Failing Forward: How One CPA Found Success in Tax Entrepreneurship

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Chris Picciurro: [00:00:00] Unfortunately, we've been doing some research for a presentation we're doing. Only 25 states require someone to even take a finance or economics course to even graduate from high school. So that's a problem. So the so we have a we don't even know how to be taught to be entrepreneurs, let alone the tech stuff and even the CPA exam. Nowhere in the CPA exam do they test you on actual tax planning and strategy. It's just do you know this information?

Heidi Henderson: [00:00:26] This podcast is sponsored by Engineered Tax Services, a subsidiary of Engineered Advisory, whose goal is to support CPAs and their clients to achieve the highest and best use of time and resources. Ets offers specialty tax services and incentives which help expand your capabilities and ensure that your clients are paying only what is required in taxes and nothing more. To learn more about Engineered Tax services, go to Engineered Tax and mention the healthy wealthy and Wise podcast to receive project discounts and a free CPA partnership book. Hi, everyone. This is Heidi Henderson and you are listening to the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise podcast for accountants. I am really passionate about people and the industry, and I truly believe that the accounting industry can do better for both our clients and it's professionals. So I'm going to share insights from people who have found professional success and who have managed to balance that with their physical, mental and personal health. So I hope you enjoy and I hope you get inspired. Accountants can earn free CPE From listening to this episode, just visit Earmark cpcomm. Download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. And now on to the episode. Hi everyone. Welcome to today's podcast. Today This is fun. This is I think this is fun every day, but I'm excited. Today we are with Chris Piquero and Chris, your bio. I was looking at the bio. I'm like, it just goes on and on and I'm so excited to hear about what you mean, how you've built your career, your practice, and then really the trajectory and evolution of where you're going with it because it's so unique and outside the box you and I met because I was on your podcast, by the way, which will share the name of that and talk more about it.

Heidi Henderson: [00:02:32] And it was very dynamic. I loved how you have your cohort that is on the podcast with you. It was really fun and energetic little bit about Chris for the listeners, so they have some background as you are CPE with many other designations, professional designations, you formed your own CPA firm, Integrated Group and have run that successfully for it looks like the last 20 years a public accountant designation which is personal financial specialist. You are an accredited retirement advisor and adjunct instructor at Davenport University, also with Baker's College. You've obviously presented in Spoken in many different platforms across the country, both looks like industry as well as tax all over and rewards for that. And then sitting in a number of different boards, like I say, could continue to go on. But I think that that helps listeners really understand. I think the biggest thing is that you have not just jumped into the public accounting space, but that you literally just took it by storm in terms of saying, Look, I'm going to dive in and I want to be able to bring everything I can to the table. So thank you. First off, so much for joining today. Can't wait to talk to you and learn more about what you're doing.

Chris Picciurro: [00:03:52] Well, thank you so much for having me. It is really an honor. I'm a fan of the podcast. I love picking up tidbits like niches make riches. I heard that one this last couple of weeks. So, you know, Bald Accountants Gone Wild. It's my podcast. Um, we'll get into that later. I have run our practice for over 20 years. I appreciate you telling me. I've run it successfully for 20 years. But unfortunately, the first ten years, I wouldn't say it was unsuccessful, but we definitely failed forward a lot. It led me to the place that I'm at right now and what I feel is a calling. Um, and by the grace of God, the these winding rivers have gotten me to the place that we are not just in business, but personally and in health, both physical and mental health. And, and I'm just yeah, I'm so excited to be on this podcast. I feel like we as accountants, we do many, many times the big theme would be let our work, let our work flow is what we say in our practice. Control us, not us. Control it. And. You know, that that I just see that a lot. I see a lot of burnout. I don't see a lot of you see a little bit of multigenerational practicing, but much less than in other industries, which is kind of sad. And that tells me that that we've got to fix some things. Yep.

Heidi Henderson: [00:05:22] Yep. I couldn't agree more. And I love so many of the phrases that you said there about failing forward, which is mean so much the epitome of what we learn. I think as we age and work through life is that the failures that seem so earth ending at times really give us the greatest gifts. So I'm excited to dive into that a little bit more with you. Let's start at the beginning. Where are you from? Where do you live right now? Where were you born and raised?

