This episode is sponsored by Liscio. Learn more at www.liscio.me
Katie Thomas, CPA and Founder of Leaders Online, joins Dawn to talk about her motivations, how to find work life balance, why your firm needs to have an online presence, and more! Listen now to learn how your accounting skills can benefit you in other aspects of your career, and how you can achieve both personal and professional success!
Katie begins her conversation with Dawn by sharing her background in accounting, and shares her experience as a CPA and a public accountant. She shares that although she doesn’t practice accounting now, the skills she gained as an accountant have been invaluable to her.
“I didn’t realize that, with an accounting degree, you could really do a lot…those skills are really transferable and they also give you a lot of credibility.”
Katie started her career in accounting at Ernst & Young, but quickly learned she wasn’t finding the fulfillment she was looking for. She knew she had a love for marketing, and was hoping she could pursue that at EY, but unfortunately was not offered the position.
It wasn’t until she experienced a health scare where she really began to reevaluate what she wanted her career path to look like.
Katie also encourages listeners to take that leap of faith if they want to make that career adjustment or change, adding that there is no “right time” to make one.
“And then I realized that there’s no, really, ‘signal’. It’s like, it’s got to be up to you.”
Katie’s Motivation and Developing Leaders Online
Katie eventually left EY, and pursued a career in marketing—specifically in the accounting/business industry. She also shared that shortly after she quit EY, her husband ended up needing a major surgery, and that served as a huge motivation to get her business off the ground.
Katie also shares that she’s always had a passion for marketing. She even helped market her father’s business when she was just 16 years old, and talks about how that experience helped bolster the trajectory of her business.
While she loves the accounting industry, she did not find joy in tax returns and bookkeeping, but knew there was a market for the services she could provide to practitioners, which ultimately led to the creation of Leaders Online.
Why Your Firm Need to Get Online
Katie’s business, Leaders Online, is a marketing and consulting service that can help businesses increase their online presence. She can help with developmenting a social media presence, creating a new website, branding, and much more.
Katie says she often finds that accounting firms are hesitant to share their achievements online, and prefer to rely on references to gain new clients. The problem with only relying on references is that your pool of clients can remain quite small. By putting yourself and your firm online, you are able to reach a wide range of clients, and you are able to choose exactly who you want to work with. Even if your firm is not looking for new clients, putting your firm online can even attract new staff who may want to work for your business.
Importance of Work Life Balance
While it is important to find joy in the work you do, Dawn and Katie both agree that it’s important to have goals outside of your work life.
Dawn shares that even though softball season is during tax season, she always makes time for it because it gives her something to look forward to, and ensures that her work hours are productive.
Katie agrees, and shares that she started scheduling horseback riding lessons, and that it’s important to find other activities that you can define yourself by, rather than just your career.
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Dawn Brolin – Liscio Ad
Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, a president of Powerful Accounting, Inc, and the author of the Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals.
I’m here today to talk to you about one of my favorite new application implementations. And that’s with Liscio. We were finding that we were chasing clients and wasting a lot of administrative time chasing them for documents, for information for answers to questions as we’re going through tax season. And we found that we really could be working a lot less hours if we could solve for that pain point. So we found Liscio. And because of implementing Liscio, we were able to save hours of time every single week chasing clients. Not only was it the time that we were spending, but it was the frustration of trying to get in touch with them. And for them to securely send us documents and information so we could prepare their tax return in a timely fashion.
No more picking up and putting down tax returns, because we don’t have everything we need. What I love is that it’s one central place for us that all of us in our firm can see all of the communications, whether it’s via text, or email, or a document that we’re looking for anyone in the firm can go grab that document or that communication, and know exactly what’s going on with that client at all times. What’s even better about it is that it does integrate with our project management and workflow solution, as well as our accounting software. So we’re entering contact information for our clients in one place and pushing it out to other solutions that we use. And I find that application integration is critical. But being able to save us that time, so that I can be on the ball field coaching in the spring, or whatever else it may be being with my kids, whatever it may be. But we found that we were being so unproductive, doing that administrative chasing that we were just like it’s not the clients fault, it’s our fault, we have to offer them a solution that’s going to work for them. And what we found was as we were implementing Liscio, with our clients, the best feedback we would get in this was almost every single client was wow, that was easy. And that’s what we need it to be in order for our clients really get us what we need. And it’s got to be secure. We need cloud to cloud secure document exchange and secure communications. We no longer give out our personal cell phones, which is awesome. I don’t want to hear from a client midnight. If I happen to hear from them through my Liscio app, then that’s cool. Maybe I respond, maybe I don’t, but it gives me that flexibility and that time of peace and quiet when I’m not in the office. So I’m telling you go out, get yourself a demo of Liscio, implement it for your business you have a successful upcoming 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond tax season. Thank you so much for listening. And I wish you the best as you move forward.
Alright, everybody, hello, and welcome back to the DM Disruption. My name is Dawn Brolin, and of course your host and I’m here with somebody that I just met really like a handful of months ago through you know, the electronic world, we’ll call it. But I was Katie Thomas here now it is…lifetime online co– help me,
Leaders Online! I’m such an idiot. But really Katie has one of the sweetest souls of people you know, you know, you come across people in your life and you’re like, is she really there’s no way she’s this sweet and nice, but yet she is! And she’s intelligent. She’s got motivation. She’s got drive, her story is so awesome. I’m excited to share that with you. So, Katie, thank you so much for coming today. I mean, you’re out there changing the lives of accounting professionals, and we want to hear all about it. So tell us who you are, what you’re doing, why you started what– your story is so great! And tell us just about yourself.
Well, thanks so much for having me on done. I’m super excited to be here. And I’m a CPA, an accountant like a lot of people who tune in, so I can relate to a lot of what you guys are going through, have gone through with school, and if you are a CPA and took the exam, I feel you but I took a little bit of a different path, once I had worked in public accounting for a little bit. So this is an interesting part of my story because I didn’t realize that with an accounting degree that you could really do a lot and that just the foundation of those skills are really transferable and they also give you a lot of credibility. So that’s something I want, like all accountants to know is like, there’s so many options for me. I do marketing and public relations. But you can go into technology, you can go into consulting, you can go literally into anything. And if you have a background in this industry, people automatically–they want to hear from you because you understand businesses.
Right? Absolutely. And so being a CPA yourself, I’ve always said, I try to tell this to like the application providers and the different companies of vendors that we work with that listen, honestly, I’m going to listen to Katie, before, I’m going to listen to maybe one of your salespeople, or one of the people that are in your marketing department. Because I trust Katie knows where I stand. She understands she’s been through the CPA exam, which is one in and of itself. I was watching on social media this weekend. And a young man had you know, passed the CPA and I was just…it brings you right back to when, if you remember, Katie, I don’t know about you, but I don’t even know how I passed this thing. Right? And so the last exam comes through and you’re like, Oh, my goodness, if I pass this I’m in. I’ve done it, right? And you’re, you don’t want to push that button. Right? It’s terrifying.
Oh, it is. Every time you feel like you failed, at least I did. And then you’re like, okay, yes, I passed.
I will tell you okay, this so funny, because you’re just a little itty bitty baby. I mean, in very respectfully, by the way, your experience and what you do, but compared to this old lady, you’re just just, you’re just, you’re just a beautiful young lady. Anyway, I don’t know about you. But when I got my first result, my first exam, I got a 75. And I was like, 75 is passing, I swear, I printed 100 copies of it. I’m like, they can’t take it away from me print print print, like I was freaking out! Like, there’s no way they could take this away from me. And, you know, being able to encourage other accounting professionals as they’re going through that journey, because that journey, and I don’t know about you, when I when I took the exam, which wasn’t really that long ago, honestly, I think I think it was 2012 when I finished up. And so it was later for me, right? So I didn’t do it when I was young. And I just remember that process, it was a two year process, and every weekend, my husband would take the kids somewhere and either take him to his brothers, or they would go hiking, or they go to the playground, so Mommy could study. Right? And that was my big thing. So but to the encouragement now, there’s the social media areas with either whether it’s Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter or whatever it may be where there’s these groups that encourage each other, right?
