With COVID and the lockdowns, we all got used to working at home (as much as possible). My terrestrial office was empty, done and over with, but I learned I didn’t need to drive to the office every day. Most clients will either call or text my cell phone anyway.
It isn’t like it was eight years ago when I took on this endeavor and then decided that having a meeting place, address and receptionist wasn’t for me, so, I went to a full-time office. When I learned to finally work from home was due to COVID. As many did, we had to navigate a shut down and get through tax season the best we could. We all bought second monitors and went from there.
After the lockdown was over [here in Florida] and the economy was tanking, I came to the realization: who needed an office anymore? In the past two years, I have had only a handful of appointments in the office.
Now, with Skype, Zoom, email, portals and cell phones, most of my clients’ needs or meetings are done online, on the phone. Who needs to pay $2,000 a month in rent for an office?
If I need to meet with a client, my virtual office is only a mile away. They hold my mail, they have a dedicated receptionist in case clients want to drop something off and the cost is much more reasonable [than a full-time office]. In short, what I learned has been invaluable.
Eight years ago when I tried this rendezvous with a virtual office, I had teenagers that didn’t understand that it was work time and they had to leave me alone as I was working. Fundamentally, the functionality of the home office was not satisfactory.
My two boys are now 19 and 22, respectively. They don’t live with me and after having been through this once, I had a better idea of how it is supposed to be done.
Every day is different: You wake up, eat breakfast and by 9 AM, begin work then work until you are done and spend time with your family. There had to be a whole work life balance, which was the issue before.
So, I have gladly embraced this way of working and proud to say that I’ve seen the light!
Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as...