“Not Your Basic Bean Counter” isn’t just a slogan.
I’d like to tell you about my journey to get where I am today.

A STRANGE JOURNEY INDEED

There’s a whole laundry list of services we offer and I could describe them in great detail…but you already know what a CPA does. So, instead, I’ll take you on a journey.

My first job as a CPA was in early 1978 when I joined the Denver office of Arthur Andersen (they were the largest CPA firm in the United States). Yes, this is the famous Arthur Andersen that went belly-up due to the Enron accounting debacle. I was with them for 5 years…but that was before the scandals! Actually, my experience with them was awesome. Training was fantastic. I specialized in helping small businesses and their owners. My client list included retail stores, real estate developers & contractors, wholesale distributors, ski resorts, manufacturers, doctors/dentists….and lots more.

I left Arthur Andersen in late 1982 to join a large, prestigious insurance broker who handled only very wealthy clients. The majority of my time was primarily focused on analyzing tax shelters for my employer as well as putting together analysis portfolios for those wealthy clients.

 

After a year there my father asked if I would move back to the West Coast (Los Angeles) to help run his business, which was an optical chain with 10 retail offices and 120 employees. Sales were about $7 million annually and we spent over $750,000 a year on advertising. Believe it or not, I was not doing much CPA work for the business because my father already had a good local CPA. So, he wanted me to run the day-to-day affairs of the business. That meant I had to do the hiring and firing, purchasing, lease negotiations with the malls, advertising and tracking of employee performance. I did this for 6 years and learned things I could never have learned as a CPA….seriously!

A RECOGNIZED NATIONAL SEMINAR SPEAKER

In 2008 I joined the ranks of 25 other tax professionals who, at various times during the year, travelled around the country teaching tax seminars to thousands of other tax professionals. It was a great honor to be chosen by Gear Up for this position. This company has decades of experience and puts on the most successful tax and accounting seminars in the United States.

 

I did that for 6 years and finally stopped in 2014. Why? Well, my wife told me that “enough is enough” and she wanted me home more. Hey, who could argue with that?

 

So, I still teach many seminars but limit them primarily to Oregon. She says that’s okay, as long as she gets to come along!

 

As you know, tax rules are complex and, despite Congress telling us that they will “simplify the tax laws”, the average American cannot keep up with all the rules. It would take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to keep up on an annual basis. Well, at my firm, that’s exactly we do….WE SPEND HUNDREDS OF HOURS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR on tax seminars and research materials!

 

As a client, it’s really critical to be with a firm that commits that amount of resources toward knowing all the ins and outs of tax laws and dealing with the IRS. As part of our family, you have that peace of mind.

DO WE DO ANTHING ELSE?

Absolutely! We do accounting and payroll and financial statements for many of our clients. Mike spends a good deal of his time analyzing and consulting on the tax impacts of various business transactions such as buying and/or selling a business, setting up the proper entity for a new business, real estate transactions, year-end planning and much more.

THIS CPA GOT HIS EYES OPENED

Most CPAs have never run a “real” business. By working in my dad’s business, I was able to gain a completely different perspective on the business world. I can’t think of any one thing that has impacted me more (in a positive way) when it comes to understanding clients and being able to see things from their viewpoint. In my opinion, there are very few CPAs who can say that…not because they are not smart, but because they have never had the opportunity to be out there in the “real world” running a “real” business.

 

In addition, most CPAs have little to no experience negotiating large, complicated leases with huge malls like we had in Los Angeles. Most CPAs have never had to deal head-on with labor laws as they impact 120 employees! I also had to centralize and improve our purchasing system, saving the company over $490,000 the first year. I had to computerize the entire business and develop sophisticated tracking software so we could monitor the performance of each employee and office. This same software monitored our response rates from the various advertising media and allowed us to better allocate the $750,000 we spent annually on advertising. Our rate of return for our advertising dollars went up over 200%. I also had to take and coordinate the quarterly physical inventory counts in all the offices…over 2,000 frames per office! I know what business owners go through trying to get an accurate inventory figure (it ain’t easy!).

 

Now, bear with me here. I realize that I am “tooting my own horn”. I apologize if it sounds arrogant or conceited. That is not my intention. I only want to give you a glimpse into the kind of experience I have had because it is what makes me able to say that my firm is definitely “Not Your Basic Bean Counter”.