Yep. Yep. Lots of encouragement and collaboration and just basically a community.
Yeah, it really is. And we need each other support. And so I remember I read through your story, which I think is fascinating, by the way. And I love the fact that you felt like you were kind of in a corner on your, I want you to tell us the story because it just shows the the true result of being motivated. And whether it’s a negative motivation, or positive motivation, or whatever it may be, or just this, I love that you have a dad like I have, I had a dad that passed away. But his inspiration, his work ethic that laid the path for where I knew I needed to go professionally. So I want you to tell that story, because it really is inspirational, and it’s motivational, and so tell us about that story, because I really enjoyed reading it.
So I was–I had just gotten married at this time, and I was working at one of the big four firms. And for me, I always knew I wanted to go out and do something in like, the more creative space. So I did marketing for–it actually my father’s small business growing up–from time I was 16–I was working with them, and really helped them all up until I started at EY. And so I was super familiar with that space, and I loved it. But then I got into accounting because people said that’s the Language of Business, and long story short, I was at EY, I had just gotten married, and I came down with this weird sickness that I was in the hospital for nine days, the doctors were telling me that my heart could stop at any minute. I mean, I was perfectly healthy. And then all of a sudden I wasn’t and people are, you know, doctors are like, we don’t know, really what’s wrong with you. And when I got out of that, I really realize that, whatever you want to do, there’s never going to be a time. So I remember I would sit at EY, and I was like, I know, I’m being called for something else, like I feel it in me. But you know, am I too young? Am I smart enough? Is anyone going to take me seriously, I have a good job. And so I was just kind of like waiting for a signal. And then I realized that there’s no really signal. It’s like it’s got to be up to you. And so I was like, Okay, I went back to EY and I went to one of the partners and I was like, you know, I love doing business, business development. I love doing marketing like, is there a role in this company for me? And they basically said, “Hey, no, like you’ve got to be you know, a lot further up in the company.” And I totally respect that, so I said, okay. I see this with accountants, like, I know accounting, I know like what we do, maybe there’s a spot for me in the accounting industry doing this. And so I left. And I thought, okay, we’ve overcome one challenge. Well, just a few short weeks later, not even a month, my husband found out he was going to have to get a 13 disk spinal fusion, going to be off work for many months, the foreseeable future, and we’d have to go to New York for this. And so it was a crazy time, but it was, so it was exactly, I sometimes I feel like things just happen for a reason. And this one, it was like, Okay, you made this decision to go out on your own. Now you have an even bigger motivating factor, because your husband’s not going to have that second job of income, you’ve got to produce and provide for yourself and your husband, and we’re gonna find a way to make this work. And sometimes when your back’s up against the wall, that’s when you’re like, it’s go time, I’ve got this, I’m going to find a way. And so that was like, for me, that was like my motivation success story, and here we are today.
I love that. And so I and I truly believe that. And so, I think I totally believe things happen for a reason 100%, you close one window, and another one opens, a door doesn’t matter, right? And that’s kind of how we’re, I think a lot of it too. Like, I love the fact that your your dad has his own business. And, you know, you were in the weeds of that when you were 16, which I feel like, you know, I’ve been in business when my kids have seen you know that what that work ethic takes, because it’s one thing, I just I do this as my total opinion. And you could tell me, people could tell me, I’m nuts, which I kind of am. But to say that, you know, when you work for yourself, and you’ve done accomplish something like passing the CPA exam, I believe the CPA exam is part of what prepares you for the future for success in a profession, even if you don’t follow through and do traditional CPA work, right technical work. But that does the discipline, and the commitment, and you know, just that 18 months, or however long it takes people, some people takes less, it took me the exact I mean to the day 18 months, which because I’m a risk taker, apparently. And so but you know, you’ve learned that discipline, through that process, it gives you that ability, like you said, you had no choice girl, you were gonna bust out, and it was there was your backs against the wall. And guess what, you either have two choices, you can give up, cry about it and stay miserable at EY. Or you could bust out and say, you know what? I’m going to fall down, I already know it get a bunch of band aids and a bunch of bags of ice, because you’re gonna fall in your face, you’re gonna get beat up, you’re going to doubt yourself. And that’s what the CPA exam to me, that’s what it did. It prepared me to understand I failed one part right? Out of the four I failed when I had to take it again.
Right? It’s not, there’s nothing wrong with that. And so where you are right now, you’re advising and consulting and working with accounting professionals, you have a book club, as a matter of fact, and other things. So tell me like, what’s, what are your clients telling you? What are you seeing in the profession? Like what is our biggest need? What are people screaming for?
So it’s interesting, because as accountants, we’re really competent, and what we do, and how we help businesses, and our our set of skill set. But whenever you’re, you take the a lot of these accountants and I’m speaking generally not for everyone, not like you, Dawn, if you ask them to start sharing about that online and putting yourself out there and talking about some of their accomplishments, how great and awesome they are taking some of those skills and just putting them out to the public, they clam up. They’re not confident in it. And the thing with this is, they’re really, one, they’re not attracting as many like clients for their firm or some a lot of firms actually, you know, they’re like, “We don’t need any more clients right now, after COVID, we’re busy”, but they want new staff, well, they’re not putting their self out there and their brand out there, so then they’re not attracting that talent that they really could be. And it’s, it’s so cool to witness someone that is so awesome, and they’re lacking this confidence to really put themselves out there and help them do that, and then what comes from it, like more clients, more staff, maybe it’s they get an award like Top 100 Accountant or 40 under 40. It’s it’s really cool what comes from that and it’s not, they’re not conceited, they’re not bragging, it’s just creating a brand and a voice which they have. They just need to expand that and make it louder, put it on the microphone.
Yeah, and that’s such a good point too, because people will say to me, “Well, how do I get this type of work?” I want it you know, in in the in the new book, that Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals, we do this reassess your success conversation to say, listen, are you even servicing the right clients? Are you actually performing services that you love? Or are you just doing it because it feels, you know, fills the payroll bucket when you need to pay payroll. And I found and I try to tell people listen, you’ve got to find something you love, because you’re going to work for a long time. And you you at least, and you may not, you know, I started out doing bookkeeping, you know, I didn’t go to EY or to a bigger firm, that just wasn’t the route, I stayed fairly in the smaller firm size. And then I love you know, kind of love them, like, Oh, I’m really good at this. I feel like I’m really good at it. And then I was like, I feel like there’s so much more I can be doing. And then I kind of shifted to tax and now tax resolution, a lot of that’s because of Eric Green. I hope you’ve heard there.
Yeah, of course!
Eric is…Eric has steered me in a direction that I can’t be more thankful for. I kind of feel like if I had him, when I just graduated college, my life would have been very different. Not that I would change anything, because I wouldn’t, but he really helped me steer in this direction of passion of motivation, what I want to do to help people. And so I think that you’re right, like, be loud and proud. And you know, you don’t have to be like, it’s not even about being cocky. It’s about being knowledgeable and sharing that knowledge with other people who need to hear that knowledge. And when you do that, you make that loud voice, people are gonna go, oh, I need somebody for a QuickBooks data cleanup. Oh, I know who that is. Because I see them on social all the time, or somebody to do you know, employee retention, credit calculation, right, or r&d, or whatever. When you make yourself known that that’s what you do, you will get you will get referrals, and you will get clients that you’re looking for, right? And I’m sure you’ve seen that with people, right? They’re there. Are they servicing clients? They maybe maybe shouldn’t? And are you having those conversations with? With your people?
