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

“Tax Day” is finally here!

If you specialize in something other than tax return preparation, then today is just another day for you.

But if a significant portion of your annual income is derived from return preparation, then today is obviously a momentous day.

You’ve endured the long days and even longer weekends. The cranky clients, the slow-payers, the procrastinators.

Today is when everything gets tidied and up with a pretty little bow on top and sent off to our Uncle Sam, for tomorrow we party!

Or, at least that’s the fantasy world that the general public believes we live in.

You and I know that’s not really the case.

You have a pile of extensions. You have bookkeeping to catch up on. And every month we have FTD deadlines and other various filing deadlines, through every month of the year.

Which brings me to my main point for you today: If you’re in private practice or at a small firm, and are looking to absolutely maximize annual revenue, then the best thing you can do is maintain the intensity and productivity of tax preparation season all year round.

If you’ve ever worked at a really large firm, or a specialized, niche type of firm, then you know this is how they operate. Tax prep season is nothing special — it’s a just a minor extra blip in the year.

I know you want to relax, soak up some sun, maybe throw back some margaritas. And a little bit of that is good. But now is not the time to rest on your laurels.

As you probably know already, I spent the past 8 years as a one-trick pony, doing mostly IRS Collections representation. No bookkeeping, very little tax preparation, no Examination representation. Even more, I specialized in a narrow arena of Collections representation: 2290 and 941 liabilities for mom and pop trucking companies in five western states.

I did this work year-round, including for over 3 years at reduced yet steady volume while traveling 100% of the time.

More important than the niche specialization was the fact that I had no seasonal mentality about my business.

There are “riches in niches”, but the year-round consistency was a far more important factor for me having my dream lifestyle and a great tax practice.

So even though “Tax Day” is here, I want to encourage you to keep on truckin’. Be that one person in your local market that keeps charging … Continue reading