Chris Picciurro: [00:05:46] I am very blessed to live in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee. For those that don't know, it's 15 miles between 15 or 20 miles south of Nashville, depending on where you live in Franklin. I have three children, 14 going to be 13 and nine. And about seven years ago, my wife and I, my wife Holly, who's a teacher, and she has a real estate license. So we we have that love for real estate. But we relocated our family here from outside of Detroit. And it wasn't just to avoid the state of Michigan income tax, though. Residency planning is one of those strategies that some people use. But it really was because I was able to arrange my workflow and with my wife being a teacher, we were just looking for that, that quality of life. And honestly, about ten years ago, maybe nine years ago, because it took a while, we really looked at the the country and we said, Where do we want to raise our kids? It's going to be a difficult decision to execute. It wasn't necessarily a difficult decision to make, but and when we fell in love with, there were certain things we were both looking for. We fell in love with this community of Franklin and very fortunate to be here. So that's where I'm that's where I am right now. And although that being said, we do have team members that in other other states in our clients are really all over the place, which helped me a lot or allowed me to be able to not be so geographically centered in Detroit where where we started the practice. And the first ten years, I really felt like I was so geographically centered and not, not industry specific as far as our practice area.

Heidi Henderson: [00:07:23] Yeah, yeah. I mean the whole remote, the ability to work remote and the changes in technology over the years. And not only that, I think people's acceptance of working under that format has changed everything. I mean, for I think all of us individually, the profession, of course they will continue to evolve the profession. But to your point, being able to choose where we live without being tied down, you know, ball and chain to a specific location. So that's really cool. And I love that area. I'm a horse person, so I love all, you know, between Kentucky and Tennessee and those areas and all the rolling and grass and it's it's so beautiful. And of course, now I live in Vegas. I'm in the desert. So I don't know how that happened.

Chris Picciurro: [00:08:05] Well, that's all right. Also, I know you're in a great well, I know you love food and and checking out all that. There's never a dull moment in Vegas with the, you know, food and drink scene. And so, yeah, it's great here We have a lot of we have a lot of horse farms here. And, you know, I would say that in one of the hacks as an accountant or a CPA that's practicing is if you can if you can niche. And that's been a great theme as far as on this podcast. You know, sometimes not living in the same geographic area as your client. There's a lot of advantages to that just because, you know, there are several, there are several. But just being able to to have the knowledge of the industry that they're in can be a huge advantage. And a lot of times, believe it or not, the clients, especially for us, we our focus is real estate and entrepreneurs. So many times our clients are pretty much the number one real estate investor in their specific city or town. The last thing they want is someone in that town knowing all of their all of their information, all of their income, all their assets.

Heidi Henderson: [00:09:16] That's okay. That's really interesting. Okay. So I want to go down this path for a second, even though I do want to want to back up and hear more about you personally, but because you opened up this little hack, I think it's really interesting that you you're looking at it and call it a hack that maybe not living in the vicinity of your clients gives you both a an advantage, but also personally, but also with your clients that I really wouldn't have thought of before. And and sort of adding to that thought before, have you respond? How do you how do you then manage the client relationship? Because that's the space where the trusted advisor. Right? So we build these client relationships. We're privy to all their financial personal information. I know the younger generations are certainly much more open and, and have more confidence in, in working remote, working with remote partners and having their stuff being sent, you know, transferred automatically or electronically. I mean, but how do you then manage that? You've got benefits to doing that, but then how do you handle those client relationships and really bonding with people when you aren't in the same area?

Chris Picciurro: [00:10:31] Mm-hmm. Couple hacks here and so one hack to understand. So really a big I mean we all know this, but first thing is communication solves all problems. That's in almost any relationship that you're in. So for our private practice and with teaching tax flow which is we're going to be talking about is also. For us, our standard is we're going to reply to any type of communication within one business day. That's and you know what that doesn't mean? That scares a lot of accountants. That doesn't mean you have to have the answer Within one business day, we had one of our members of teaching tax flow ask a question about their Social Security benefits and what to do, and if I just ignored it or we ignored that question, they would be frustrated. But what we said is, okay, let's call time out. Give me a little bit more information. Talk to me a little bit about what we call your board of directors, the people that you're working with. And let's let's create a task and let's let's figure out what you're trying to solve and come up with a great solution for you. A lot of accountants do all that, but they don't tell the client or the member that they're doing it.

