Erin Daiber, founder of Well Balanced Accountants, a coaching business specifically serving the accounting profession, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast.
Anything But Accounting
This episode started with a little surprise. Erin told the story of her early decisions that led her to want to become an accountant in the first place. Interestingly enough, her earliest career decision was that she wanted to become anything OTHER THAN and accountant! However, it was a very influential professor in an undergraduate course that told her she would make a good accountant, and that she had a natural talent for it, that convinced her to pursue accounting as a profession.
Coaching is Important
During the first few years of Erin’s accounting career, she realized how important good managers and mentors were to an individual’s development both in her own experience as well as through what she was seeing in the workplace. Some managers were exceptional, and some not so much. Through this experience, she decided to hire a coach to help with decisions about her own career, and eventually decided to pursue the same career path herself – that of a coach. After just a short time in the coaching business, she niched her business down further to specifically service those in her own profession… accounting. Now Well Balanced Accountants coaches individuals both looking to pass the CPA exam, as well as those looking to advance in their accounting careers.
CPA Exam Coaching
CPA exam coaching is only about half of what Well Balanced Accountants does, but we focused quite a bit on that service due to how important it is in the career of an accountant. Erin offers both online coaching programs, as well as one-on-one solutions. Most of their clients have struggled with the exam in the past and realize that they need to do something differently, and that is where Erin’s service comes in. It’s not a review course, and they don’t identify or partner with any one review course (although a review course is a great idea!!). Instead, they provide the motivation, accountability, and strategy that many examinees need in order to get through the exam successfully.
If you have struggled to pass the exam, or perhaps want to make sure you don’t struggle too much and get it out of the way quickly, make sure you check out their services at https://www.wellbalancedaccountants.com/ (and yes, if you mention “Where Accountants Go” and use their services, Erin will help to financially support our show – they appreciate the referrals)
I think you will enjoy this episode. Erin provides much needed services, and she thoroughly enjoys her career.
Until next time, have a great week! There’s more to come…
Byron Patrick, a CPA whose career has been built in technology, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go.
Learning Accounting through Monopoly!
Byron’s was initially influenced to pursue accounting as a profession like many of us were – by taking a high school level accounting course. He also tells the story of one of his earliest memories regarding accounting – playing a game of Monopoly and actually creating financial statements as a part of the game. Through this experience, as well as becoming involved with Future Business Leaders of America, he realized he had a definite interest in the profession.
Becoming the IT guy
Byron’s career was just starting in the late 1990’s when computer systems were becoming more than just a single machine that was used for basic computations. Systems were being connected and integrated, and he had a natural talent for being able to troubleshoot office computer issues as well as understand how to structure those early networks. As he got more and more involved in systems work, it left less time for the core audit work that he had initially been hired for. Through a transition to a new firm, and that firm recognizing both his talent and their need, he became the full-time IT Director at a regional CPA practice.
The Early Cloud
Byron’s interest in systems led him to co-found a business called Simplified Innovations where they focused on installing systems in other accounting firms. Over an 8-year period, they grew the business to be servicing over 650 end users with only four internal staff members. The infrastructure they built to do this was a predecessor to what we refer to as the cloud in today’s terminology.
Botkeeper and The Future
After a great run with his own firm, he decided to sell his interest to his partner and move on to new challenges. Most recently, Byron has joined botkeeper, a fast-growing accounting technology company that just received additional funding from the Google organization. One of the items you need to make sure you listen closely for in the audio interview is our discussion of what the future accountant looks like from a day-to-day perspective. Our profession definitely isn’t going away by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we are becoming more and more important as businesses need individuals not to just prepare the numbers, but to help interpret them as well. We are becoming more of the translators, or advisors, that we all strive to be in the first place, as opposed to having to handle the more mundane duties such as data entry and other similar tasks. It is a great and exciting time to be in the profession.
And if that wasn’t enough, we also get into a short discussion of Byron’s CPA tattoo… that was a first for the show!
Becoming a CPA has had a tremendous positive effect on my life and career, both in jobs within the core accounting profession as well as in roles where I didn’t even see a number most days, but rather was working more in support of the profession in people-serving positions. However, no matter what the position or role was, in all cases being a CPA has been beneficial.
I recorded this episode for two reasons. The most practical reason was that we had scheduling issues with a few of the upcoming guests that left a small window where we wouldn’t have an episode. However, I think that was truly an opportunity being presented to me to record an episode on this particular topic that’s been on my heart recently.
About a month ago I was asked to speak at a university event, and as I pondered what would be an appropriate topic for someone with my background to speak on, the subject of becoming a CPA became the clear choice. I’ve seen it make a huge difference in my own life, and at the same time I’ve seen the struggles and sacrifices that others have went through in order to pass. It truly is a major endeavor, but it’s one that pays off for the rest of your career. After delivering that speech, I found that I still needed to talk about a few more aspects of pursuing the exam and the sacrifices that it takes for most individuals to pass, and this episode came into being.
If you are yourself working on becoming a CPA, I hope you find just a little inspiration in this episode to keep on plugging along. You truly can do it.
If you are already a CPA and passed long ago, I think you will find some truth in the thoughts I share.
And if you aren’t sure whether or not you want to pursue your CPA certification, or are considering whether or not it’s really worth the effort, PLEASE listen to this episode before you make your decision. In fact, feel free to reach out to me personally and let’s talk about the decision. It truly is a career-changing move, and although it’s not for everyone, for most it is a course of action that they are forever happy they chose.
Other episodes you may want to check out if you are pursuing the CPA certification include:
Thank you again for being a part of the Where Accountants Go community. We just recently passed 100,000 downloads of the podcast, and I am so thankful for all our audience members. Couldn’t have passed that milestone without you!
Amy Vetter, author, technologist, and CEO of The B3 Method Institute, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast.
Amy’s earliest influencer regarding accounting was the legacy her grandfather left the family: He was a CPA. Her mother talked about her grandfather and how big a part of his life being a CPA was, and it had a dramatic positive influence in her early years. She saw it as a path for both career safety and security.
Launching Into Parenthood and Business
Her career started as many do, working a few internships and then joining a national accounting firm – KPMG in her case. However, after having a difficult pregnancy that resulted in a premature delivery, she decided that she needed additional flexibility and moved on so that she could work from home. Amy started a bookkeeping service, AV Accounting Services, and attained her QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification.
After about 9 years with her bookkeeping service, she had become well-versed in accounting software solutions and was recruited to work full-time with Intuit. That started a season in her career where she had the opportunity to not only work with Intuit, but then to move on and work with both Sage and Xero as well. However, after working for so many years in the technology space, she realized that she wanted to do even more to make life better for accounting professionals. It was at that point that The B3 Method Institute was born.
Business + Balance = Bliss. Coming from her background in yoga (yes, she owns a yoga studio as well), this is Amy’s formula for happiness and success in both career and life. She frequently speaks at conferences on the concept of becoming a “cherished advisor”, which is also a term she coined describing the role that we fill when we as accountants are acting at the highest level possible with our clients. We not only are trusted, but we are cherished for the value we bring. If you’d like to find out more about both concepts, make sure to check out her book at https://www.amyvetter.com/books.
I hope you find value in this episode for not only your career, but your overall outlook on your life as well.
Jody Padar, author of “The Radical CPA” publications and founder of New Visions CPA Group, was our guest for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go!
Ice Cream and Taxes
Jody was influenced to pursue accounting in the same manner as many accountants – she had family in the industry. Her father had a tax practice, and she helped him out from a very early age. He knew how to motivate as well… every trip to get the returns processed at Computax meant a trip for ice cream as well! The reward at the end of the work was a strong influencer early in life, and so accounting was a career interest for Jody from early on.
Unfortunate Circumstances Lead to Joy
As her career progressed in public accounting during her first few years, she found that she enjoyed and was talented in the tech side of accounting. She was doing well pursuing a career with CPA firms, when she unfortunately got laid off from a firm due to needing to be out during busy season for the birth of her child. Obviously this didn’t sit well with Jody, so she became determined to start her own practice and run it in a decidedly different manner. It’s interesting how life turns out… it was exactly that difficult situation that helped propel her to the success she enjoys today.
Life for The Radical CPA
Currently Jody spends her time in many endeavors. She still owns the New Vision CPA Group, but due to having a solid team she has been able to pursue other ventures as well. She is the author of “The Radical CPA” books, hosts a podcast, and has just joined Botkeeper as an outsourced executive focused on helping them continuing to grow. She’s definitely busy, but you can tell she thoroughly enjoys the mix and variety. Her happiness and excitement about her career comes through clearly in this podcast interview. We had a great time recording it.
Natasha Schamberger, CPA and CEO of the Kansas Society of CPAs, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go!
Midwest Girl Moves To The Big City!
…is pretty much a direct quote from the audio interview in this podcast. Natasha is from Kansas and attended Kansas State University when pursuing her accounting degree, but upon completion decided she wanted to move the “big city”. After doing some initial research, she decided that San Diego would fit her best and made the move. So although she was from the Midwest, the first few years of her career and some of the key relationships actually started out on the West Coast.
3 Month Vacation
After getting married, her and husband thought that it was time to move back closer to home. However, they realized they had a unique opportunity at this point in their lives given that they had few commitments to tie them down, so they took a 3 month hiatus to Italy! They even considered a permanent move at some point, but settled on the extended visit / vacation instead and eventually came back to the states.
Serving the Profession
After returning to the US, Natasha accepted a position at AICPA where she served in various capacities for 8 years, and then eventually moved back home to Kansas and joined the state society of CPAs. We have several interesting conversations during this interview. One of the more intriguing topics we touch on is the Kansas Society’s efforts to engage with high school students and acquaint them with the accounting profession. Kansas is committing significant resources to extending their reach into the high schools, which is an effort I believe will benefit both the profession and the students. With career decisions frequently being made as early as high school, the effort definitely makes sense for our profession. The earlier we are able to introduce students to the stability, security, and financial benefits that a career in accounting can help them afford, the better it is for all of us.
Joseph Rugger, a CPA that has been able to structure his work life to be 100% remote, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go.
We start this interview in the same manner as most, with the story of Joseph’s early career. Joseph started in public accounting, but only stayed for a few years. As he states, the issue was “99% me, 1% public accounting.” It just wasn’t the right fit for him. He was fortunate though in that a friend’s family business needed an accountant, and through that connection he was able to make the move into industry.
Predictable, Baby Steps
After a few years with the prosthetics business, he decided to approach them about venturing into other interests while still ensuring his job got done. It started with teaching a couple days at the local university, but then later moved into working remotely a couple days a week. One of the keys to making the situation work for Joseph was that he outlined how he envisioned getting the job done with this employer, and did so in baby steps. He did not attempt to go 100% remote all in one move. It was a long and careful transition to get where he is today.
Doing Payroll From The Grand Canyon
As you’ll hear in the story, Joseph basically does the same typical accounting tasks that we all would normally do from the office, but he does them from his laptop in remote parts of the world. This may mean while on a mission trip, or from the bottom floor of the Grand Canyon. Sometimes (usually) it takes some flexibility and advanced planning to get the internet connection he needs, but that is just part of the advanced preparation. Other than that, the work is pretty similar to any other accounting role. One interesting fact that Joseph points out though is that it’s not 100% vacation like many people think it is. When you are remote, you basically have to be plugged in all the time, so while you have location freedom, it’s that much more important for you to be accessible. It’s something to think about if you decide to travel the world – that vital conference call could literally be in the middle of the night depending on your time zone. Even such freedom has a few small trade-offs.
This was a wonderful interview with Joseph, and I appreciate that he made the time for it. When you are 100% remote, practically everything is done through advanced scheduling, so for him to make the time for this interview truly was a gift to our listeners.
Tim Gearty, Editor-In-Chief and National Lead Instructor for Becker CPA Review, as well as Managing Partner for Gearty & McIntyre, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go.
Snow Shoveling Is Hard Work
Like most of our episodes, we started off by asking how Tim got into the accounting profession. And like many guests, it came down to a very practical decision for Tim early in life. He had experienced other ways of making income as a kid (snow shoveling, a paper route, etc), and realized that many of those required a high amount of physical labor. That was hard work! <grin> So instead, when a family friend suggested he consider accounting as a potential career choice, he felt it would be a more practical way to make a good living.
His career started as many do. He worked for a short while in industry, and then with Peat Marwick Mitchell, a predecessor to KPMG. After about 3-4 years in public accounting, he decided to take time off for law school.
Becoming an Instructor
Almost immediately after deciding to pursue law school, he was invited to become a professor due to an emergency need at the university. He found that he thoroughly enjoyed teaching, and by the time he was finished with law school he found that it wasn’t necessary for him to return to a full-time accounting role at a national firm. With both his teaching income as well as accounting work that he had picked up along the way, he was actually better off. Plus, he loved helping others learn, so continuing along the teaching route just made sense.
Tim now spends his professional efforts in three main areas, as managing partner for their accounting firm, providing CPE for Fortune 100 companies, and in his role with Becker of course. You can tell from the interview that he is extremely passionate about his work, and he definitely enjoys the variety.
We couldn’t end the podcast without getting Tim’s insights on passing the CPA exam as well of course. Make sure you listen all the way to the end. Tim shares not only some insights into being successful with the exam, but also some of the pitfalls that candidates can encounter these days.
If you find value in this episode, please also check out our episode on “How To Pass the Exam” where we interviewed 5 recently certified CPAs on the techniques they used to ensure they passed.
Thank you again for joining us. To listen in on our interview with Tim Gearty, please click on the player below:
Ramsey Womack joined us this week to share his story of starting in the Army, to becoming a partner in a public accounting firm, to shifting into the consulting world in order to get more variety in his daily work life.
Born Into Accounting
Early in the interview Ramsey shares with us that he was “born into accounting” in that he had many family members that were CPAs in his family. What’s interesting though is that he had an equal passion to serve our country, which was also something he acquired from his family origins. For this reason, although he majored in accounting in college, he chose to start his career by serving in the Army for the first four years after college.
Getting Back In…
Moving back into the accounting world proved challenging initially for a few reasons. He had a tremendous internship with Arthur Andersen during school, but after he served his 4 years in the Army, Andersen was on the brink of closing at that point. Therefore, he couldn’t return for a full-time position as he had thought he might initially. Instead, he started to consider other career paths and started in the management training program with Home Depot. He made a great living with Home Depot, but it became clear quickly that he would have to relocate in order to get promoted, so he decided it was time to return to his original career choice: Accounting.
Out and Up
Being the people-person that Ramsey is, one of his friendships ended up landing him in the office of a local accounting firm. He was able to get on-board with the firm as a staff person, which was a pay cut at the time since he had been building a different career previously, but it was a move that paid off. In a few short years, he became a manager with the firm, and then in a few more he was a partner. After many years with the firm, he decided he wanted to expand his experiences and get more variety in his career, so he joined an outsourced consulting group – WG Consulting in Houston, Texas. Although he is thankful for the time he spent in public accounting, the consulting world is a good fit for him presently as he thoroughly enjoys all the variety that comes with this type of work.
If you are transitioning from the military into civilian life, wanting to move up in public accounting, or even interested in the consulting space, this podcast will be invaluable.
Mariette Martinez, an EA (Enrolled Agent) from the Los Angeles area, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast!
Runs In The Family…
Mariette’s initial interest in becoming an accountant stemmed from her family legacy of entrepreneurship. Through constantly being around her family of entrepreneurs, she realized how important becoming knowledgeable in finance and accounting was to a business owner. Because of this, although none of her family were accountants by trade, she decided to pursue accounting as a career choice at an early age.
Building a Career
Like many do, Mariette worked for an accounting firm during her time in college and gained wonderful experience. After college, she was recruited into one of the national accounting firms and continued to grow professionally. Becoming a mom changed her life though, and she decided to start her own business instead of continue down the corporate path. She worked hard to build her own accounting practice, and in a very short time had her own team that handled bookkeeping, accounting, and tax work.
Building a Life
As she reached what many would clearly recognize as “success”, she realized that she didn’t get as much joy out of her day-to-day work as she had hoped. She had a thriving business and was doing well financially, but it didn’t bring the enjoyment that she had expected. One weekend when she was really feeling the lack of joy, she decided to take a few days off and decide what to do about the issue. She made a decision that only very brave individuals are capable of making: she totally transformed her business. She went from a traditional accounting practice model, to more of an educational and financial coaching model. That was back in 2014, and today she can honestly say that she has been able to return to her normal, joyful self. You’ll be able to tell from her passion and energy in the audio interview – she truly does enjoy her work.