E-Mail’s a Great Communication Tool.

BY OLIVER W. JR HARBISON

In “ E-Mail Blues ”( JofA , May03, page 12) the letter writer seems to be looking for a forest, but the pesky trees keep getting in the way.

The best way to help run a business is through communication, and e-mail does precisely that. A person could not deal with 75 people walking into the office on a daily basis. Face-to-face communication with each one would take more time. The same is true for the telephone.

Businesses solved the first problem by hiring receptionists to filter out clients. Voice mail has helped ease the time problem because the recipient can select his or her own time to respond.

E-mail makes the message available with details in the form of attachments—the recipient can deal with it at his or her convenience. In the case of 75 e-mails a day, a quick perusal of senders would permit the recipient to make decisions without ever opening the mail. Those continually forwarded miracle stories from your mother-in-law and the obvious SPAM could be deleted, and your ISP and/or SPAM-blocking software could block unwanted senders to slow those messages.

That would leave the obvious client correspondence. Any time spent on client correspondence is probably billable and demonstrates the accountant is always available for clients, gets to their problems quickly, communicates with them—and they don’t have to come into the office or spend time socializing on the phone.

Remember, we may have many clients, but most of them have only one CPA. Any tool we can use to keep the lines of communication open will help us keep them as clients.

Oliver W. Harbison Jr., CPA
Jasper, Texas

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