Real Accountants Reveal Better Results [ebook]


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This new ebook is a collection of three, to-the-point first-hand stories of firms that are doing something different. In their own words, these accountants describe how they’ve built their practices on their own terms.

Within their stories is the inspiration for you to take back control and have the practice and life you’ve always intended.

Download another copy here:

The ebook contributors include Dale and Arron Garabedian, Joe Evers, Craig Thomson, and Rick Solomon.

"Doing Things Differently"
"Just Listening"
"A Better Way to Live"
Editor's Notes
Contact Information

Published in: Business
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Real Accountants Reveal Better Results [ebook]

  1. 1. REAL ACCOUNTANTS REVEAL BETTER RESULTS AND HOW YOU CAN ENJOY SUCCESS LIKE THEY DO This new ebook is a collection of three, to-the-point first-hand stories of firms that are doing something different. In their own words, these accountants describe how they’ve built their practices on their own terms. Within their stories is the inspiration for you to take back control and have the practice and life you’ve always intended.
  2. 2. CONTENTS REAL ACCOUNTANTS REVEAL BETTER RESULTS Introduction By Rick Solomon, CPA AND HOW YOU CAN ENJOY Editor’s Notes SUCCESS LIKE THEY DO “Just Listening” By Joe Evers, CPA “A Better Way to Live” By Craig Thomson, CPA Contact Information ABOUT US We believe you can have a practice and career on your terms. And it’s easier and more attainable than you might think. Yes, easier! INTRODUCTION By Rick Solomon, CPA You’re about to read how the owners of three every day accounting practices were able to, with not much effort, shape their firms exactly how they wanted them. Each of these stories shares how a shift in thinking resulted in a practice that was more profitable and rewarding, while enhancing the quality of life of everyone in the firm. For Dale and Aaron, rather than trying to acquire new clients, they first decided on the culture they wanted to build and the client experience they wanted to deliver. As you will read, this thinking produced great results. Joe wanted to be more of an advisor to his clients, but wasn’t quite sure how. For him the shift in thinking was to let go of his beliefs about what it meant to be an advisor. He just started to engage in deeper conversations and listen to clients in a different and fully present way. Although Craig had a good practice, a part of him knew something more rewarding was possible. As you will read, he’s having different conversations with his clients, and engaging in a different way, and finds it incredibly more rewarding. These stories illustrate how anyone who wants to thrive on their terms can do so. It always starts with a shift in thinking because quite simply, human development is at the heart of professional success. © 2013 Thriving Firm “Doing Things Differently” By Dale Garabedian, CPA With Aaron Garabedian We know that personal development is at the heart of professional success. Thriving Firm provides personal development for accountants through learning and coaching programs. Our unique strength is in empowering accountants to shape their firm or their career exactly the way they want. Each outcome is personal and specific, meaning you get to decide what it means to thrive. Whether it’s unlocking innate leadership abilities, improving emotional intelligence, honing critical communication skills, shaping a first-rate firm culture, discovering ways to earn more with less effort, attracting the best talent, or a multitude of other attributes that define your success, Thriving Firm goes a step further to bring about a deep sense of well-being and fulfillment in your personal and professional life. 1
  3. 3. DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY By Dale Garadebian with Aaron Garabedian What's changed for us is almost everything. In June of 2009, I left a partnership that I had been in with another CPA for twenty-eight years. That partnership was not moving forward in any way, shape, or form. My decision to leave was predicated upon an idea. AARON GARABEDIAN We envisioned an ideal accounting firm where we would provide a great client experience, expanded lines of service, and have wonderful team members working for us. In starting that firm, we hired and trained new team members that would provide stellar client service and, at the same time, that would fit our culture. It was amazing how receptive our clients were to the new firm. In fact, many clients said to us, "What took you so long to make this change?" And that was very encouraging. Mindset When we started the firm in 2009, the economy was very bad, especially here in the Valley. Very high unemployment rates. Businesses closing. And we saw most firms in our area letting people go. We had the mindset that we would invest in the firm and our people. The initial first two years of the firm was about a change in our perspective. It was about more than just being providers of compliance services. We wanted to develop and expand our business advisory services. We wanted to serve the community with