Chris Picciurro: [00:11:40] So communication solves all problems. Give you an example. I'm not good with vehicles, even though I'm from Detroit. When you drop your vehicle off at the dealership or at a mechanic shop and they say, all right, well, we'll look at it by Friday. By the end of the week, they use that term end of the week and it's Tuesday. You're under the week might be Friday. But they're really the end of the week, might be Saturday, Friday, 3 p.m. rolls around. And you haven't heard anything from them. Where are you at? You assume the worst because mentally we always assume the worst when we don't know what the answer is. You call frustrated and you get someone at 3:00 pm on Friday and they say, Oh, yeah, well, we looked at it. We need, you know, it needs a part and we expect the part to be next Wednesday. So we'll have it to you next Thursday. You're not happy because now you don't have your vehicle for almost another week. But had they called you when they looked at it and said, here's a situation, we're missing a part, your your vehicle is not necessarily drivable, but we want to prepare you for that.

Chris Picciurro: [00:12:38] And here's our expectation Now all of a sudden, okay, you don't you know, at least they communicated. It's not their fault, the mechanics fault that your car is broken and that they don't have the part necessarily. So that's the thing is communication solves all problems. Yep. Another thing I learned from one of our clients that was a national football NFL player and what they talk about a lot of times is availability is your best ability. Coachability is your other best ability. So something that so the point is when you're talking about someone that's remote promise availability as far as returning those emails. But we've created we've created a service called CPE Urgent care and that clients can come in and come into a tree triage. We assess what they need and then they talk to one of our tax specialists one on one in a private setting, and those hours are set up. We do it three times a week, two hours a week. And for that, that has cut down on a lot of meetings. But it also the clients know three days a week they can pop in at their convenience and they will be seen pretty much within five minutes. Wow.

Heidi Henderson: [00:13:49] That is so okay. I've never heard of that. So that is fascinating. I think that's a pretty cool, cool idea concept. Thank you.

Chris Picciurro: [00:13:58] We've got some IP on it we're going to be in. That's part of what we're going to be really expanding out to. So it's been really cool. Yeah. And the so to manage those relationships, availability and communication, those two things are the most important because if I went into a room of 50 accounts, I have no clue who's good and who's not good and neither do, neither do do clients. And unfortunately, and I know you asked me about these personal questions, but unfortunately for a lot of taxpayers, because taxpayers, they haven't let's say they haven't shopped for a tax professional or an accountant before. They don't know what the value. They don't understand what they're shopping for. So if you can imagine, let's say you have a grandparent or a parent or an uncle that is, let's say, 78 years old and they haven't bought a refrigerator in 20 years, they're going to get sticker shock. Right. And they're going to they don't even know what they need or they don't even know how to use it. So some of the functions Jovita either for that matter.

Heidi Henderson: [00:14:59] Right? Yeah, right. I mean, that's a good point. So let's talk then about the flow of your, your. Evolving business guess or your your professional career. Because really, I think from my understanding, you started kind of standard public accounting, probably start at a firm and now we're running into this very interesting era where staffing is difficult. Everybody's got more work than they can possibly handle. We've got a whole arm of our business that has outside marketing for firms. Okay, well, that's great. But the problem is, is nobody wants any clients right now. They're going great market, fine. But you know, how much marketing do I want? Don't bring me any new leads because I don't want any new clients. So. So there's that issue. There's not enough staff to do the work. So then we're at capacity, which you mentioned. You and I were speaking earlier and you kind of mentioned that your private practice is at capacity. What have you done Now? Talk to me about where are you going? Because what you're building now is so cool and a really think it's it's stepping into the the next era.

Chris Picciurro: [00:16:07] Well, thank you. Yeah, I'm excited. I would say the first ten years of my career, I failed forward a lot. I like to say I paid a lot of tuition and. To make a long story short, I was we had a team, but essentially I was responsible for building a practice that had seven offices, 3400 clients have a staff of over 25 people. And I built it based on me running it instead of processes run it. And it it was what seems like a great thing was not a great thing. I regretfully missed the first five years of my older two children's lives. The 14 year old and going to be 13. Um, and, and it was like, what am I doing here? Um, and at that point, we started experimenting. So there's about 12 years ago, 11 years ago now with the subscription based model and kind of implemented that drew a line in the sand, implemented that, and then finally just went. All all into that. So at that point, I had the burden of, you know, of all the clients all and me not having the right processes set up. So we ended up divesting most of the practice to we had four people on the team that were very capable of having their own practice and they still are in business and taking those clients and kind of chisel it all down to build it back up to be real estate specific, membership based subscription business model focused on tax planning and strategy. So that's on the private practice. So we built that pretty much to capacity. Now we have a one tenth of the amount of clients. We have 25% of the staff and actually more revenue than we did when we had all these crazy offices and staff, really.

Heidi Henderson: [00:17:53] And that's true building processes. So is that technology, is that systems? How have you implemented that?

