[IMGCAP(1)]CPAs come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses. And each one bases success off of what they see as success.
I have a story about four CPAs who all have the right answer but provide the answer in contradictory manners. Like many accountants, I grew up in a family littered with CPAs. My grandfather (Zeida) is in his 60th tax season. My uncle has just merged his firm with another local Los Angeles firm. My sister is an emerging partner at a local firm in Los Angeles, and I’m a motivated manager at a firm in Fresno, Calif.
Despite the fact that we all have a CPA license, our individual strengths have impacted the value of service we provide to our clients. The following are the distinct characteristics that make up the reasons (at least in my view) of why we are all valuable to our clients, staff and community.
The Tough One: My grandfather fought other kids on the streets of Chicago. He fought in World War II. And he fought to give his children and grandchildren more than what he was offered as a child. My grandfather scraped, saved, took risks, and sacrificed himself and his relationships to enhance the lives of others. This tough-nosed attitude gave clients the support they needed to take the risks to enable success in their businesses. With my grandfather’s steady hand, these clients never wavered in the face of any adversity they encountered. The true value of his services depended on the fact that failure was not an option.
The Diligent One: My uncle, following in the footsteps of his dad, is one smart dude! Not only is he incredibly bright, but he works his butt off! Day in, day out through various diseases that he has overcome, through personal tragedies that he has faced, he has maintained the ability to work with his clients to enhance their lives and their financial situations. The diligence that my uncle sustained is marathon-like. Even if it’s 2 a.m., sure he would field a phone call, because by working at 2 a.m., he could have dinner with his family for an hour. Clients, colleagues and family could count on him. He could be depended upon. He would get it done whatever the cost. Knowing that your CPA has that type of reliability is beyond valuable. The peace of mind a client receives, knowing that they have a reliable partner, is reassuring to say the least.
The One Who Never Got in Trouble: My sister is sharp! She doesn’t miss a beat, nor does she allow the people she is around to miss a beat. As a kid I can remember that she would never miss an assignment, would never participate in something like a senior prank in high school, and she would never allow herself to be put in a bad situation. As an adult and as a CPA these qualities have enhanced her ability to gain respect from her senior partners, her more experienced clientele and also her staff. She is always prepared, always calm, cool and collected. Her clients and her staff rely on her for these traits. She is expected to ace presentations; she is expected to be a source of calm in a heated situation; and as her clients stick by her side, they know they will end up in a positive situation.
The One Who Became an Accountant Because That’s What Everyone Else Did! I went to college and I didn’t pay a single cent. I took the opportunity to attend a four-year world-class university for granted. I was told to become an accounting major. I was told that accounting is a great profession. Shoot, as a kid, I was told I would drive a red Alfa Romeo convertible and be a CPA (and I believed all of it). I was told what to do and never questioned the rationale behind it.
I ended up getting my CPA license and I also ended up leaving the profession for a year and a half because I have trouble sitting at a desk for long periods of time. I questioned myself, my ability, my values, my core, my beliefs and my priorities. All of this questioning led to the realization that all I wanted to do was help others believe in themselves so they could make a bigger difference in whatever their passion is.
Being back practicing accounting is no longer a chore of preparing and reviewing trial balances, but it’s about making my clients’ lives a little easier, motivating my staff to believe in their work, and enhancing a culture where we collaborate daily with each other to make our lives collectively better. I know, at the end of the day, when I go home to my wife and son, that the people I worked with feel better about where their life is headed. And that’s the value I create as a CPA.
Accounting, tax, audit, consulting—whatever block you fit in—it’s important to understand the value that you expose to your clients, your staff and your community. Without knowing yourself, it is really difficult to know the value you can provide others. And just like my family, your value will most likely be different than the CPA you sit next to. Your ability is unique and your ability is boundless.
And if you were wondering what profession everyone else in the family took up, they are teachers who had the patience to deal with us CPAs.
Adam Blitz, CPA, is a tax and consulting manager at Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP in Fresno, Calif.Along with his CPA, Adam has a Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University. Adam authored a thesis entitled, "The Leading CPA the value of the leading CPA." Adam is focused on working with his clients, collegues, and industry professionals in enhancing the value of the CPA. For additional information, Adam can be contacted at Adamb@whhcpas.com or via Twitter @getblitzed”