Yeah, it comes up a lot, because a lot of times they are not currently serving exactly who they want. Or maybe they’ve made that transition, but they still have, you know, a handful of clients over here that they’re like, I need to replace that revenue. And it’s like, okay, but if no one knows you, then you are just relying on your existing clients to pass along the referral. Whereas if you have an online perception and brand and people know you maybe those people seeing you all the time, those aren’t your clients, but it’s like, “Hey, my friend over here, who has a similar business is looking for this. Have you seen Dawn online, she clearly knows what she’s talking about. Like you should check her out.”
Right? Yeah. And I think as you would probably can testify to this, too, there’s, there’s enough work for everybody. I kind of every once in a while I giggle I’m like, trying to remember the last time I went into my office, and I sat down in my chair, and I said, Boy, I just don’t really have anything to do today. Like, I kind of, I kind of have that as a goal personally, is to be able to like work myself out of work, which is what I try to tell my clients, listen, I don’t want to be on your dime, 24/7 I want to get in, I want to do really good work for you, give you great advice, and help you move your business forward. But at the same time, you know what? I someday would love to catch up. I would like every November and December, that’s my goal, right is to catch up on my work. So I can maybe take a couple weeks off, imagine. And so so with that shifting a little bit to helping people that you’re working with these these CPA firms, CPA owners, a firm owners and things like that, that’s your primary people in the firm owners that you’re talking to?
And so to help them understand that, you know, there can be work life balance, and people throw “work life balance” around. Now, there’s never, I mean, I just don’t see us on a teeter totter words ever even. I think that we have tax season. And we’re doing a lot of that. But I also find like for myself, and you read the first book the Designated Motivator, taking the step, a leap of faith to say, “You know what? Yeah, I know softball is during tax season.” And so what is that? Is that the end of the line for me, because I’m a tax preparer, and I can ever be involved in something like that, right? So for me, it’s it’s not equal. I don’t not at softball the equal amount of time I’m working, but it gives me that ability to have a clear mind. And I think it’s really helped me focus better. And so are you finding your practitioners, the firm owners that you’re working with that they really struggle with that with being able to do something they love to do outside of the office?
Oh, yeah. I mean, I think that for a lot of us, too, just the personality of our profession. Again, I’m generalizing here, but we’re very motivated, very dedicated to what we do, and to our clients and our, our team members, that it’s a challenge for us. Um, and I think though, for a lot of people, it’s like, it takes something significant to pull them out. For example, I know one firm owner I work with, she realized that her son was graduating this year and she was like, “Oh, my gosh, like, I’ve been working his whole, you know, high school” and so she way pulled back I was just like, I don’t know why this just hit me. So I think it’s really cool like you telling that story that you know, you took on coaching the softball team and stuff. And it wasn’t like that was something you know you had to do, but it kind of it was a moment to like, pull you back and make you realize, like, okay, I can do this. And I can rearrange my schedule, or sometimes I think, too, when you put something like that on your schedule, at least I’ve just found personally, it’s like you, you make it work like time just expands how it needs to expand. And that’s not to say you can only work one hour a day versus like, you can kind of give yourself deadlines and speed things up or move things around to just make it all work.
Yeah. And I think too like, for me that it’s one of my examples is okay, I know I have practice at 3, and I don’t want to miss practice. So I know I have to shut my email off and shut my phone off, and I need to focus on these five tax returns, however many it is, in order for my reward to go to practice. Now, if I don’t hit the goal that I know after practice, I’m coming back to the office because my my goal for the day was these five tax returns. And so when you set in, you’re right, that it’s that that sense of urgency, where if you have listen, I can fill a 14 hour day with work, no problem. But how productive am I really being?
Because I have this big expansion of time, right?
Exactly. And I know I do the same thing, even though I’m not doing tax returns now. I, I’ve always been into horseback riding and I kind of especially when I started my business, like, let that not be as much of a priority. And so like as soon as I put it back on my schedule and scheduled lessons again and like really devoted myself to being committed to doing it. It was like, you have that reward and you’re going to work towards it and take the time away.
Absolutely. I feel like you know, I just what I have another thing that I can go and it’s like clearing your mind really the other day and I love that you horseback ride a very dear friend of mine. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Heather Satterly, she’s out of Rhode Island. Heather is she and Liz Scott run the Appy Hour?
Oh, yeah. Okay, of course, Heather!
Yeah, you Heather. She’s, she loves horseback riding. And so she started to, yeah, she you got it, you guys would say oh my goodness, you guys would love each other. She started horseback riding, you know, maybe six months ago, maybe I don’t know if it was longer than that. She was renting a horse. She now has bought a horse. And she goes horseback riding. She’s got this group of friends and everything. And it just you can see a person’s world change when they are embracing something that they’re passionate about outside of work. I mean, we all love to where people pleasers accounting. Sorry, you are. We do have this stigmatism. And I think you alluded a little bit to it, where people are like, “Oh, well, I’m in the accounting profession, and so I’m supposed to be professional and I’m supposed to be in my suit all the time. And I’m supposed to be doing tax returns. And don’t talk to me during tax season.” And even at Scaling New Heights, I have to say, I think it was Veem had the best t shirt award at Scaling New Heights and it said “I’m sorry for what I said during tax season.” And that just like, righ?, I thought was that was creative. Um, but to think about that is the attitude. It’s like, well, we just don’t, you know, like, my friends will be like, “Oh, we don’t bother you during taxes.” I was like, Dude, I’m still a person. Yeah. And you know, I can still go out to dinner. I can still eat.
So you can’t let–people go ahead…
Oh, I was gonna say you can’t lose your identity to a job or profession. And it’s hard to not lose it sometimes, which is sad. You have to be intentional about it.
Absolutely. And I love what you said about your client who realized, oh, my goodness, my kid’s going to graduate. And I feel like the like was in softball. I always try to teach the kids and I try to drill into their heads, listen, do not have regrets. Life is shorter than you think it is. And it’s busier than it’s ever been before. But if we don’t stop for a hot second and say, Listen, the work will be there, you’ll get the work done. But to understand that you don’t want to look back and go, Oh my goodness, I wish I’d done this or my kids now off to college. Now they’re gone by, you know, they’re out of here. And it’s like, I missed that whole opportunity to be a part a big bigger part of my, my kids life. Now listen, I understand. There’s some people that listen, this is what you do. I’m not this is not a judgment. So let’s, right Katie?