Chris Picciurro: [00:18:00] Yeah. So build it. So we have a few little sayings like, you know, it's a problem. So it's a, it's a problem till there's a process. Using technology is very important. And I think what happens in our industry is that accountants. The CPAs tax preparers. They get so tired of repeating the same things over and over that they get burnt out and they can't they don't understand. And I'm a little guilty of this. Why? Someone doesn't understand what they're talking about when we're talking about taxes the first time we say it. So one of the main pivots we did was we started using videos. So if someone if we get three questions, three questions from different clients that are the same, the same question three times, rather, it's a video. A video has to be created to explain the situation. A lot of accountants and CPAs run into an unfortunate situation where lenders are asking for comfort letters. I don't know if you've been familiar with that at all a little bit. What happens is the underwriter is asking for something that would that violates the AICPA code of ethics. Well, it's it puts you in a bad situation. So what we did, we recorded a video and we explained why we can't provide the exact verbiage that the underwriter wants. What can we do for them and that we're there to help them as much as possible. And we've yet to have a client not get a loan in about eight years. And hundreds and hundreds of people watch this video because we can see that's the other thing. If you write the the right software, you can see who watches the video, they can make comments on it and that sort of stuff.

Heidi Henderson: [00:19:38] So interesting. So, you know, our group has a partner track program. It's called the Partner Institute. It's a three year training program to develop staff and really teach them to be leaders and future partners in firms. And in one of the sessions, there's there's always a discussion about things like this, about innovation or how can we start to look at solving problems. I have I'm going to have so many one liners after this podcast. I'm writing them all down. So we say it's a problem until it's a process. I'm using that one. Chris That's good. We were talking in the Partner Institute about the same thing is how, how do we look at what we're doing, what is taking the majority of our time that becomes repetitive, that is keeping us from doing the proactive things that we really need to focus on. It's sort of that 8020 rule. We end up 80% of our time spent on the things that, you know, create 20% of the revenue and how do we solve that? And to your point, one of those solutions was to create videos and resources for clients to access. So we are spending endless hours answering the same questions, having the same conversation, teaching clients about certain concepts that we can put there and historically. You know, I was even a little hesitant about that because in a sense, you think, well, our relationships with our clients, the people we work with, it's a relationship we want to bond. We want to be there. We want to support them. But there's a balance where you do that to a certain point. And videos, although maybe somewhat impersonal, there's only so much time in a day. And, you know, I agree with you. I think that's a tremendous process that more people should utilize.

Chris Picciurro: [00:21:27] And I would agree, you know, with the videos, especially if they are only for your clients, which that's how we started doing our videos, then you know, everything from scheduling a meeting, logging on your portal, uploading documents electronically, signing your 88, 79 form, all that could be could be videos. And it actually helps the, the, the taxpayer and the client because they can absorb it at their pace and they're not trying to explain it to their spouse or significant other, which is now you've doubled it and now you have them bantering about. So that's the best thing was you control your workflow, don't let it control you. And I spent ten years of it controlling me. If I hadn't done that, I might have a nice hairdo. But, you know, who knows? But now we control it. And honestly, you're going to for your clients, the ones that really get it, they're going to understand that they're hiring you. They're partnering with you because of your knowledge, not because you can help them set up a client portal. Now, obviously, you need to have a team if someone gets stuck or something that they can help them out. But I mean, if you look at. Pretty much when look, if you get stuck somewhere. Heidi, you might let's say you're stuck on the side of the road and your battery lights on or something. You might call someone, but you might look at YouTube first, try to find a three minute answer and. All right. Let me just get my car. You know, something might be wrong.

Heidi Henderson: [00:22:51] So that's it's a great point. So with your practice, you've you've excuse me, you've implemented processes to give yourself more time to create that flexibility, focus on proactive things because, yes, that's ultimately the ability to grow and expand. Tell us more about some of the other innovations. I mean, first off, going to subscription based model, we're hearing more and more. A lot of firms still are like, that's impossible. We we can't do that. So we're actually before we start to talk about your other things you're building, let's actually dive into that for just a second. How difficult was that transition and how do you handle that both for yourself and then also for other firms whose first response is, That's impossible, we can't do that.

