Tax Preparer for 50 Years Loves People

March 14, 2017 : Lisa Patterson

Along I-80 near the middle of Illinois, there is an H&R Block franchisee who has made a long-term commitment to taxes. Sharon Mercer was just out of high school when she saw the ad for the Income Tax Course. She enjoyed math so she signed up. More than 50 years later, she is still enjoying it.

“I love what I do. I absolutely love what I do. I love working with people. What makes me feel good is when I am sitting in my office and a client checks in. I hear my team come out and greet the person and the greeting is so warm. It makes me feel good that my employees are getting the same satisfaction as I do.”

Mercer is a successful H&R Block franchisee by any measure. She owns 13 offices, employs 175 people and she earned her financial planner designation more than 20 years ago.

Through the decades

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An Illinois native, with a home town of Oswego when the population was only 1,200, Mercer credits her dad when talking about her business success.

“My accomplishments are thanks to my dad. My dad was in business and he gave us words of wisdom like don’t fire someone until you are sure you can handle their job and don’t ask your employees something you would not do. If a waste can needs to be emptied and I see it, I empty it.”

Fifty years in the tax business have included changes in technology and adding offices every decade but Mercer has her own mark of success.

“I knew I made it in my dad’s eyes when he finally let me do his tax return. I had been in business about 10 years when he finally let me do his tax return, leaving his CPA. He had a business, eight service stations and was in the process of selling those out. His CPA told him the return couldn’t get done on time. He called me and I thought, ‘I don’t care what it takes, my answer was yes.’”

How does one keep track of the decades when working taxes in the fifth decade? Pictures of course.

“I have clients who I have been doing their returns before they were married and now they are grandparents. It is like a little reunion every year. They break out pictures of their grandchildren.”

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Lisa Patterson

Lisa Patterson

Contributor and Producer

Lisa Patterson has been a member of the H&R Block newsroom since 2012. She supports efforts to educate consumers and members of the media about taxes and company happenings. Before helping tax professionals talk taxes with the media, Patterson was a consultant for small companies running social media efforts, blogs, events and product marketing. She spent more than 10 years in local government managing communications for city operations, fire and the city manager. Patterson holds two degrees from University of Kansas: a Bachelor's in Business with an emphasis in marketing and a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications.

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