I met Jeri Forbes during an evening event at the Commerce Club for new members several months ago. Ms. Forbes seemed at that time to be professional and I was impressed with her breadth of knowledge in reference to tax laws. I have always been committed to supporting black-owned and operated businesses, and I contacted her in January to inform her that I’d like for her accounting firm to handle my tax preparation for the last year.
She immediately sent me a bill for payment and a link to a BOX account with documents for me to complete in order for her to do her work. There was no statement of welcome or thanking me for choosing her company. I advised her that I had not yet received documents in the mail and would pay her fee and complete all documentation as soon as I received all of the necessary tax documents.
She thereafter responded in a way that somewhat took me aback, indicating that I “was not a client until payment was remitted” and the I needed to remit payment to ensure that “all appropriate deadlines are met” or something to that degree. I, in essence, ignored the seeming brashness of the e-mail message and agreed to meet her requests in order for her to perform her services.
What came after that and after I completed all of her forms, performed necessary corrections she recommended, remitted payment, and provided all documentation that she requested was nothing short of a substantive lack in professional decorum and a string of angry, tactless e-mail messaging to which I took significant umbrage. This extended over several months.
Her e-mail messages all appeared to be essays that contained flippant and condescending terms and, at times, seems to be overly angry in tone. I asked her if she could please cut down on the length of the messages to ensure that I did not miss anything she requested of me. There were an abundance of statements lifted from previous messages with quotation marks and words in ALL CAPS, which in e-mail decorum delineates shouting.
I attended a couple of networking events with her at Commerce Club and even in those events she was quite unprofessional and seemed to lack the tact of having a mind/mouth filter, simply stating any and everything that came to mind without recognizing the nature of the professional environment. All of these was quite eyebrow-raising.
I happened to look for reviews on her here and other places, and found it quite odd that a woman who claims to have been in accounting practice for 20 years or so and purported to be “Atlanta’s Number One Entertainment Accounting Firm” had absolutely no reviews anywhere. I also found it quite odd that the proclaimed CEO of an accounting agency was doing all of the corresponding with me and not one of her employed associates (if any exist).
These were several reds flags. Well into my relationship with her as her client, I also learned that her reputation for being very aggressive, brash, and unprofessional with a variety of business professionals in the Atlanta Metropolitan area is known and many just do not prefer to work with her in light of that.
I have been nothing but kind and accommodating to her from our initial meeting but felt the need after a series of of disparaging and unprofessional messages she sent to me to inform her that she was unprofessional and that she needed to remember that I was the paying client and she was not, and any message sent to me with negative wording with the intent to disparage would not be attended to.
I have attached her response to me for any potential future clients to read to see the nature of this woman and her lack of professionalism in how she corresponds with clients. I honestly have never, ever worked with anyone so blatantly unprofessional to the point where I as a client felt that I was paying to be treated this way, which is never acceptable by any means.
Her e-mail signature has the tenacity, really, to note that she would appreciate being referred to family members and friends. I would think not. For these reasons, I highly recommended against using Ms. Forbes’ accounting or financial planning services until such time she understands that not only does being a professional require the knowledge and training in one’s field of expertise, but the demeanor of professionalism is required as well. This she severely lacks. Aptitude without attitude is not an ideal combination conducive to business success, and I’m quite confident this experience is one from which she would learn. One must have both.