Why I want to be your accountant

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Unsplash

I’ve always been a numbers nerd, even though it took me a while to realize I wanted to be an accountant. My dad and I played Monopoly late into the night whenever he had the next day off and I didn’t have school. He says he started off letting me win easily, but that didn’t last long before we were winning and losing pretty evenly with him playing at full effort. (We always tried to play Risk or other classic board games, but we always came back to Monopoly.)

When I had my first computer — really, it was my mom’s, when she went back to college when I was in elementary school, but I played a lot of games on it when she wasn’t writing papers — I gravitated toward business simulation games: Capitalism, Transport Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon II, Roller Coaster Tycoon,and Industry Giant (along with SimCity, of course). I spent many late nights during summers and holiday breaks building corporate empires, imagining the day I’d do the same in real life.

For some reason, I lost the focus on business and gravitated toward law, which led to majoring in Political Science in college (in hindsight, a terrible major for someone seeking a legal career). That led to graduate school and earning a doctorate. After a few years at Texas State University, I realized that path would never give me the fulfillment I needed, and for two reasons I think:

  1. It was too difficult to see the real impact I was having on lives. Yes, I believe education is key to personal success, and I still have the heart of a teacher, but the volume of students, and the fact I only had one — maybe two — courses with which to encourage any of them to pursue the field professionally never led to any real sense of accomplishment on a one-to-one level.
  2. Higher education sucks, at least from an employment perspective. Government budget cuts and corporate influence have led to a severe monetization of higher education. Students necessarily spend too much time working to pay for college, facing stress, fatigue, and burnout, unlike anything I experienced in college, while administrators justify ever-increasing tuition to pay their own bloated salaries. Also, the strict bifurcation of authority and privilege into the tenured and the non-tenure track made for an uncomfortable professional environment.

I needed a way out. Luckily, my mentor Andrew Carroll offered support and guidance as I built my accounting practice. (I had gotten very little of either in my previous career, even from people who claimed to want to see me succeed.) As I learned more about taxation, accounting principles, and business, I began to see how I could directly help real people, families, and small businesses. The care and concern I wanted to have as a college teacher but couldn’t maintain for over 100 new faces every 15 weeks, I can actually have for my stable group of clients. Rather than try to convince students to care about abstract theory and nuanced concepts, I have clients who deeply care about their families’ future but just lack the technical know-how or need some guidance. Instead of hoping my lectures would make some indirect impact on at least a few of my students, I present concrete methods of saving money and time for my clients that directly help them. While my students toyed with notions of grandeur resulting from relatively meaningless changes in majors, course schedules, and campus club memberships that will change before the end of the semester, I help my clients craft savings goals, make investment strategies, and establish businesses that will provide for them for years to come.

In short, I went from hoping to have an effect on one or two out of many to making real change possible by focusing on just a few. That is why I am an accountant. I want to help you, and I want to know I’ve helped.

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Think about why you do what you do and how you got here. Could you have used some support and guidance along the way? Comment below or email me and let me know if you think I could help, or just let me know how you’re doing.

This is the second post in an introductory series. Read the first post here. I recently discussed this change in more depth on the Orthogonal podcast with my friend Brett Kelly and my mentor Andrew Carroll (part one and part two). I couldn’t be happier having the opportunity to serve my clients and help them with one of life’s most stressful issues. (If you’d like to discuss how I might be able to help you, sign up for a free consultation with no commitment.)

Subscribe to my Medium blog and follow me on Twitter to keep up with this series of posts. Check out my website to learn more about the services I offer and the monthly rates.