So let’s, let’s you know, preface the fact that we’re just trying to give you some motivation and some encouragement to stop for a minute. I mean, either just sit for five minutes and be like, what do I really want out of this life? I mean, I’m 51, okay, I’m not on the upslope I’m not on the upslope, okay, I’ve hit the peak, coming back down. But what do I want that ride to be like? What do I want that exit strategy of life, which nobody wants to talk about? Because it’s, you know, gloomy, but really, at the end of the day, there’s only two things you have to do you have to die, you have to pay taxes, right? Those are the only two things you have to do. So if those are the two things that are not really that pleasant, right, let’s see how we can fill our lives, even if it’s just an hour a day, an hour a week, two hours a week, that you can really feel good about something for yourself. And guess what? Here’s the thing, Katie, I’m sorry, I’m talking probably more than I should know. But I just I just connect, I really connect with you. Like, it all makes sense to me. And I look back and I say, what if? What if I had done these things? And what if I took some time to myself? Because I know it re-energizes me. And I know that listen, I’m going to have regrets. There’s no doubt everybody’s going to have them that’s inevitable. But can we minimize the regrets? And what does that mean for you, there’s a commitment thing, or there’s a, you know, continuing education, whatever that may be, but to look outside of all of this professional work, and I’m a CPA and all this stuff, and say, “You know what, I’m also a person,” and you’re going to lose, I lost staff for when I made that decision. People quit people, they were like, you’re not in the office enough. I mean, I don’t know if this is the truth, because I never really told me, but it’s like, why, what was the problem? I wasn’t in the office 16 hours a day, which is the you know, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Or, you know, you didn’t feel like I was I was working as hard as you were, it’s like, okay, and you’re gonna have that negativity, you just have to be willing to accept it. Right? At the end of the day.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think something that about that is like, so powerful to do, and then have grace, if that changes, because like what you think brings you joy, like maybe right now, you are really focused on your career, and like, the thought of doing some sort of project or taking on extra work is like, that really does give you a lot of joy. That’s great. But then you, you know, a year changes, and now you’re having a family or something like that. And it’s like, Okay, I’ve got to take a step back. And maybe your life looks different, or your view of joy looks different now. Like, that’s okay, too. I know, that’s been something I’ve experienced is like, accepting that your wants needs, desires are going to change. And that doesn’t mean that you as a person aren’t as committed, or anything like that. It’s just like, no, like, you’re in a different stage in your life now, and priorities do change. And that’s okay. You’re still a committed person to your job and your profession.
I love that. It’s like I say reassess your success, but reassess your joy. Like it sounds corny, but it’s true. Like, you don’t want to be that person who’s on this shirt that said, “I’m sorry about what I said, during tax season,” you don’t want that to be your message.
No, you don’t.
It’s funny, but that is not what I want to be perceived as is like a tax season we’ll ever we will see Brolin for three months. And yet I’m like, so you know, and this is super funny, too. And then maybe you go out, you know, to watch a game in a bar with your buddies, like on a Friday night or something and you go, you show up and they’re like, What are you doing here? It’s tax season. It’s like, what?
I’m a human!
I’m still person. What do you mean? And it really is powerful when you can, you can determine and in like, set the stage for your success in whatever that some people are like, Listen, I’m going to work. I want to work 60-70 hours a week, 80 hours a week, and I’m just this is my time to shine. And I’m going to pump through it because then I take the other seven months off eight months off. That’s okay, too. Right? And and like you said to you, mate, I grinded man, I was the breadwinner. I had just like you were when you had your husband, right? And laid up, which by the way, when you wrote that up, it said, so my new husband, and I gambled about that. I was like, Oh, she got rid of one!
(Katie Laughs) Nope! Still same one!
One and done. I always say I don’t want to retrain man, I have my one guy. I’m gonna keep him. I don’t have to retrain. But but it just, it just is. And it’s something that you just have to reflect back on and say, I think this is what’s best for Dawn Brolin. And that’s where I think it’s hard for us because we do want to please everyone else before ourselves, but over time, that can beat you down. So tell me about what are your what are the things that you can offer to the to the people that are listening now, what you you are doing coaching with these firms, you’re helping with marketing, you’re helping with branding, tell us about what you’re doing. So we can you know, people have a need for what you’re doing. So tell us a little bit more about that.
Yeah, so if you’re a firm owner, and you feel like right now, you aren’t being seen online as the expert you are, then that’s where you’re the perfect candidate to get some help. So maybe you don’t like your current website. Or maybe you feel like your social media presence is lacking. Or maybe you see people getting featured in articles and you, you want to be featured to you want to share your knowledge and your expertise, then that’s exactly where we can help you and we can come in and work together to create a plan on how to take you from where you’re at now to where you want to be. And we’ll work together and do it. It’s we need a little help from you as the practitioner because you’re the only one that knows your story, your voice your brand, but we try to do all the heavy lifting like all the content, writing, creation, all that’s done for you.
And I love that and we need that. And I love the fact that you’ve been a CPA and you are a CPA and that you’ve been in our industry and worked for the bigger firms, you’ve, you’ve worked with accountants, just in general and clients, you understand what the client needs to hear as well. So, so what what let’s just because we’re gonna wrap it up, but what’s the website that people can come find you?
You can go to Leaders dash, so little hyphen online.com. And you can learn more about what we do there schedule a time to talk. And then I’m on social media, Katie Thomas, CPA pretty much everywhere. So you can I send me a DM.
Definitely. So well, it will post the link, the link will be right there on the on the homepage of the podcast, you’ll be able to click links and go listen to Katie, I just have to say that I I’ve met you for a very short period of time. And it was almost like an instant connection that I felt like you like got me like you figured you understood me and I and you could hear me and that kind of thing. And I think we as practitioners need to get that voice out there. And if you do want to be someone who wants to get on the stage, and you want to, you know, teach and speak and write and be part of the community educational program, which is really what we’re all there to do, especially the online presence, let people find you people need to find you. You want them to hear your voice. And so Katie is a phenomenal human being number one, and number two, just she’s got it figured out. And I think you know, definitely take a look. Get on a call with Katie and see how she can help you improve that online presence in your voice. So Katie, I just want to thank you so much. Like I said, I really enjoy just interacting with you at any time. And if there’s anything we could do, we’ll probably have you back cause I want to hear more about how are your obviously your clients, we don’t know who they are, but what are they doing over the next six months or so and so we’ll we’ll definitely have you back on the show. So any last words you want to leave with people?
Well, I just wanted to say thanks for listening to this episode and you could have been doing anything with your time and you chose to spend 25 minutes hanging out with us so I really appreciate you.
Awesome, Katie, thank you so much. And we’ll be seeing everybody again on the DM Disruption next time from Dawn Brolin from Windham, Connecticut, everyone have a great rest of your day. Thanks so much!
Listen to the episode here!
Scott Cytron of Cytron and Company sits down with Dawn Brolin to chat about how he went from struggling to find work as a writer shortly after college, to now owning a successful PR company that’s been in business for over 26 years. Listen now to find out how Scott finds motivation, how important networking is for your business, and how doing what you love can bring you more joy in both your professional and personal life.
Scott Cytron discusses his early beginnings as a Journalism major at the University of Missouri, and how he struggled to find work shortly after graduating. Scott talks about how difficult the job market was at the time, and how even after countless interviews, he was not finding any work. He then started working as a volunteer writer for United Way, and how even though he was not making any money, this allowed him to gain the networking skills that he would use in the future. Because of his work with United Way, he eventually landed a job with the American Red Cross.
“And yeah, I mean, it was like, joke pay, but it was a job and I was glad to have it.” Scott says in reference to how much he made at his first job.
Scott also shares how he found his way into the accounting industry; he was recruited for a position at the Texas Society of CPAs, a position he held for 9 years.
Being Laid off and Starting His Own Company
Scott shares that he was laid off from his position, and talks about the grief he struggled with following the lay off.
Shortly thereafter, he was contacted by a few vendors he worked with while he was at the CPA society. He was asked to teach the sales people how non-profits thought and operated so they could sell more affinity cards. With Scott’s experience working with nonprofits, this ended up being a great gig for him, and with more vendors starting to contact him, this eventually led him to start his own business.
Importance of Networking
Scott then shares how important networking was when he started his business.
“And one thing led to another and I networked. I really, I let absolutely everybody I know, I told everybody, I know what I wanted to do, and what I was doing.” Scott shares.
Dawn agrees and says networking is key when trying to gain clients and being “loud and proud” about what you do will help you reach more people who are in need of your services.
Scott also shares how as a business owner or accounting professional, you can always be doing something to increase your reach with new clients. He encourages people to take their clients out to lunch, schedule “coffee talks,” and how developing these relationships can lead to not only more work in general, but meaningful work as well.
