Professional Development Opinions

Practical and Practice issues for Professionals who practice in the area of taxation. Moral, social and economic issues relating to taxes, including international issues, the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, state tax issues, etc. Not for "tax protestor" issues, which should be posted in the "tax protestor" forum above. The advice or opinion given herein should not be relied on for any purpose whatsoever. Also examines cookie-cutter deals that have no economic substance but exist only to generate losses, as marketed by everybody from solo practitioner tax lawyers to the major accounting firms.

Professional Development Opinions

Postby TaxBusinessAdvisor » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:56 am

Hello, everyone!

I just finished creating a survey for students in my tax education courses. I am trying to get some feedback on how to improve our course offerings and I could use some input from tax professionals as well.

So, here's what I am doing ... If you could give me about 10 minutes of your time to complete a survey on your professional development needs, it would really be helpful to me. To say thank you, I am giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky participant chosen at random.

I've designed the survey so that it you aren't one of my students you won't have to answer any questions about my courses, but you'll still get to weigh in on your ideas about professional development in the tax industry.

It should only take about 10 minutes or so to complete. I'm not trying to sell you anything, so don't worry about that. I just want to get some ideas about how you everyone keeps current with tax law and business development skills!

And, of course, your responses are completely confidential.

Just go here:


Charles Davidson
Accelerated Education Systems

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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby webhick » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:40 am

Maybe my brain is fried or something because I can't decide whether to flag this as spam or not...
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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby wserra » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:51 am

I'll take "Spam" for $1000, Alex.

The "questions" are larded with references to the poster's business, including such highly informative ones as
What factors prevented you from enrolling in a course offered by (Select all that apply.)

I don’t know about
Time commitment
Prefer a classroom environment
Difficulty of material
Problems with the website / ordering process
How about "I never heard of you until you started spamming forums"? Or "For all I know, it's a complete waste of time and money"?

Any mod who wishes to delete this thread should feel free to zap my response along with it.
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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby ProfHenryHiggins » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:26 pm

0.o ?

Interesting that Charles' email address is a .net version of a Long Beach, CA school that uses the .com, and he owns the .net. Also, looking at his online information, I'm seeing employment as a tax preparer... started December 2011. Rather a short time frame to be going from a new career to educating people in the business, don't you think? True, there was a 15 month stint at H & R Block some years back, but that was a management position, and a few years in graduate school studying education,... still, this does not look very good to my eyes.

I'll leave the Nov. 2008 phishing incident involving another of his websites out of this for now.

On the other hand, reports from learnopia indicate that he is an accredited educator in the field, and his answer to a question at ... 712AAMdRmR seems on the surface to be well-written. Being a journalist rather than in the tax field myself, I leave the decision as to whether or not it truly is well-written to the specialists here. has quite a bit more of his writing in the field.

Hmm. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and view this as a bad marketing decision on his part posting forum spam to a number of tax discussion boards this way.

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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby Kestrel » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:21 pm

TaxBusinessAdvisor wrote:I just want to get some ideas about how you everyone keeps current with tax law and business development skills!

You're spamming forums to promote your new continuing education courses for IRS Enrolled Agents and would-be California competitors to H&R Block. Sorry, that's a few steps below most of the folks here.

I take classes from the AICPA and other established sources that are officially pre-approved to award CPE credit to CPAs. Anything else is a waste of my time. And no, I'm not interested in your $25 gift card, no matter where it's from.

Oh, and half the links on your school's website don't work. That doesn't give me a warm fuzzy about your attention to detail in other areas.

Did you have any other questions?
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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby TaxBusinessAdvisor » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:33 pm

Hello, everyone,

I am sorry if I offended anyone. I know I am new on this forum so my post may seem suspicious. ProfHenryHiggins points out only some of my background, so let me expand a little by way of an introduction.

I have been working in the tax preparation business since 2004. I did work for H & R Block as a preparer and a manager. I also taught their tax education courses. After leaving Block, I formed a partnership with a bookkeeper and we began offering bookkeeping and tax services in a small town in Northern California. Also, at that time, I started a tax education program to train new preparers that were working for us. Since that program was not compatible with our core business, I spun it off into a private company, Accelerated Education System which I formed in 2007. We are approved by the State of California and the California Tax Education Council. I am also approved by the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. Offering educational programs on tax is actually a pretty tightly regulated area and I have continually met the annual and other periodic requirements to be re-certified.

In 2007, I was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a group of volunteers, many of whom are in the tax business. In that capacity, we advised the IRS about ways to improve IRS customer service and programs. I served on several committees, including Small Business / Self-Employed Burden Reduction and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs. In 2009, I was named national chair of that organization. In that capacity, I met with IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson on several occasions to present recommendations about IRS programs. I was asked by Commissioner Shulman to prepare a recommendation on his new RTRP proposal. Many of the recommendations we made to him were included in the final regulations under which those of us in the industry now practice. I was also asked by the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to present a recommendation to the President on ways to lower the tax burden on middle class Americans. I testified before the committee in Washington, D.C. in December of 2009.