seminars and develop relationships with our clients. Through our association with Thriving Firm, they assisted us greatly in providing the foundation and motivation for us to continue down the path and move us toward accomplishing our goals. The firm actually enrolled the top three team management leaders in the Thriving Firm Masters Program, where we learned to believe and live in abundance and not scarcity. Results We've tripled our revenue since we split from the old firm. So, that's one piece of it. I think the other piece that's important is how we're going out and getting that business. We're not going out and being price competitive, and most of the new clients that we've brought on are actually paying us a substantially higher fee than what they've paid their prior CPA firm or accounting firm. DALE GARABEDIAN We believe that’s due to our ability to understand what the clients’ needs are and listen to what they're saying. One of the clients we just brought on, we more than quadrupled the fee, and the client is © 2013 Thriving Firm 2
  4. 4. more than happy to pay it because they're getting service they never had before and they continually mention that, not the fee. The number one thing that we're doing is being very client focused, more so than anything else in our firm. We keep budgets and keep track of time and that kind of thing, but we never let that be the driving force behind why or how we're choosing the client. We had the mindset that we would invest in the firm and our people. We always do the right thing for the client, regardless of how it appears it could affect our bottom line. We don't cut corners. Since we've been focusing on customer service so much, it seems that the financial piece follows behind it. JUST LISTENING By Joe Evers It is no longer just an engagement. It is now “working with” clients. And I think it's really what a lot of business owners want. Most business owners want more than just compliance. They want somebody that they can call, bounce questions off of, talk about different things, and just have a good, solid working relationship. JOE EVERS It's making a big difference. For example, a couple of owners were at odds with one another, and just by sitting down and meeting with them and working with them, they've gotten a lot closer to understanding what it is they're both about. We have managed to eliminate some of the stress points between the two of them. We're moving forward in terms of the goals that they want to accomplish. Today’s Clients Clients today want somebody to be there to help them accomplish their goals. They aren't looking for somebody to do a tax return or somebody to do an audit for the most part. Sure, some of them are. It's absolutely necessary, but at the same time, they want somebody to help them get where they're going. They want an advisor. They don't want just a bean counter or a compliance expert. How do you do that? It's just listening to them. You don’t have to have the answers to everything. I think you just have to listen to what they're trying to accomplish. In some cases, it's almost like business therapy quite honestly, in terms of just listening to them. In some cases, they're going to come up with their own decisions as to what makes the most sense for them. It's talking them through the whole process that is so valuable. You just help them understand how their actions relate to their goals. © 2013 Thriving Firm 3
  5. 5. What’s Actually Helpful Most business owners tend to fight a lot of fires. To actually get away from the office and start talking about business in general and what they are trying to accomplish -- those are the things that are very helpful to clients. Just taking the time to think about what they really want from their business is important. And if it's multiple owners, taking the time to get on the same page or to understand what's different about their goals and working through the differences between their goals. Most of the time, it's not that different. It's just a different approach to it. I think going through the Thriving Firm Masters Program helped me understand more about myself and it allowed me to realize things didn't have to be perfect. I think that's made the biggest difference. It was getting to a place where I could be comfortable just saying, "Okay, I'm going to do advisory work with my clients. They're going to be happy that we're working together and trying to make a difference in their lives." A BETTER WAY TO LIVE By Craig Thomson We're a firm of six people at this point. We've grown a little bit over time. We've always had an emphasis on trying to do a little bit more for clients rather than just “here's your tax return, here's your financial statements.” What we try to give clients is what they are actually in need of, not just what they think they have to have. CRAIG THOMSON For example, clients need to have tax returns and a lot of them have to have financial statements as well. What we've done is offer tax planning. In a lot of cases, estate planning services. I've done succession-planning cases that have been very fulfilling not just for the clients, but for myself and the firm as well. You're able to offer services that really make a difference in people's lives. How it Starts It really just starts with a conversation. Just engage the client. Sometimes we start with reviewing financial statements with the client and just ask questions. And usually the conversation will roll from there. The clients, I find, are very willing to talk about their business; hopefully it's something they're very proud of. And if we can offer services that assist them in running the business and continuing the business, I found clients are very willing to look beyond the normal type of work. Most clients don't have real strong financial types in their business or have access to those people, so they have questions and they have needs. And you don't have to make it feel like the meter is © 2013 Thriving Firm 4