Keeping The Client and Yourself Happy
Scott and Dawn also share how important it is to maintain a good relationship with your clients, and while it’s important to make them happy, it’s also important that they make you happy.
“And I at this point, if I’m not having fun, or Brian isn’t having fun working…I’d rather go do something else. Yeah, because life is too short,” shares Scott.
Scott then shares about how important it is to maintain integrity and honesty with your clients, and says,
“My best day is when a client will call me up… and say, ‘I’ve got a problem. Can you help me fix it?’ Because to me that says you totally believe in my integrity.”
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Dawn Brolin 0:05
Hi, I’m Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals.
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If you know anything about writing articles or information about accounting Scott’s your guy, he just that’s what you do. Scott, you write and you do amazing things. So hey, everybody, welcome to the DM Disruption. I’m here today, really excited about our guest today, Scott Cytron. He is an amazing writer, he puts the junky words that I throw to him. And he makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about. And so I love working with Scott and work with him for a long time if you know, he writes, you know, all of the Intuit articles, but he does so much more than that. And we’re going to get into that today. So Scott, thank you so much for coming on today.
Scott Cytron 2:28
Well, thanks for having me.
Dawn Brolin 2:30
You know, I thought about this when I saw you on the schedule, and I said, we don’t know anything about Scott. He’s like in the background all the time doing writing and stuff like that. It’s just your articles, and your information is so phenomenal. But we don’t know about Scott himself. And so I was like, we’re gonna get to know Scott on this episode of the podcast today because I think that, like it’s so much more cool to read an article when you learn a little bit about the guy who’s right now. Right So, Scott, we’re gonna talk about your history in the marketing world, where you came from, where you were motivated in a certain way to get yourself to go out and start your own prep your own business and for writing so tell us who you are. What do you do what’s going on? You got a fractured foot what else is happening? Yeah, I
Scott Cytron 3:19
Yeah I have a fractured foot, yeah, that’s been a lot of fun or not. Yeah, and I’m usually used to you know, being really active like exercising and and you know, not not running but like doing your swimming and walking and all that and it’s been it’s been a journey but I got out of the booth this morning. So life is good. Finally out of the blue so now…
Dawn Brolin 3:43
You can itch, well the boot you could take off to itch, but…
Scott Cytron 3:47
Yeah, yeah, at least I didn’t have a cast that’s for sure. No, I It’s interesting career if he would said to me years and years ago when I started my career that I was going to be doing this I would have absolutely laughed in your face because I was like what is that I don’t even know what the heck that is. You know I I went to journalism school actually have a journalism degree from University of Missouri which is still the number one top school in the nation for journalism and ere we go numbers and football sucks though the basketball student okay but football is not great. Yeah, but I you know, I knew I always wanted to write I was a very good writer in high school. I loved writing you know, the remember the old blue books I don’t know if the students still right in blue books or not. They probably type it online now like for…
Dawn Brolin 4:37
Well, are they blue? Are they the black with the white? They look like cows.
Scott Cytron 4:40
I could if if right took a class and the professor said, I need you to write a, fill up your blue book about this topic. I can actually sit down there and write extemporaneously for hours about that topic, which was, I thought a real gift that I had, I didn’t know anything about anything else. I knew how to write. So I pursued journalism and graduated with a degree and a Bachelor of journalism with a specialty in magazine. And I was going to be a magazine editor when I graduated, okay. And I decided I want to eat. So, because eating is a good thing. So, I went to where I actually went into PR and kind of stumbled into it. I mean, they had one PR class at Missouri. And it was like this joke class, like you took it, if you couldn’t make it at anything else, this was way back. And now, you know, of course, it’s a very respected thing. But back then, you know, I, I had this, my mother refer refer to that as my interview suit, I had this blue pinstripe suit, that it was on and off my body three times a day. And of course, I could never gang the interviews. They were like back to back. They were always like, early morning, get home, take the suit off, put it back on, go back out. I was getting lots of interviews, but no bites. Because the job market this was, I’m telling you, it was the early 80s. The job market was pretty tight. All over was tied, and couldn’t find a job. And so I was active in a communicators organization at the time, which is still around. It’s an international group. And I went to a couple meetings and met this man he was with he worked for the United Way. And he said to me, why don’t you come see me United Way their office was downtown. He said, Are you interested in doing some volunteer work? I was like, Well, yeah, I got nothing else going on. He said, This could lead to something if you came and like showed your face got to know some people. In other words, network when I didn’t, you know, you’re not taugh in College how to network. I mean, nobody says, you know, this is what you need to do to find a job. And sure enough, I went down and volunteered my time writing articles for some of the agencies that belong to United Way and my mother and father, thought I was absolutely nuts. I mean, they were like, Why are you spending your time volunteering, when you should be out interviewing. It’s like, well, this is what I’m doing. So shut up. This is what I’ve got going on. Sure enough, it led to my first job, which was with the American Red Cross, they, the fellow I worked with the United Way knew there was an opening. And he said, go interview. Here’s the name of the number of the person need to call, got the job. And I was there about a year and thought, Well, okay, this is interesting. I was making $12,000 a year. Oh, wow. Wait a minute. Now, it turned out after taxes to be $765 a month. That was 300. And whatever it was $332 a check. And I would sit there all the time going. Okay, this is how much I have coming in. These are my bills. Do I really have enough to pay my bills? And yeah, I mean, it was like, joke pay, but job and I was glad to have it. And that led to some other things. So basically, basically, I I stayed in PR, I studied nonprofit PR and went from there. Actually, I went from there to an agency that recruited me fly knew we had a PR agency. He said, Why don’t you come work with us. I was there about a year and a half decided, okay, the PR world is I guess it’s for me, I’m going to stick with this. But I really wanted to do content. I really wanted to do more content. I was doing a lot of press releases, I was doing a lot of media contact. But I really enjoyed writing. So I was kind of the writer in the agency was a small agency at the time. Now it’s still around much larger. But I actually went back in a nonprofit, which was kind of unheard of I went back and worked for big brothers and sisters, and learned about it because I was in charge of fundraising. And really wanted to learn how to raise money in a nonprofit, and eventually led actually to a position a United Way. And from there I was recruited with from a woman who used to work there to the Texas Society of CPAs. So that’s how, when people say, “What’s your accounting background?” Well, I worked there for nine years. And I was head of all the internal communications the member communications, membership programs and learned just a heck of a lot about a lot of stuff and met some really great people. I liaised like I was head of the volunteer groups for the map, which was you know, management and accounting practice. Yeah. So they were all the public practitioner, and I still actually keep in touch with a few of those people.
Dawn Brolin 9:42
Oh, that’s cool.
Scott Cytron 9:43
Yeah. So I was. I was there for about nine years and then I was the one that thought I’d never be laid off. I was like, my job is solid. Hey, look at me. I’m tougher than this. I got laid off. laid off because that was one of the higher salaries and they said, you know, we love you, but we don’t want you anymore. And I, I cried.
Dawn Brolin 10:08
Scott Cytron 10:09
I cried for a couple weeks. It was right when Rosie O’Donnell Show was on the afternoon, like when she was starting her show, so I can see all the Rosie O’Donnell Show.
Dawn Brolin 10:17
Scott Cytron 10:19
My son was five at the time. And I, you know, like I had to do something to earn money. And they gave me a little bit of severance they gave me they like they placed me with one of those agencies, which where they teach you how to find a job, rewrite your resume. I did all that. But what happened to me was, you talk about inspiration about being motivated.