Chris Picciurro: [00:23:37] Well, it is harder to turn around an 18 wheeler than a motorcycle. So so let's say that. And I think and that's something that we're going to be really, you know, helping people with later this year, understanding that you don't have to do it all in one fell swoop. The first thing you should probably do if you're considering doing a going to a subscription model is test it out on your next five leads. Don't even worry about your legacy. Clients find someone that's going to champion this. You might be the only person in your practice and if you are, believe it or not, it's going to be easier for you to change than than a practice of 25, 30, 40 people. And yeah, we have, you know, there's basically eight steps to it. It's funny, I put together a continuing ad we've done a few times for different outfits and one of our CRM reached out and said, You know, this this subscription model is like two years ago. This sounds pretty cool. Would you teach a continuing ed for us on it? I'm like, Yeah, I guess so. And, um, but it forced me to really deep dive deep and say, well, how did I. I just did what I thought was right, but how did I do all this stuff? What were the steps? So there are eight steps, but the first one is just understanding that that's the future. If you're a larger firm, maybe find someone that believes in this and and try it for the next five clients. Don't worry about the legacy clients. The legacy clients will it'll all come out in the wash one way or another. They're either going to you're either going to. Potentially create a supper brand just for the subscription model, or you're going to make it so that the legacy clients, it's advantageous for them to move into the subscription model. That's a no. That's a lot easier said than done. But no, no, it's interesting.

Heidi Henderson: [00:25:25] I mean, it's a good concept, you know, that that it's not all or none that you don't have a choice that that it's not. Look, you you have to evolve your whole company overnight and now you're something new and billing different. It's it's good I think to think that look baby steps I did a podcast with A. You know, he calls himself coach and it was great. It's all about health and wellness and all kinds of stuff. And it was the exact same thing. It's baby steps. You literally are reading another book Evolve or Die, and it's like 1% change. All you have to do is 1% change per day. And it's interesting because then that starts to carry over to all aspects of our life. It's not just our fitness, our health. It's, you know, not our professional growth or personal development, but also in our practice, you know, we can make very small baby step changes and see how that evolves over time. So where else are you then? Evolving. So you've taken your firm to subscription model. Now you have all kinds of other things you're branching out in. Tell us about that.

Chris Picciurro: [00:26:23] So yeah, absolutely. And I would say so with the with the private practice, we did get to a certain capacity. But in my heart, I love teaching. I love helping people out. I have a passion for helping out CPAs and tax professionals. I started my practice when I was 27 and I was too young and dumb to know what I didn't know. And I'd, you know, figure out all the things that I would fail forward on. But and am also have a passion for helping taxpayers. You know, unfortunately, we've been doing some research for a presentation we're doing. Only 25 states require someone to even take a finance or economics course to even graduate from high school. So that's a problem. So the so we have a entrepreneur. We don't even know how to be taught to be entrepreneurs, let alone the tax stuff. And even the CPA exam. Nowhere in the CPA exam do they test you on actual tax planning and strategy. It's just do you know this information? So it's really we're don't want to say we're all victims, but we all are. The whole structure is set up for a lack of knowledge and education. So we're really passionate about helping the CPA and A and accounting community and also tax payers. So be our private practice. Yes, we got the capacity because we implemented this subscription based model. In the subscription based model, we focused on tax planning and strategy and to be able to scale that, we developed a proprietary tax planning and strategy which didn't have a name. We just did what we did and it worked and people were happy. So about it's kind of fits in with this. With this podcast, about five years ago, I was out for a run. I'm like, What? A lot of our clients are real estate investors. They understand cash flow. Oh, it's called let's just call our process teaching tax Law. Oh, tax. What is taxable? It doesn't exist. Well, it it's the benefit or burden of every tax decision. It's your after tax product of a decision. So just like cost segregation study, you could.

Chris Picciurro: [00:28:24] Actually, in the right situation get paid for buying a property. So there's a cash flow. It could cash flow positive and you could actually. Receive a refund. A large refund? Not to Driving the Cbus. Sorry, but that's an example of cash flow versus tax flow. And I'm like, okay, well, what are the principles of teaching tax flow? So we came up with three principles. Those are guiding lights. The point is, so that was like the special sauce. I'm like, Oh gosh. Okay. How can we get this to everyone? How can we have the person that. Bought their first rental property. They're not going to be able to pay $5,000 or more for a CPA firm that has a specialty. And even if they do the first year and we implement some strategy and they go somewhere later because they only bought one property, it doesn't work for anyone. So how can we create something that can empower people to legally and ethically reduce the tax they pay in their lifetime? Taxpayers and also accountants? How can we. Because if we're going to tell accountants, look, you should use value pricing, you should maybe go to this membership model. They they're going to want to do it, but they're going to be like, how do I do it? Because I've never done tax planning. I'm not taught. All I know is, well, tax planning, I'll just charge put something in my timesheet and call it tax planning. So that was teaching tax law was born and for most of 2022, I really worked on creating teaching tax law. Now we have a team of people that work with we call TF and we create. We decided that we have to create lessons that are five minutes or less. We call them mini lessons and to teach certain concepts. And and the cool thing is.

