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From one commercialista to another

Monday, May 11, 2009

I know that commercialisti (tax accountants/business consultants) are absolutely necessary for the important work they provide, and I am grateful. However, to me they are more like magicians with tricks up their sleeves. They certainly know their job, which is difficult with all its intricacies and ever-changing laws, but most people I talked to didn't understand how they are billed each year and what their commercialisti actually do for them. Anyone who has a business, large or small, almost always has a commercialista.

I found a new commercialista through a friend because I didn't like how my previous one worked. I know that it's normal for them to not tell me the amount I'd have to spend in a year because they base it on how much I earn. And it's normal for them to not send a fattura (invoice) after any service is rendered, like the opening of my partita IVA (VAT account), but I also don't like getting a surprise fattura with how much I owe. I'm not one to complain about the system, but I will try to find a system that works better for me if that's at all possible.

I met my previous commercialista back in January 2008, but I feared that I'd have to pay between 800 and 1,500 Euros for the year because I've heard that's the normal annual fee for a commercialista. When it was time for me to do a dichiarazione dei redditi (tax return), I decided I wanted to talk to another commercialista just to see if there was another way to work together so I could at least be prepared for what I needed to pay per year.

Before signing on a new commercialista, I had to go to the office of my previous one to pick up my papers. While I was there, the secretary handed me a fattura that they wanted me to pay on the spot. Unfortunately, I didn't have that kind of cash on me, so I couldn't pay it.

I found the bill to be a little excessive for the work she did for me especially since she never once told me how much certain things would cost. Her response each time I asked her was, "Non ti preoccupare. Don't worry about it." I was very surprised to find out that she charged me for our email exchanges, which were very few and usually just clarifications of what she had previously told me. If I could get paid for my email exchanges with every client, I'd be a rich woman!

I got a good feeling about the new commercialista when I called her a few weeks ago. Our conversation was so positive that I made an appointment to go see her as soon as I could.

When I arrived at her office today, I was even more pleased because she was exactly how I pictured her: vivacious, warm, and friendly. After I sat down across from her, I handed her all my paperwork and she quickly went through it all. She said that everything seemed to be in order, and that the first thing she needs to work on is my dichiarazione dei redditi, which is due by the end of the month.

I left her office feeling very satisfied with my choice of commercialisti because she also gave me a preventivo (estimate) so I now have an idea of how much I'd be spending this year. It is uncommon for a commercialista to give a preventivo, so I truly appreciate how trasparente (transparent) she is when it comes to our working relationship.

After my conversations with other people, I realized that I am fortunate to have found a commercialista who apparently doesn't have any tricks up her sleeve.

May 2009
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