Dawn Brolin 10:42
Scott Cytron 10:42
What happened was, I was contacted by a couple of vendors that I worked with while I was at the CPA society, because I headed up the member affinity program, which was the program like the credit card program for the members, the banking, the mortgage brokers, all the member benefits. I was contacted by this company, that was the financial arm of MBNA, America, which is now Bank of America more Bank of America years ago. They were interested in getting into the AICPA to switch them from first USA to MBNA. America, okay, they knew that I people involved, but trying to make this long story shorter, they brought me up to Boston once a week for six months. And they want me to teach the salespeople how nonprofits thought and operated. So they can sell more affinity car. So it was kind of the sweet little gig that I started out with, I was like, Well, if I can do this, maybe I can continue to do my own thing. And I got a call from another vendor I used to work with, I’m the one that set up the original website for the CPA society. So I got called by that company which was out of Seattle. And then one thing led to another. And I ended up really trying to make a go of it. I thought, well, that was in like November. And I thought if I could just be busy through the spring and just pay bills. Yeah, I’ll give the no and I always wanted to start my own thing I really did. I actually had a dream because I worked so much a nonprofit to actually do an agency a PR agency, that was only nonprofit clients, and I got some real pop back. But I said, you know, you’re going to have to have a certain number of clients to make that work because nonprofits couldn’t pay as much as for profit clients. And that’s true. That’s very, very true. So I ended up going out on my own. And one thing led to another and I networked I really, I led absolutely everybody I know, I told everybody, I know what I wanted to do what I was doing. That was during the age of dial up, I know I’m dating myself, but dial up computers, I typed out my, my letters on a typewriter, I mailed them every day to people. This is what I’m doing this what I want to do, and one thing led to another and you know, now 20, almost 26 years later, I’ve still got my own business.
Dawn Brolin 13:11
You know, and I love that because I think a lot of times people will ask and you see it over on social media all the time in a lot of the various groups, and I’m gonna log the accounting groups, and you watch them, they’re like, how do I get clients? How do I, you know, grow my practice? How do I do? And it’s not any different than what you did? Really, it’s like, be loud and proud about what you do get a little more specific, right? You don’t want to be just, oh, I’m an accountant. Well, you know, what? Accounts are a lot like attorneys. There’s very different types of accounting services that are provided. Attorneys, you know, their bankruptcy attorneys or their family attorneys. Usually family attorneys aren’t doing bankruptcy at the same time. Usually, there’s different partners that are doing really focus things. That’s how you become the best. Like when you think about somebody who writes somebody that is out there in publications that is doing amazing writing, Scott Cytron’s at the top of listening accounting field period. Right. And so, and you did that, and you did that work, Scott, all yourself, man. Right. And your motivation, I think a lot of our motivation, I mean, you know, you got laid off, right at the end of the day. I’m not saying it’s bad to be an employee. That’s not what I’m saying. But you don’t hold your own fate in your own hands when you work for someone else. And if you have the drive, and the commitment, the passion, the focus, to go out there and do it. What you’re doing is exactly right. You’re out there you’re networking, you’re letting people know loud and proud this is what I’m doing. And one thing leads to another Oh yeah, you know what, oh, you need an article written call Scott mean he’s your guy that’s so and that’s how people will start to grow their practice and that’s what you’ve done for your business, is grow up.
Scott Cytron 14:51
That’s absolutely the case. And you know, I get kind of perturbed, well, I don’t get perturbed I get pissed off. Yeah. When I hear good I hear from an accountant or bookkeeper or anybody in the profession. Oh, I just don’t have enough work. I don’t have enough business like, well, you’re not trying hard enough. My God, look at the number of companies and businesses out there. When was the last time you’d network with somebody? Oh, right now Well, COVID is going on? I can’t possibly do that. Yeah, you can. I met a pro advisor, or I guess last year who, this was brilliant, she scheduled coffee talks. And it was a 15 minute thing. Yeah, schedule a coffee talk with me. And yeah, okay. We can’t, you know, there was a long time where we couldn’t see each other in person. But you could still waste a network and waste to get the word out about what you’re doing. But I completely agree when a when a person in PR and marketing communications calls me or sends me a note and says, I need, I need some referrals I need to network with you. I understand, you know, some people, can you help me out? Like, what do you what area do you want to work in? Oh, I do everything? Well, no, that doesn’t help me because I need to know what you either niche in. I people know, for me, I niche accounting and finance. Now we have other clients outside of that. And I tried really hard over the years to diversify. I did a lot of healthcare. Like when I started, I did accounting and finance and I actually did morphed into healthcare, and did a lot of that. And then did some B2C work. I did some work for Blockbuster in Pizza Hut and some really great fun projects. But I always said like, it was like the God Father, I got pulled back in. And around the seventh or eighth year, I thought, well, okay, I just, I’m gonna stick with this, but was with accounting and finance. But I still want to try to find gigs outside of that. And we do we have some, but you know, there’s a group of interesting, there’s a, there’s like a handful of us across the nation. That niche in this area, and we all know each other, and we actually exchange work.
Dawn Brolin 16:55
Scott Cytron 16:56
Which is great. You know, if you know, Betty can’t do something, she’ll say, Scott, can you pick this up, or, you know, whatever it is, or they’ll refer what we’ve heard each other. And that’s what makes it really fun. You know, so no, we trust each other enough to get the job done. But we’re also great to work with, you know, we love we love what we do.
Dawn Brolin 17:15
Yeah, and that’s important. I mean you could to do for the rest of your life, basically, You should probably find, I was telling kids you’re like I work with, you know, I teach at the local university, I’m not right now because of the book. And I’ve got too much going on. So I’m not doing it this semester. But it’s like, I try to tell the kids like, listen, you’re going to work for forever, okay? So I encourage you, number one, find something that you’re good at, but you’ve got to enjoy it, because it’s a long road, there’s gonna be ups and downs, and sideways and backwards and all this stuff. And you’ve got to be able to get up every single morning and know why you’re doing it. And remembering that you do love it. And, you know, I want to switch a little bit of gears in that conversation about the industry right now. Now, you obviously you see it from a 30,000 foot view, and sometimes a 10,000 foot view, you know, you’re you can sometimes just have a broad conversation or write an article that’s a little bit more general in nature, or you may jump into some more deeper scenarios. So are you You know, as far as the practitioners out there, are you seeing what I’m seeing in this really tough 18 months, almost coming on two years now of, of really, in the accounting industry, specifically, where people are just struggling. I you know, and I don’t know about you, but I think sometimes it’s the people who don’t have systems and processes in place, that are able to handle either volume, or like we were talking about just being able to do that coffee time, coffee talk and just being able to, like, you’re gonna have to bring yourself into this into this timeframe of technology, I think is maybe one day is right.
Scott Cytron 18:45
I think that’s absolutely right. And yeah, yeah, you know, when you own your own business, you’re your own helpdesk. Yes. Your own IT , support your own helpdesk. Yeah, I think what’s interesting about about that kind of conversation about accountants and bookkeepers, networking is, most of the ones I know, you definitely excluded. You’re not in this camp at all. They’re afraid to ask for referral. They’re afraid to ask their clients for referral. I had this one client who was a Sage provider, they did manage services through Sage, and they had a very successful business. And they were like, well, we don’t seem to be getting any new business. I said, well, I said to the owner because I work directly with the owner. But when was the last time, this is why before COVID, I said, When was the last time you took a client to lunch? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t you know, I don’t really do that. Or do you go to lunch every day, knowing that he did? Well, yes. I said, so why don’t why don’t you take your best clients to lunch, make a rule that you don’t talk about busniess, and but you talk about not, not your business, but just business in general? How you can help each other out? Oh, I don’t have time for that. Right? But you go to lunch every day. He goes I get your point. But he said I’m not going to go do that. I’m like Why are you so afraid to ask a client for referral? What are you afraid they’ll say to you? You’re being too forward? I said they need referrals from you just like you need referrals from them exact. So why don’t you you’ve got a chemical company you’re representing, you’re doing the books for chances are they know other people, maybe in similar industries that are competitive, or whatever the case is, you know, ask, ask for help and helped them.