THE INFAMOUS “MEAL DEAL”

Over a decade ago, I became concerned that some of my clients might hesitate to make an appointment with me (for some tax advice, for example) simply because they didn’t want to get a bill! Well….I thought long and hard about that and came up with an idea that, quite frankly, has been WAY MORE SUCCESSFUL than I could ever imagine. I call it the MEAL DEAL.

 

Here’s how it works. It’s ridiculously simple. It’s based on the principle that I LIKE TO EAT!! Basically, YOU take ME out to lunch…to the restaurant of MY choice…and YOU pay!

 

Here’s what is so great about that…my “meter” doesn’t run for that hour! That’s the cheapest hour of my time you’ll ever get. I do NOT do this during tax season, obviously. In addition, word of this has gotten around town so much that many of these MEAL DEALS are with non-clients! That’s right…non-clients. Why is that? Well, a lot of people just want to ask me questions, meet me, or pick my brain for a second opinion. Either way, I don’t care. I love to meet new people and I love to eat lunch! It’s a real WIN-WIN.

 

Feel free to call the office and book a MEAL DEAL with me. I get booked up, so call early. If you’re really desperate, I could be convinced to do a dinner! Or breakfast!

FOR OUR EXISTING CLIENTS

I hope this story was a bit entertaining and informative. My intention was to give you a fresh peek into why we use the slogan “Not Your Basic Bean Counter”.

 

So, if you are already a client, THANK YOU!! You are treasured…and our commitment to you is ongoing. We hope you will tell your friends and business associates about us.

I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

I moved my family to Oregon in August 1990. My wife is a native of the area. Her dad taught wood shop at the local high school for several decades. She comes from a big family (last name Davison…many local folks know the family. Many even took wood shop from Mr. Davison).

 

The “big” firm experience allows me to bring serious expertise to a small town environment where the people and businesses are so darn nice and friendly!

 

After being in Oregon for 3 years (teaching for a few colleges and doing some tax consulting) I realized that it was time to get back to doing full-time CPA work. This was a tough decision for me because I knew very well what most CPA firms were like: stuffy, overworked (especially in tax season), stressed out, too formal and not a very happy group of people.

 

So, there I was thinking thoughts like: “Is it possible to have a CPA firm where people are NOT stressed out?” “Is it possible to hire people who are technically fantastic but also very friendly?” “Can I find front-office personnel who smile and are actually GLAD to see clients when they come in the door?”

 

Well, I am here to tell you that I am thrilled…and also humbled, because we’ve done it! Our office is a HAPPY place to be…not only for us, but for our clients as well. I want you to know that this office has the BEST staff I have ever worked with…no exaggeration here. I treat my staff like gold…because they ARE gold!! I hire a massage therapist weekly for them during tax season and monthly the rest of the year. My staff deserve it. In addition, my wife is a chef and baker who cooks a gourmet lunch for all of us each Thursday (don’t call our office on a Thursday between noon and 1pm because we won’t answer – we are too busy eating!). We are now the second largest CPA firm in the area and still growing (must be eating way too much).

 

So, by “thinking-outside-the-box” we have been able to live up to our slogan of “Not Your Basic Bean Counter”!! We are able to offer the best quality services along with a casual, happy, stress-free environment.

 

“Not Your Basic Bean Counter” is not just a slogan. A brilliant marketer once said “If all you do is what everyone else in your industry does, then you’ll never be any better than anyone else in your industry.” Those words found a home in my heart. We pride ourselves on NOT being like everyone else. We listen. We return phone calls. We actually care…a LOT….about our clients. We treat our clients like family. We communicate regularly with them (and vice-versa). When we mess up (and, yes, it does happen!) we cheerfully fix it.

DO WE ONLY DO OREGON TAX RETURNS?

Some of our wealthiest clients live in other states and many of them require multiple state tax returns to be filed. With emails, portals and other high tech “stuff”, geography is fast becoming a non-issue. We have LOTS of personal and business clients all over the country. So, we do far more than just Oregon returns!

 

In addition, many think that we ONLY prepare very complex and high-end tax returns. Not true. We also prepare LOTS of simple personal returns. We do it all.

NOT A CLIENT?

If you are NOT a client, no pressure. This story is being told for telling purposes only. I hope that you found it interesting. We do not hustle or hassle people in any way. It’s too small a town for that. All of our growth has come from word of mouth. We enjoy a fabulous reputation and want to maintain that for many years to come. If we can ever be of service to you, it would be our pleasure to assist you in any way possible.

 

Feel free to pick up the phone and call us. You can come in, meet us, see how we operate and spend some time with us….all at no charge or obligation. And, don’t forget that you can take advantage of the MEAL DEAL!