Remember Ben Franklin’s infamous words, that nothing in life is certain “except for death and taxes?” Well, Roger Bennett, a longtime certified public accountant, wants to make sure the latter isn't be so painful.
Helping businesses, large and small, as well as individuals, tackle their taxes and save them money is something Bennett has excelled at for more than 35 years.
At his firm, Bennett & Company, PC, located at 34 Jerome Ave. in Bloomfield, founder and CEO Bennett helps clients navigate the sometimes-daunting process of filing taxes.
Preparing all that paperwork for Uncle Sam is a breeze for Bennett and his 13-member staff, which has been continually recognized as the best-medium sized CPA firm in the West Hartford/Bloomfield area. The three other CPAs on staff, along with Bennett, cut their teeth at the Big 4 international accounting firms, and Bennett himself has 10 years under his belt with the world’s largest CPA firm, Deloitte and Touche.
Bennett branched out on his own in 1989, opening what is now Bennett & Company to bring the expertise he gained working for the big guns, to local businesses and individuals. Instead of charging $450 an hour (and that was 30 years ago), Bennett said his firm provides clients a full-service experience at much more reasonable rates.
“I felt like even though I had so much to offer my clients, we were killing them with fees to the point that they were afraid to ask for help,” Bennett said. “I decided to leave and try to emulate the expertise from that firm, but with a considerably gentler billing rate and more emphasis on client service.”
That model has worked well over the last three decades at Bennett & Company, which serves a variety of clients from construction and real estate to medical and manufacturing. The firm also annually prepares 500 individual returns, specializing in high net worth individuals.
With tax season here, the staff is ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work for you.
“Quite frankly most of our new clients come from either businesses that have outgrown the expertise of their smaller, local CPA or from the two or three largest West Hartford firms where business owners and individuals needing personal tax return preparation have found that the price keeps going up and up and up, but they’re getting less service and being serviced by entry-level accountants,” Bennett said. “We end up surprising them with the incredible value we provide them, and at a lower cost.”
Bennett, who earned a BS degree in business from the University of Massachusetts, lives by advice a mentor gave him years ago.
“He told me that as CPAs we are not giving our customers a shiny new car or granite countertops for their kitchen that will make them really happy … all we have to offer is great service,” Bennett said. “He also told me that invariably there will be four owners waiting in a tee box on a golf course somewhere and one of them will start complaining about how much tax they are paying. Your client in that group better be the one saying, ‘my CPA is always bringing me great tax planning ideas and has saved me a ton of taxes over the years– you should call him.’”
Bennett said when the new Tax Act in 2018 was approved, and brought significant changes to income tax laws, the firm used it to provide more tax planning opportunities for clients and save even more of their tax dollars.
“We feel that if a CPA did not do this, then they really weren’t serving their clients to their best ability,” Bennett added.
Bennett’s goal is to help a wide range of clients, from the non-business owner overpaying for an individual return to the business owner with $10 million or more in annual sales and provide them with big firm service at a more competitive price.