At Work / Workers Around The Region

AT WORK

April 13, 2005|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to The Sun

Donald R. Hull

Accountant

Age: 66

Job: President and founder, Hull Co. Accountants Inc. in Westminster. He's an enrolled agent, which means he is licensed by the federal government to represent taxpayers before the IRS anywhere in the country.

Years in business: 42

Salary: The median salary is $67,319 for an experienced tax accountant in Baltimore, according to Salary.com.

How he started: Hull joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where testing pointed him to accounting. He tried it, enjoyed it and after leaving the Marines in 1959 attended the Baltimore Institute (now the University of Baltimore). He secured an accounting job after graduation but at the same time took on extra clients from home. His home business grew over the years to its current form - a firm of 19 full-time workers.

Typical day: From late January to April 15, Hull works from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. six days a week. His day includes interviewing clients and preparing tax returns from the start of the day until about 10 p.m. He schedules half-hour or one-hour time slots depending on a client's need to complete their tax return. The last part of his day is spent catching up on paperwork. The rest of the year he typically works a 50-hour week where much of it is spent with clients in elder care and estate planning.

The good: Interacting and mingling with clients. He said it's his job to make his clients feel at ease. "I enjoying sitting here chatting with people. That to me is part of the job and the fun part of it," he said. "I like to keep it light, but get the job done and make them a lot less apprehensive about doing their tax returns."

The bad: The hours and the pressure. "There are both federal and state deadlines you have to meet," Hull said. "The pressure to meet those deadlines and to deal with people who have not done a good job in assembling their data to start off with is the aggravating part."

Changes over the years: The computerization of the paperwork and electronic filing have reduced time spent preparing tax returns. But complex federal and state tax laws have made the job more difficult.

His philosophy on the job: "It has always been to try and help people. To assist them in paying their fair share of taxes but not more. And to perpetuate the profession."

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