Spring a busy time

AT WORK

For CPA, hours are flexible, responsibilities are varied, but tax season is always stressful

April 02, 2008

Kira Nazelrod Brucker

Certified public accountant and attorney

Nazelrod & Associates, Towson

Salary --$160,000

Age --31

Years on the job --Ten

How she got started --Brucker's father started the practice more than 20 years ago. She would help out when she could, especially during summer breaks from college at James Madison University. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting and went to work for the family business. Brucker works with her father and brother, who also are CPAs. To remain certified, Brucker must complete 80 hours every two years of approved seminars, classes and conferences.

Typical day --Brucker specializes in traditional accounting services at the firm, preparing tax returns for individuals and small businesses. Three employees work for her. Most of her time during the day is spent meeting with clients who are dropping off tax-return information. She estimates that she meets with about five or six clients a day. The company works with more than 300 individual clients and about 75 business clients.

The rest of her day is spent with administrative work as well as reviewing and completing tax returns. She said a normal day during tax season starts about 9 a.m. and ends about 11 p.m. Part of her day is spent researching ever-changing tax laws.

Her schedule is flexible - she works from home two days a week and can prepare tax returns in the evenings at a home office. "At night, it's mostly crunching out returns because my day is so busy with clients."

She also works on bringing in new business by meeting with prospective clients.

Stress of tax time --"I totally recommend people to talk with me, to look at everything in the fall. Then people aren't as nervous" at tax time.

Law degree --Brucker recently graduated from the University of Baltimore with a law degree and was admitted to the Maryland bar in December, which helps her in providing comprehensive estate planning services.

The good --"Getting to know different industries and family situations and knowing we can save them money."

The bad --Unresponsive clients. "You give them advice and they don't follow it. It's frustrating."

The rest of the year --With the spring being such a busy time of year, Brucker said she puts off a lot of work until it quiets down. During the summer and fall, she'll be busy catching up on tax, estate and trust planning.

Audits --"I have a good track record so far." She's worked on about four tax audits in the past two years. She said in each case the client ended up receiving more money.

Advice --Spend money up front by consulting with an accountant. "Many, many times it comes out they are spending money on us, but we're saving them a lot more in the long run."

Philosophy on the job --"Listen to my clients and provide them with what they need."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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