The “Pursue Your Passion” Generation

There is a lot of rhetoric out there about chasing your dream and crossing the chasm and creating a “muse” business.

But, here’s the harsh reality: It’s all complete BS.

There are many, many “experts” out there trying to sell you a particular paradigm. Essentially, some publishers and organizations, including your state and national societies, are trying to convince you that our profession is an island, and wholly isolated from the risk of job losses and business failure due to advances in technology. We’re not manufacturing, they say, so the robots can’t displace us.

Fast forward to this pursue your passion nonsense.

Let’s be real here. It doesn’t matter if tax, accounting, bookkeeping, etc. is your passion or not.

Trust me, tax is not my passion.

Whaaaaaaaattttt?

Never, ever forget: I got into the tax resolution world as a means to an end.

I was bankrupt and homeless — literally living in my vehicle. When I entered the tax profession, it was merely a J.O.B., intended to put food on the dashboard. At the time, I really didn’t care what I did to earn money.

But I learned to love it.

I found pieces of this business that I could be passionate about. The statistics, the marketing, nuances within the IRM and IRC. Basically, all the stuff I could geek out about.

I found a place within taxation to exert my true passions.

You need to do the same. We work in a fairly thankless profession, but you don’t have to love the tax work itself. In fact, you don’t even have to do the tax work. All tax and accounting work is a technical skill with plenty of knowledgeable (and licensed) practitioners looking for work. You can hire people to do the grunt work for you, and focus on the aspects of the business that you’re passionate about.

I recently spoke to the cousin of a close friend that is considering changing careers. She’s worked in bookkeeping for a long time, and thinks that she can be successful in sales. When we first started talking, she was talking about retail sales, because that was something she could get passionate about.

I told her to put the brakes, and not make such a drastic career change. I suggested that she shadow some sales reps for a few days, and see how a sales job actually works on a day to day … Continue reading

How (and why) to Become a CPA Late In Life

Sometimes in life, you need to take the road less traveled — and never look back.

If you’re already a CPA or attorney, you can tune out. This article won’t be of any interest to you.

Last year, I wrote a post about why all unenrolled preparers should become Enrolled Agents. If you don’t want to read that whole thing, it basically boils down to this: The simple ability to sign a Form 2848 can rapidly double or triple your income.

Today, I’d like to make the case for becoming a CPA, even if you’re a late-career professional.

Why You Should Consider Becoming A CPA

Let’s start with the most obvious reason: Despite the fact that the EA license is actually older than the CPA license (1884 vs 1896), the CPA community won the war for American “mindshare” when it comes to professional status and relevancy in relation to tax matters. It doesn’t matter that only 1/3 of American CPAs have a PTIN, typically only take one college class on federal taxation, and are never vetted by the federal government in regards to their actual tax knowledge and competency.

What matters is public perception. Whether us EAs like it or not, we will always be stuck explaining what we are and where our license comes from. If you ask any member of the public what profession/occupation a tax professional is, they’ll all automatically answer, “CPA”. That’s what I mean by them winning the war for “mindshare”. Simply put, the CPA community did a better job of branding and marketing themselves in the early 20th century, and EAs didn’t.

So, there is an automatic and very tangible marketing boost that you get from being a CPA that EAs, let alone unenrolled preparers, just don’t have.

I will say that this has not been a hindrance for me in marketing my tax resolution services. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to provide the full, lengthy explanation about what an EA is. So, if you market yourself properly, and position yourself on the right side of the desk, it’s not a major issue. But if you’re not positioning yourself as an authority in a specific niche, the CPA designation can help provide a massive boost to your credibility and authority status.

Here’s reason number two: Career opportunities. If you don’t want to run your own business, and would rather work … Continue reading

Build Your Ideal Tax Practice

Your tax practice should reflect your deepest values and priorities. Your tax practice should be a tool to accomplish whatever it is in life that is most important to you.

So, do you control your tax practice, or does your business control you?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it –Build a Better Tax Firm

I’m a firm believer that, as tax professionals, we have a profound opportunity to live a life that most people only dream about. As a CPA, tax attorney, or Enrolled Agent, you have a magical ticket to anywhere you want to go. That license to practice allows you to offer a wide variety of lucrative services to clients, to choose how and when you work, who with, and from where. I don’t know of any other professional service that allows somebody the freedom to choose their desired lifestyle in the same way that ours does.

When you take firm control of your tax practice, you get to choose:

  • How much income you want to earn.
  • How many hours you want to work.
  • Where you want to work, including on a beach sipping a mai-tai.
  • Precisely what services you offer, and which services you dislike and don’t offer.
  • The kind of clients you want to work with…and those you don’t.

Your tax practice is a vehicle to living the lifestyle you want. Your practice should be putty in your hands, malleable to whatever condition you want it to be.

If your tax practice isn’t what you want it to be, then it’s up to you to change it.

Everybody’s idea of the “ideal” tax practice is different. Whether your goal is an eight-figure annual revenue with twenty staff members, or a six-figure tax practice with just yourself working half-days from the beach, you can have the tax practice you want.

On this web site, the podcast, on webinars, and in seminars… I’d like to share with you the story of how I created my own ideal tax practice, and how it allows me to explore the world and go on zany adventures. Along the way, you’ll also discover how you can create a tax practice that does whatever it is you want it to do.

To change your life, change your tax practice.Continue reading