For my existing clients, they have “met” Amy Ingram through emails as she scheduled my appointments. Amy was a computer program which has been scheduling me since 2016, preventing double bookings and ensuring that everyone was properly scheduled at a good time for them. She could handle different time zones, which was especially great as clients moved from Ottawa to Korea or Beruit.
The company which runs Amy was taken over by Bizzabo which is an event management company and they wanted the software to schedule events, as opposed to the calendar booking system which I was using.
Like the loss of a human assistant, I have lost a trusted partner and am feeling that loss. She kept me from being double booked, which was very important to me. Equally, some of my clients truly thought she was a human being. I had one client who took 15 minutes of disbelief on the phone as they tried to wrap their head around the fact that the “person” that booked the appointment with me was actually a computer program.
Goodbye Amy. I am going to miss you.
For the immediate future, we will be continuing to maintain the health protocols that we started following in the Spring of 2020. That is, face masks are to be used for in-person pick up or drop off, with the mask covering both the nose and the chin. Any in-person meetings will have to take place outdoors, as we do not have appropriate ventilation inside the office.
Clients may make use of various electronic service options. All of these offer comparable service to in-person appointments without any risk of infection from contagious diseases. If there are counter-indications for your particular needs (such as a requirement for a physical signature,) we also offer additional alternative delivery mechanisms and are happy to recommend those options. Please feel free to discuss with us about your needs and concerns.
In Mid-October 2021, when we complete moving into our new office, we will evaluate if the protocols require further revision.
For clients who have prepaid for a 2021 Advanced Tax Return (included in the Tax Reduction Plan), the initial release of the 2021 planner was just issued.
Clients who have prepaid for a 2021 Advanced Tax Return may now start gathering their records at this time. However, the accuracy is limited as not all legislative changes are known at this time. It remain possible that Federal or Provincial Budgets will change some rules.
In general, I recommend waiting for obtaining your Advanced Tax Return until later in the fall. By default, should you not already have obtained this service by the end of October (or when the Federal Government issues its budget, whichever is first,) you will receive a reminder email at that time.
I gave a client a surprise with my phone system today and felt it would be best to post this so others are also aware.
Calling without leaving a phone message
This surprises some people, but the “cost” in time for me to handle a phone message, a text message or a “missed” phone call (without voicemail) is essentially the same on a per call/text basis. If you call, it is more effective for you and for me to leave me a voicemail, even if you called my phone in error.
If you try several times without leaving a message, you are creating “snow” in your file obscuring your important calls. I can’t locate actual important phone messages in the logs if there is only one actual conversation out of every four calls. While I want to provide outstanding service, I am labouring under circumstances which make it difficult to achieve the performance that I want for you as I try to search for what is important to you.
Multiple text messages in a conversation
I am using a system for texting which has some older components. For example, linking the multiple texts into a conversation does not happen until after I process the messages.
If you have exceeded more than 4 texts in a single conversation, it is more effective for both of us to speak on the phone rather than texting.
Text messages are not “instantaneous”
This is a factor on how I work rather than a deficiency of texting; I put my phone down and don’t pick it up for several hours. Equally, I have to specifically “refresh” the screen to obtain the text messages.
That isn’t to say that text messages are better or worst than email – It is a question of the length of the queue. During peak timeframes, every 24 hours I receive about 300+ business emails vs 20 phone calls vs 6 text conversations. As the queues are separated, the shorter queue tends to be completed faster.
You can’t text me pictures. My client portal is better suited for receiving pictures and documents.
Telemarketing and Automated Calling Systems
Due to the way that my phone system works, Telemarketing and Automated (such as Call Back) Systems can’t get through my phone system to reach a person. Please be aware of this; You require a human calling back instead of a computer system.
Previously, the CRA required us to print the SIN completely on our documents.
The CRA has now issued directions that we are now to mask the first five digits of the SIN on documents, much like they do with their notices.
See here for details
Accordingly, over the next few days, as I print documents, I will be updating the print instructions to start masking the SIN on everything that I print.