After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1982, I spent the next decade in private industry, working as an internal auditor for a Fortune 100 company and eventually moving up to being the loss-prevention manager. That worked out well in the beginning, but the constant travel wasn’t good for raising a family. So, with the birth of my first daughter, I joined my father’s accounting practice in Macon, Georgia. He sold me the practice in 1998, and continued to work for me as an employee.
The change did mean I was no longer spending time on the road, but it didn’t solve the problems of spending time with my family. Since I didn’t know how to manage the practice, tax seasons entailed working 80 to 100 hours per week. During the off season, I would find myself heading into the office on Saturday mornings to catch up on what I couldn’t get done during the rest of the week. When I did go home, I would take worries and stress home with me. Despite all the hours I worked, the practice wasn’t succeeding. I had a hard time retaining staff and getting the ones I did have to do their jobs. Each year the income was dropping, but I felt I was too overworked to take on new clients.
In the fall of 2006, I received a letter from Sterling and sent off for their free DVD. The DVD was intriguing and, after speaking to some of their clients, I decided to give the program a try. The initial training was excellent. Even better was the assistance I have gotten from my Sterling consultant. She has worked with so many CPAs, has seen the same problems over and over, and knows what works and what doesn’t work.
The results were immediate. Within six months the practice had completely turned around. I had organized the place so that the work gets done efficiently. I had learned how to hire and retain high-quality employees. I was now able to get the compensation I deserve for the work I produce. Within two years the revenue, which had been declining, had grown by 20%. It is continuing to grow this year, unhindered by what is happening in the broader economy. The long-term benefits greatly exceed the cost of the program.
The best part, though, is that it has freed up my time. My daughters are now 11 and 15, and the teenage years go by fast. I don’t want to regret later not having spent enough time with them. Although the production in the office is way up, I have cut my tax season hours down to just 50 hours per week. During the rest of the year, not only am I not working Saturdays any more, but I am closing the office on Friday afternoons. The staff love the reduced schedule and it gives me longer weekends to go on trips with the family or visit with friends.
The University of Georgia taught me the basics of accounting, but it didn’t teach me how to run an accounting firm. That is where Sterling comes in. They know the tried and true rules of how to run a successful CPA firm. Doing the Sterling program improves both work and home life.
Take a look at Sterling for yourself and request their complimentary DVD .
Randy Brittain, CPA