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A CPA Finds His Purpose

| November 8, 2023 | By


I had a Jerry Maguire moment. 

It happened when I found myself reviewing tax returns in a hospital room the morning after my wife gave birth to our second son, Cameron. (Cameron was born April 8th…. this was NOT my best planning as a tax accountant).

I know we’ve all seen the movie, so to be clear, I wasn’t fired like Jerry in the midst of an existential crisis, or for suggesting that my profession as a CPA was somehow less noble, or that we as an accounting community weren’t operating in the best interest of our clients. 

Just the opposite. 

The role of the CPA is a demanding one and a huge responsibility. When you’re helping people file their taxes it has direct consequences on their plans and dreams for their business, their retirement, and what they hope to leave to their kids and grandkids.

Working in public accounting for over a decade, I have worked with amazing clients and colleagues. It was a rewarding journey, but I constantly thought: there’s more potential here with my skill set and what I’ve learned. 

If I wasn’t bogged down with the daily tasks of compliance, on hold with the IRS, dealing with payroll tax issues, worker’s comp audits, cleaning up bookkeeping issues, etc. what else could I be doing to put my clients in a better position?

What if I could focus solely on tax reduction strategy and implementation?  

What I realized I needed was more time. 

More time to be a true advocate and partner to my clients, time to have more in-depth conversations with them about their unique situations, goals, and aspirations. But, because that time was being spent on what had to be done, there was little time left for what could or should be done. I realized, no doubt like many before me, that while I wanted to do so much more, I often ran out of time.

I didn’t want to leave. I was leaving behind incredibly close relationships, I’d be stepping way outside my comfort zone, and beyond all that, I wasn’t sure where to go. I had to find a firm that was aligned with my vision.

Sometimes you need to get a little lucky - and I did.

I met with the team here at Cunningham & Associates who have been helping business owners and individuals reduce their taxes for over 30 years. They aren’t CPAs of the typical public accounting industry, they are licensed tax professionals with the mission of helping taxpayers become more informed, keep more of what they earn, and ultimately give them more to reinvest in their businesses, their futures, and their communities.

C&A loves CPAs. They love what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. We even shared mutual clients from my time in public accounting. My desire for more fulfillment came at the same moment when they had put a plan in place to engage the CPA community to offer them help - and give them what they so badly needed - time. The opportunity for a relationship was perfect. 

At C&A, we talk a lot about our equation for client value.

Value = Time + Expertise. 

CPAs have time and certainly expertise, but rarely the ability to give all their clients both in the same measures which diminishes the value they can deliver to their clients.

Our vision for what we call the C&A Coalition is to bridge the time and expertise gap, become a resource for our CPA friends, and in doing so, help them strengthen the service offering they can deliver for new and existing clients. A rare true win-win. 

Our commitments to our C&A CPA Coalition members are: 

  • Augment, don’t replace, be a trusted partner by helping them bring new, proactive tax reduction strategies and recommendations to their clients and prospective clients.
  • Support the public accounting community through continued professional education and access to information and resources that enhance their position in the market.

We want to empower the American taxpayer, put more money back in their pockets, and make our economy and our local communities stronger. Sure, they are lofty aspirations, but they are achievable.

Best of all, this mission has reinvigorated my passion for my work. I’m excited to go to the office again.

If you’re a CPA and you want to build your practice and deliver more for your clients, let’s talk. 

I can promise you this much: I won’t make you yell, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”

You can contact Steve at slanza@jec-llc.com