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The ACD Blog > The Background Story Of A Now Successful CPA

It is easier to become intimidated when meeting professionals including physicians, attorneys and CPA’s. People can become uncomfortable because a CPA sees all the details of their finances. It is imperative a professional establishes a good bedside manner, and is able to understand, listen and emphasize with their clients.

The Bedside Manner

I have always had the ability to connect to people, and I am naturally empathic. As a CPA, I knew I was in the right profession once I started meeting with my clients. I discovered my technical skills enabled me to help real people with their financial issues. My clients adored me, and this gave me the ability to provide my existing clients with additional services. This was what prompted me to start my own practice.

Business Owners

When I began my practice, I had no clients, staff, or office, and my funds were limited. I wanted to develop the perfect firm, and this meant making my clients my number one priority. I used my network to the best of my ability, began volunteering to write and speak, and the clients began to come. I took the time to know them, their financial situations, and discern what services they required. We soon became friends, and I made concessions regarding my fees and numerous urgent requests. I cared about my clients so I extended payment terms, decreased my fees and offered little extras to my friends. I received referrals to family and friends and became successful.

The Nights and Weekends

The growth of my business meant I was working nights and weekends, and soon I was overwhelmed. I was having difficulty making my deadlines, and the additional hours were not helping my productivity. I required help, yet I was barely making enough to pay my bills, and often fell short. I could not afford to hire a staff.

The Awakening

I finally realized the pattern I had set was not working and must change. Since I was not working for a firm, there were no rules for me to adhere to and I had made mistakes. I was providing clients with ridiculous discounts, working for free and delaying payments. Although my clients had never asked for concessions, without firm rules in place I had made them anyway. I found the courage to say no, and stay friends with my clients.

The Monster

My desire for success had created a monster. I had clients not due to my concessions, but because I did my job well. They were willing to pay my fees because they wanted me to be successful, and knew I was worth the money. I sharpened my focus, lost some clients, and set new rules I knew I could not break. This was when my life began to change. I experienced some hard months but I knew I had made a good decision. Although I did lose some friends, I had peace of mind, my time back, and the remainder of my clients respected me for finding courage to tell them no.

About the author

Gary M. Kaplan, MAcc, MST, C.P.A.

Gary Kaplan

Gary Kaplan’s desire for excellence shows in his training, experience and service he provides as a top rated Boca Raton Accountant. He completed his undergraduate degree at Nova Southeastern University. He went on to earn both his Masters in Accounting at Nova Southeastern University and his Masters in the Science of Taxation at Florida International University. Gary has been practicing as a Certified Public Accountant since 1997, attaining his expertise in all aspects of accounting, business and personal tax and strategic planning. He listens to each client and helps them achieve their own, unique goals. Gary values educating others and giving back to his community: he has served as an Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Florida Atlantic University, and gives accounting presentations at St. Thomas University School of Law. In 2013, Gary Kaplan received his certification for retirement planning and is now a Certified Specialist in Retirement Planning™ (CSRP).

Gary is licensed to practice in Florida, Maryland, Utah, New York and Washington D.C. He has gained a reputation as a professional who provides quality work, value and personal attention to his clients.