  6. 6. running and “you're going to get charged for this.” It might just be a conversation and nothing comes of it, but usually something does. It really just starts with a conversation. Just engage the client. Case in Point I had a long-term advisory engagement that started with a simple situation where they needed a tax return and financials. By having a more meaningful conversation, the client said, "I want a ten-year plan to get out of my business. I want to either sell it or turn it over to my family." And I said, "Well, at this point, I don't know what that looks like, but we're going to figure out what it does look like." So we put together a plan and, within ten years, the client had successfully transitioned the business to his son and daughter, and retired from the business. Again, it started with a conversation and simple compliance work, but it just expanded from there. Now I kind of feel like I'm part of the family a little bit. I continue to work with the son and daughter on their business. And in some cases, I even worked as a bit of a go-between between son and father when, as so often happens, a little bit of animosity developed, but we worked through it and everything is good now. Outcomes We've expanded in size and certainly in gross fees, but it's also translated into improved income - net income - for us as a firm. And the other aspect of that is just the sense of fulfillment that I feel from the business. It certainly provides its monetary rewards, but I just enjoy what I do. We have a firm philosophy where we don't work killer amounts of hours during the “busy season.” That's not the structure of our firm. We work with clients throughout the year. Our work is much more spread out. Is there more during the busy season? Well, certainly. That's just the nature of our profession. But we're not going to let it consume us. So I feel like I still have a life in the January to April timeframe, and we still go out and do things. I’m not working weekends and have even taken trips during this past season. In my opinion, it's a much better way to live and for our profession to perform. © 2013 Thriving Firm 5
  7. 7. EDITOR’S NOTES This ebook has been such a pleasure to create. These inspiring stories will no doubt leave an impression on accountants that want to take back control of their success. The stories you’ve just read are a small piece of an enriching life and lasting legacy that these thriving accountants have created for themselves. At Thriving Firm, we know that if you are open to the possibility, then YOU can be similarly successful. You may have noticed that the contributors choose to make mention of the Thriving Firm Masters Program. That’s certainly a testament to the impact that the Program had on their individual path to success. If you are interested in understanding how the Masters Program can help you manifest your dream practice and life, then start by attending the two-day Thriving Firm Accountants Reboot. The Accountants Reboot will reveal to you that the path to your success is easier than you may think. Learn more about it and enroll right now at This document may be shared freely only in its entirety and without changes but not sold to any individual, group or organization. Contributions have been sourced without compensation from those indicated with consent and have only been edited for length and grammar, and are subject to error. We WANT you to thrive. Please contact us if, after reading this ebook, you are passionate about finally enjoying your dream practice and life. As Craig Thomson said about success, “it really just starts with a conversation.” CONTACT INFORMATION Dale and Aaron Garabedian Accountants. Consultants. Advisors. The Garabedian Group - 7050 N Fresno St, #201 - Fresno, CA 93720 - (559) 472-7370 Joe Evers Certified Public Accountants and Trusted Business Advisors Evers Robinson Ltd - 1300 E Missouri Ave - Phoenix, AZ 85014 - (602) 230-9480 Craig Thomson Comprehensive Accounting, Tax, and Business Advisory Services Thomson & Company - 15255 N 40th St, Suite 149 - Phoenix, AZ 85032 - (602) 765-3089 Rick Solomon Empowering Accountants to have Their Ideal Practice and Life Thriving Firm – 180 E. Main St, Suite 103 - Smithtown, NY 11878 - (800) 806-8050 © 2013 Thriving Firm. All rights reserved. All images and graphics protected. The Thriving Firm Flame and its components are exclusive property of Thriving Firm. © 2013 Thriving Firm 6