Dawn Brolin 20:29
Exactly. And, you know, I also some of the other things I think of is, you know, if I get a particular client that I’m like, Yeah, you know what, I’m not really your fit, but I know somebody who is, right, or if someone that comes to me that is predominantly Spanish speaking, I know exactly who I’m referring them to. And that’s because Mariette and Hector Garcia, you know, those guys are all out there, loud and proud about what they’re doing from a bilingual perspective. You know what, that helps me? Because, you know, I just had a client this morning even emailed me, she’s like, I’m in New Jersey, we have called, she actually a new client. She called me last week, we had a nice phone call. And this morning, she email she said, Listen, I’m from New Jersey, I had an accountant from New York, and I felt like I never could get in touch with him, or I couldn’t go to his office, blah, blah, blah. And I said to her, I said, Well, Jackie, here’s the deal, kid. Listen, if you want somebody local, just say the word. I’m sure I can find you somebody in New Jersey, that would love to be working with you, whatever. I said, but listen, at the end of the day, I’ve got Tracy in my office, who you if you call our office, if she is working with she, you know, sometimes she goes on vacation whenever she’s really kind of part time. If If she calls you she doesn’t answer that phone call, I promise you within 24 hours, you will get a call back, because that’s just the way she rolls, right? And so what I said to her, I said, Hey, if you want some from New Jersey, I’m happy to refer you like, I want what’s best for the client. Because it’s like happy wife happy life. It’s happy client happy business. Like, you know, I don’t want upset clients. I don’t want those people. So if I feel like, you know, this isn’t a fit for me, you know.
Scott Cytron 22:05
But you know, at the same time, like I’ve had cases, like locally, I’ll give you an example. I worked with a financial management company here. For we worked together 12 years. And the owner was a heck of a nice guy, the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. If you said, Bill, give me the shirt off your back, he would take it off and give it to you. I was at his wedding. I mean, that’s how that’s what a great relationship. Yeah, I know. That’s what a great relationship, we had. This PR I did his newsletter articles, whatever. And, but he could not make a decision to save his life, he could not make a decision. He managed, he wouldn’t work with anybody unless they had more than $2 million in assets. I mean, that was his sea level practice. So when he was very good at it, but he couldn’t make a decision. And I finally, you know, like, probably the fifth or sixth year like this is all like this is not working? Well, I really tried to resign twice. He kept throwing more money at me. And I was like, okay, well, I guess I’ll continue. And finally, the third time I just said, Bill, you’ve got to go find this somewhere else. I said, I’m sorry. But why would you pay me? You know, like, he was a happy client. But sure, I wasn’t happy working with him, because I didn’t feel like I was helping him. You know, and I feel like in the, in the accounting profession is kind of the same thing. Why would you continue working with a client, you don’t think you’re helping just to make the money? You know, and, and to me, it’s the whole story. It’s the whole advisory services conversation that some accountants still cannot wrap their arms around, they cannot figure out like, oh, you know, they can look at the tax return and figure out that they have stocks, they have other assets they have. I don’t, you could look the return. I don’t know, you know, I’m not a tax guy. But I know how to do that. And to have that conversation with your client, I don’t know if they’re afraid that the client will leave them because it’s going to cost them more money. But you know, if I had a client that I knew, had this issue, I would certainly bring it up. And that’s where you make your clients happy. Like you want to, but we do in PR we say we anticipate what you’re going to need before you need it. That’s that’s the whole crux in a nutshell is we want to make we want we want to know what you need before you realize you need it. And that’s that’s where we have happy clients and communications with clients is key like they you know, the worst thing I would want to happen at the end of the month is for them to get my invoice and say what did he do for that? Well, no, that never happened. Because we’re constantly in touch. We’re constantly you know, doing stuff back and forth. They know exactly what’s going on. So…
Dawn Brolin 24:56
I love that conversation about like you’re saying like keeping a client, like you were saying that just because you’re you’re making money from them. And that’s great. Sometimes it isn’t the best fit I, we had a client just here in the last few months he had whatever issues he had, and we just it was the last straw, we were making a lot of money. It was a great project, it was a fun project. But we were just, we just got to the point where we’re gonna keep this guy, we’re gonna actually be able to intercept this audit was a criminal audit, we had all the i’s dotted T’s crossed, he had his record keeping was terrible, his prior account just really did a major disservice. So we were going to go after the, ENO, for that, like, we had this whole plan, but he just became like, he was mean. And a girl on my staff was kind of mostly dealing with them. And, you know, she called me at one point, she’s pretty tough. And she was like, I just don’t know if I can handle this anymore. I said, then that’s the end of it, we’re done. And so I fired the client, I was like, I don’t need to, I don’t want to make money off those people. And then on the other flip side, I have one of my best friend’s real really great, another couple that my husband I’ve been friends with were that the God daughters, one of his godparents, and one of his daughters. Just we love Him. And so what we he owns his own security system business. And we would chase him and chase and chase him for information. And it was like, just became painful. So finally, his kid, actually my goddaughter graduated from college with an accounting degree. And I said, Kyle, your daughter is doing your accounting she’s doing all your sales tax returns, go figure out your tax return, because we’re done. Like, it wasn’t even it was about just, this isn’t worth it. And you know, we’re friends, and I would love to help my friends, but not at my, you know, at my cost, if you will, of having to chase them constantly. And you know, at that point, where’s the value anyway? There isn’t any.
Scott Cytron 26:42
The one thing, the one thing I dread is firing clients, and I’ve had to do it. Luckily, I’ve never been fired by a client. But I’ve had a power plant. And I mean, the financial planners, one example. But you know, there have been other examples. And I at this point, if I’m not having fun, or Brian isn’t having fun working, you know, working on this, my son works with me, as you know, if we’re not having fun. I’d rather go flip burgers at the Burger King. Well, hopefully not there. But you know what I mean? I do, I’d rather go do something else. Yeah, because life is too short. And, you know, when a client gets ornery with me, or starts questioning my integrity, we can have a conversation about absolutely, I’ve got a very thick skin. But you know, at the end of the day, is this really worth it? And it’s it’s a tough thing, because, you know, I mean, when I first started my business, it was absolutely all about the money. I had to make money. I mean, let’s just face it, I had to do it. And then on the seventh, eighth, ninth year, I was like, okay, it’s less about the money and more about the quality of the work. Unfortunately, I’m not…
Dawn Brolin 27:53
Scott Cytron 27:53
Yeah, it’s now all about the work. And I, you know, I feel like the the pay is going to be there, the money is going to be there, hopefully. And will last I’ve been very fortunate people have been incredibly kind to me, over the years and generous. And, you know, I know we work hard for what we do. But at the same time, I never, never think that something’s an absolute, I absolutely am grateful for everything we get. But sometimes you have to fire a client and that’s not easy. I always feel like, Oh, my God, this whole door is going to shut and not open. And the moment you do it, you know, as a business owner, like this weight comes off of you. And a window opens and something else happens. It always works like that. I don’t know why, I don’t know if that’s fate, I don’t know what it is. But it’s just weird.
