In some parts of New Jersey, it helps to know a guy who knows a guy. But in the tiny rural community of Somerset, CPA Brian D. Levine was shocked and a bit offended to be mistaken for a connected guy.
"I had a potential client come into my office; he had a manufacturing facility and was in the middle of an IRS audit," Levine recalls. "I looked over his records and examined the issues and told him I could take him on as a client."
Then, as he often does with prospective clients, Levine asked what it was about his practice that had captured the businessman's eye.
"Well, I see your name is Brian Levine," the guy says. "The IRS auditor is named Mrs. Levine. I was hoping you were related."
Levine didn't miss a beat.
"I assured him we are not related and that if we were, I could not take him as a client, as that would break conflict-of-interest ethical rules," Levine says. "He hired our firm anyway."