well....

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    1. Thx JAG-- unfortunately I have no paying ads. Probably the only mistake I made with this blog. I should have had paid advertising, but I wanted to keep it professional, but at the blogs height, i would have made a fair bit. Oh well.

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  8. I just want you to know that I appreciate your blog.
    Thanks

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    1. Came here to say the same thing. It's definitely been valuable to me a few times, and entertaining or cathartic others! I appreciate it.

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  9. Good day

    I want to add my vote to those who have complimented you in the past. Your blog has been very helpful in pointing out the way to resolving items of interest. 2 stick out for me [1] having worked in the US and contributed to the SSA your post on the Totalisation Agreement was an eye-opener (& beneficial to me) [2] probate in Ontario - for a couple of clients your observations got them going on the right path. Thank you for your hard work with your blog.

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    1. Thx Peter, glad the blogs were helpful to you.

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  10. Hi, I am a fairly recent subscriber although have read the blog periodically over the last 5+ years and wanted to pass along thanks for the wealth of information shared. Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed the piece on “Are Accountants Really Boring”. I truly appreciate the time and effort taken to write the blog faithfully over the last many years.

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  11. Hi BBC,

    I am a physician educator (professional) and am trying to teach my brethren about finance (amateur). The fact that you actually make otherwise dry material interesting is a gift. An important one when your goal is to try and teach people. Anyone who can't appreciate that should just go hang out with the other boring people and spare the rest of us.

    The fact that you write such complete posts for general advice is actually very impressive and hard to come by. That you have done this for eight years is mind-boggling. The more time that I spend learning about taxes (I have spent a lot), the more I appreciate the necessity of an accountant for your specific situation when you are dealing with incorporated professionals. Investment advisors may be frilly with glossy pamphlets (like lingerie), but a good accountant is something that you don't leave the house without (like underwear). And you'd better make sure that it fits or you will regret it.

    Thanks for doing what you do.

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    1. Hi LD

      Love your handle. Thanks for the kind words. I think all professional schools should prepare their students far better for the financial and tax aspects of their professions.

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