Dawn Brolin 28:41
Well, and I think one of the things that I want to Well, this is going to be the kind of the last week well, we usually go 25 minutes or so. So we’ll but I want to finish with this part. Because you know, you submitted we always have people submit to us some information so that I don’t, you know, ask you questions that make no sense to you. But the I think the most impressive thing that I read about kind of your art are written conversation about what you do, why you do it, what you’re motivated for, and what makes you happy. And the number one word that I that just pulls right out is honesty. And I think at the end of the day, if you can be honest with yourself, and be able to say, and there are situations where I’ve seen practitioners work, and it’s garbage. I’ve seen it. I’m like, How is this client paying $65,000 in self employment tax? Why are they not an S-Corp? Like, I look at this stuff, and I’m like, I wonder because I don’t know, how do you look in the mirror or send an invoice to a client and take their money when you did such bad work? Now I will say for myself even if I make mistakes or I you know I dropped the ball on something. It will not cost the client anything because that’s my integrity, my ethics and my honesty that I know I jacked it up. It’s my fault. And so I don’t feel comfortable and I can’t sleep at night, if I know that I’ve done dishonest, right. And so I know honesty for you is one of your biggest things. And I agree with you and you can’t look yourself in the mirror. Or you know, what’s worse is if you can, and you’re being dishonest, that’s even worse. But tell tell me about that honesty thing, because I really, that really spoke to me.
Scott Cytron 30:21
Well, I just feel like you have to be genuine. I mean, you can’t, people are gonna play games are going to play games until the world is over, which hopefully, isn’t anytime soon. But you have to have integrity and honesty. And I think along with incomes trust. And I will tell you, you know, I always ask I ask a client two things. I asked them if they’d rather be rich or famous. Because I don’t whenever I have a new client, I say what would you rather be rich or famous? Or what do you mean? What do you mean by that? I said, Okay, if you want to be rich, it’s all about PR is all about getting your company’s name in the paper. If you want to be famous, it’s about getting your name in the paper, or the media, whatever it is, but that’s always a good question. The second is, you know, just you want to at the end of the day, you want to absolutely be honest with what you’re doing. I have done crisis communications in my time, and which, which is basically if a client was imperil, for some reason, let’s say they had somebody on their staff that embezzled money or somebody went to jail, or there was really a big problem like that, I’ve done that kind of work. I now outsource that, like if I have a client that has that, because there are people to do a way better than me. But I always say what, at the end of the day, my best day, I always say what is your best day? Like? What makes you the happiest? What is your best day? My best day is when a client will call me up. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a client will call me up and say, I’ve got a problem. Can you help me fix it? Because to me that says you totally believe in my integrity. Now, you may not always take my advice, which is your deal, you know, and I’ll never tell somebody their baby’s ugly outright, probably sandwich that in something. But I always tell by clinets by saying, you know, and if you don’t feel like you’re going down a rabbit hole with something? I’ll let you know. Because why would you want to hear me say, oh, everything’s great. I want to be a yes, man. You know, what good does that do? Anybody? You know, we’ve had several recently, you know, like, with COVID, going on, we’ve had a couple of instances. And I’ll give them my opinion about what I feel like they should be doing and whether they again, whether they choose to follow it or not as their deal. I can’t control that narrative. But I know for my off, yeah, I can look in the mirror every day and say I really did the best I could.
Dawn Brolin 32:47
Yeah, and I think that that’s, you know, it’s that’s an amazing message. And I guess that would for me, that is what when I read the the information that you had sent over, and I’m just like, every bit of what it sounded like in what you wrote, and what you sent over was definitely coming from your heart. And you can, you can read the honesty, you know what I’m saying? And I think this episode is about honesty and integrity. And if you can be honest with yourself, and you have an integrity, things will always work out for you. Because you are being asked, like you said, is it fate? What is it when you close that door? And then another one, probably for open? In some cases? Right? And I think that comes down to at the end of the day that that ability to have that honesty, integrity, you’re trustworthy. People are comfortable around you because you, you know, you’re not sugarcoating things you’re telling them. And like you said, Let him take the information in and do what they wish with it. But you always know you’re giving the people I mean, you know, as an accountant, people always say, Well, what do you think? Can’t I you know, what if I did this, and can I do that? And I’m like, Okay, listen, I’m going to tell you what you should be doing. And then you’re going to go ahead and do it or you won’t do it. You know, Oh, should I go and buy this truck at year end, because I just want to reduce my expenses? I think that’s stupid. I think that that would do really need that. Like you need it. Like I’m always very open with them. Not gonna, I’m not gonna Yes, sir. them and be like, oh, yeah, that’d be awesome. We’ll get yourself a truck like, and you know, you’re on the phone. And you’re like, I just got to tell you, I just don’t think that’s the right answer. It could have been, it would be very easy to go. Oh, yeah, go and get it. No problem. We’ll just make sure you send me the paperwork, so I can get it into your books. Like, that’s too easy.
Scott Cytron 34:29
I love that.
Dawn Brolin 34:29
Right? And it’s like, I got to have that conversation with them.
Scott Cytron 34:34
Don’t you wish that they would teach this at school? Don’t you wish they would teach you something like, like, from an early age? Even like preschool. And I don’t know that they do. It’s been years since my son was in school, but I you know, I just don’t know. If it’s if that’s something that’s being taught. I you know, I’m afraid that’s probably not. I
Dawn Brolin 34:54
I mean, to think about, like a course on decision making. Yeah, right. Right. Like okay, you, we’re giving you information and you read the and then you interpret the information, and then you use it or lose it. And teaching them how to work through that would be really awesome. Maybe we can get, you know, they’re doing education reform, if we can slip that in somehow..
Scott Cytron 35:13
I’ll get it on the agenda, how’s that?
Dawn Brolin 35:17
On the agenda! Well, Scott Cytron. I really, I’m and I’m being as genuine as I am always very honest and open. And I wouldn’t say these boastful things about people if I didn’t believe them, but I’ve really appreciated you. You’ve helped me in my career tremendously. Just through the work we’ve done with Intuit, of course, with writing and different things that we’ve been doing. And I just want to thank you, from my side of the industry from from being the accounting side, you know, you’re you’re out there giving us the information that we need to make those good decisions. And I don’t know if anyone thanks you for that, you know, a check isn’t thanks enough for you. But I just personally have appreciation for what you’ve done for me. So I want to thank you for that.
Scott Cytron 35:55
That’s really, really good night. Like, that means more to me than I can tell you. Thank you.
Dawn Brolin 36:00
Oh, Scott. I mean, we really go way back, man, we really do. And, and I wouldn’t, you know, I want to have you on again, I’d love to talk more. You know, this, the DM Disruptions about just where I’m trying to disrupt the industry in a positive way. Right? So helping people to take like you’re saying, take the information on what you shouldn’t shouldn’t be doing as a practitioner, and interpreting it, but not just sitting there and thinking about it, but doing something about it. We want people to do things, right, we got Scaling New Heights coming up, don’t just go to a conference or watch a webinar to just be present. You know, just be there as a human. Be there with purpose. And then take whatever you learn, even if it’s just one thing, and make a change in your day in your life, and I promise you, your practice will change. And that’s what we’re trying to do. So, Scott, you’ve been awesome, and I appreciate you. And I’ll be looking for you if you’re if I see you as Scaling and be out the ball. I know you’ll be the slowest guy walking, but I’ll be able to find you I’m sure!
Scott Cytron 36:58
Thank you, I will.
Dawn Brolin 37:01
You take care and say hi to your son for me because I do remember meeting him I think it was at QuickBooks Connect event we sat together towards the front I think but I do remember him and I wish you the best and I know, I know We’ll be talking again soon.
Scott Cytron 37:14
Sounds good. Thank you!
Dawn Brolin 37:16
All right. Thanks everybody for listening to DM Disruption Dawn Brolin here with my man Scott Cytron love him. This episode is sponsored by ADP my favorite payroll processing company you know why cuz I don’t like process payroll. So Amen. For ADP. I just have to say that. Scott again. Thank you so much. You’re wonderful, and we’ll talk again soon. Sounds good. Thank you. Alright, take care. Bye. Bye, everybody.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai