It’s always a little awkward talking about myself but I do get questioned about my experience and how long I’ve been practicing. I’ve been doing tax work in some capacity for close to twenty years but it’s always interesting to look back and see “how I got here.”
First off the boring stuff. I decided I wanted to be a CPA before I even knew what a CPA did. I was told you had to be good at math (which I was and since I have taught my son a trick or two with his math home work, still am good at the subject) and that they made good money. Not a very noble start but when you’re a kid, who doesn’t like money. It seemed my career track turned out to be a good one because when I took a couple of high school courses in accounting, I hit them both out of the park. On my last final exam, I was asked if I wanted to take it a day earlier. I did and without studying, scored a 49 out of 50 (I don’t remember what I got wrong), and beat the teacher who routinely took the test to see how challenging they were. An interesting fact about that class was I had access to the best computer in the school. It was the only computer in any classroom with a hard drive and it clocked in at 25 mb.
Late in 1989 I started college at MSU and a little more than five years later, I graduated with both my B.A. and M.B.A. in Accounting (the MBA had an emphasis in tax). This usually throws people off because both diplomas have the same date (UM fans joke that MSU had a two for one special that year). MSU offered a five year program just for accounting students where you didn’t have to take several classes that overlapped (so you weren’t required to take basic marketing at both the undergraduate level because most of the subject matter was covered in the graduate level course) so you could finish both degrees in five years.
I started my “career” on January 31, 1995 in the tax department at KPMG, one of the Big Four (it was the Big Six when I was there) accounting firms. After three and a half years at KPMG I moved on and from there spent time in a variety of different roles for a variety of different companies. I worked for small manufacturing firms, big auto suppliers (Delphi in their hey day) and my last job was in the tax department at the Taubman Company where I picked up some of my real estate experience. Through all of those jobs, having my own private practice was at least in the back of my head and I was finally able to make the leap right after New Year in 2007.
Since I left my last job, I’ve devoted myself to my clients. There were times where I had downtime and picked up some contract work here and there (my last on site contract job was doing payroll for ThyssenKrupp) but as of late that’s been few and far between. I have a wide variety of clients now with a heavy dose of real estate investors although I have clients in several other industries as well.