I have a Master of Science in Education from Drexel University. My thesis was on developing curriculum for the tax industry. I am currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program in the field Education.

Even as I continued to operate my tax education company for the last five years, I have worked in the tax preparation business. My current position, which did begin in December of last year, is as a manager for a large franchise company in the Sacramento area. Preparing taxes is secondary to my role as an educator. I stay current in the field as much as I can, including in the areas of tax law, business management, and customer service. I take this experience in the field with me back into the classroom. By doing this, I have plenty of stories and examples to tell my students that are based in real situations. I don't just teach theory in my classes. I pride myself on training tax professionals who understand the law and understand the practice.

As ProfHenryHiggens also points out, I have a lot of my writing in the field posted on Yahoo Answers. This includes answers to questions on tax-related matters but also in general business questions. I have a 91% "Best Answer" rating.

I operate several websites, most of which cater to professionals in the tax industry. While many of my properties are up and running, many more are dormant while I develop them. I have also purchased a variety of domain names with different TLDs to protect my brands. All of this information is public record. I do not hide any of my online activities. My response to your questions is not to dispute claim made about me, but to fill-out the story and provide information about many of my activities that are not so easily found.

But I will dispute any phishing activity claims. I have not nor do I ever engage in illegal activities such as phishing. Since you did not provide any backup for this claim the only thing I can do is state that I use shared server space for many of my domain names. If there is phishing activity that originates from a shared server, it does not belong to me or one of my websites. I would be more than happy to provide any backup to my innocence of this claim if you were to provide more details about the alleged incident.

Wserra provides a sample question included in my survey. It's true, there are questions about the products and services I provide, including the one he provided. As I mentioned in my original posting, this survey was developed for my students but I am looking for input and opinions of practitioners in the field. If you take the survey, you will quickly find that once you answer "no" to a few questions about my particular courses, you are taken to a different part of the survey and the emphasis is on general professional development programs and preferences - not on my specific programs.

It is what is it. I am asking for opinions from professionals in the tax industry about what kinds of products and services they would like to see that would help them build a tax practice. Using this information, I can better develop programs geared toward specific demand in the business instead of trying to guess what people want. Is it specific toward my business? Yes. Do I have the credentials, experience, and education to develop these products? Yes. And I have been doing it for years.

I am conducting market research which I will use in product development. If you are a tax professional engaged in professional development, you may want to respond. I do ask for contact information but it is completely voluntary. The survey is otherwise anonymous. I do not require people to sign up to a newsletter or give me an email address. If you want to complete the survey, then go ahead. I am using a $25 gift card as an incentive because I know that, unless you are a former student, you might not appreciate the value of a discount off my continuing education programs. It's a bribe to complete a survey. Take it for what it is.

I thought this forum might be a place where professionals in the tax industry might hang out. Is it spam? That was not my intent. If you think it is, then I apologize. It was not meant that way.

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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby wserra » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:18 pm

Charles -

Allow me to introduce you to Quatloos.

Many of the regulars on this board are lawyers, CPAs, EAs, judges and other professionals (IT, medicine, finance, publishing, others). Many have lots of experience (and some recognition) in their fields. But they are here because they genuinely enjoy the company, and feel they are contributing to a good cause. One thing they don't do is promote themselves. Look around - always a good idea before diving in. You will not see a single other post like yours above on the entire board. No one is here to promote him/herself. No one feels the need to brag about experience or contacts. There is as a result a strict no-commercial policy.

Along you come, login "TaxBusinessAdvisor". Your first post is a link to a "survey" which prominently features your business. Your second post amounts to a CV. That isn't the culture here. If you wish to contribute, welcome. If you seek free advertising, try elsewhere.
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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby JamesVincent » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:52 pm

If I might add on to what Wes so rightly stated, even us non-degreed professionals come here to learn more about the specific things that interest us and to contribute in what ways we can, when we can. As far as I know the only regular member on this entire forum that has a link to a page of his own is LPC and it is to his tax protestor Q&A website, which is his interest and goes along quite well with what we do here. While for the most part it becomes obvious over time who the attorneys are and who the CPAs and others are after they post, as Wes said there is no need to flaunt who you are and what you have done here. Take some time to look around and see for yourself, but I would hazard to say that what your offering is not needed nor is the advertising welcome.
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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby ProfHenryHiggins » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:44 am

The phishing incident I referred to involved That's quite easy to look up online to find the sites listing it, which also included your email address as being the site owner. Since there does appear to be a hacker "Assassin" who lists several of your websites in his accomplishments, it's quite plausible that this was another attack rather than anything originating from your business. Alternately, it could just have easily been a student or employee misusing company resources.

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Re: Professional Development Opinions

Postby Number Six » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:23 pm

I can't say that I have ever bought much as a result of a promotion or a survey with giftcard incentives. If you want to be of service as a tax professional, you could do good by helping small business people be in compliance on all regulatory requirements in their cases in as legal, inexpensive and as rigorous a way as possible. My experience with accountants is they just want to do taxes for clients and get $400 each plus for their system. What many people need is all kinds of other financial counsel, not just the once a year thing.
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