Speaker4: [00:30:05] Almost everything that we.

Chris Picciurro: [00:30:06] Get asked we have a mini lesson for. And now I don't have to repeat myself all the time. So teaching will officially launched the day after Thanksgiving. And it's a community. It's a community of tax payers and accountants we call strategic implementation partners like like engineer tech service, because the biggest one of the other challenges we have is that tax payers in general want a prescription before they have a diagnosis. So we have a proprietary system of diagnose, prescribe, diagnose, prescribe, and that's teaching tax law. And that's really where 80% of my time now is helping people out and and really breaking down those myths that you have to be. Have a lot of income or have a lot of assets to do tax planning.

Chris Picciurro: [00:31:02] We've done case studies where you can it can be an elementary school teacher that just graduated and the other spouse could be, you know, work at a landscaping company or something. And they could save thousands and thousands and thousands by doing one zero by putting money in their Roth 401 (K) when it gets a 403 B, instead of what everyone thinks you should be doing is putting or you're told to do putting in your 403. B program pretax. So we're doing a 12% marginal tax bracket. Should not be going tax deferred, not to get too technical, but these are the things that teaching tax flow is solving. We're kind of like. I'm not going to call us the Uber or transportation yet. But you know what? We are. We're the we're the television. Television. Remote control. Mm.

Heidi Henderson: [00:31:51] So how do you how do you, you know, how do you monetize that when we're used to looking at billable hours and we're billing time? How do you monetize that type of a structure for yourself?

Chris Picciurro: [00:32:05] Mm-hmm. So obviously, in in the private practice, which I'll set to the side, there's a subscription model. But with teaching tax flow, it's really we have a value ladder that that fits for every type of type of person. We have two main avatars. We have we have that first beginning avatar person that's getting started. Our unlimited membership is less than $100 a month for everything teaching tax flow offers, including our proprietary calculators, our community page. We have some we have some free content just just so people can understand what it is. That would be our podcast private Facebook group. Some of our stuff on social media, and then it goes all the way up to a one on one of the one on one three month tax coaching program. So it's it is a slow burn, and yes, I've had to have a very successful what we call I shouldn't say successful, but fruitful because just because you make money doesn't make you successful, but a fruitful practice to be able to take some serious steps back and launch TTF.

Heidi Henderson: [00:33:08] Right.

Chris Picciurro: [00:33:08] Really what we're finding. Is that on average I have my my notes here. So we've gotten teaching tests. So we've got people that want the self-guided that's our avatar of the beginners for every hour they they're in teaching texts. So in general, they're saving about $185 in tax per hour that they put into doing the self-guided. So their break even is about a half hour a month if their cost is $90. Now that being said, we have mini lessons. If someone's really just like, I really want to understand, I don't know any any cost segregation studies just because I don't.

Heidi Henderson: [00:33:41] Yeah.

Chris Picciurro: [00:33:43] You could take a cost segregation mini lesson for about $20 and understand it now. You'll still need help applying it. Yeah, obviously there's some revenue opportunities there with the implementation of lease strategies. So, you know, and then the average we have, we've launched teaching tax flow or urgent care, the same concept as our private practice and that those that comes with an in-person meeting plus some implementation and something like that, I think it's about $730. The average savings right now is $6,800 or for the taxpayer. And we're we're tracking this. So we're hoping we're hoping to continue to increase that, but ...

Heidi Henderson: [00:34:21] Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah. We got to talk more about that, too, because it's incredible some of the the big incredible investment opportunities and the strategies that are available at all different levels. To your point, because any more we too, we work with a lot of investors or small individuals, normal people out there with regular jobs, you know, a teacher and a contractor who bought their first rental property or they've bought their second rental property and they're growing their portfolio. And I personally have seen some of these people really start to grow their net worth. And it's it is one of the most inspiring things. One of the things I've probably enjoyed the most is helping teach someone a little bit more about real estate investing and how to use some of these strategies and watch their portfolio grow, watch them change and evolve into something, you know, a legit real estate investor or just always real estate, even a business owners are growing their business or what it may be. What are your thoughts then on? Giving all the information away. Sometimes we hear those comments that, well, then you're just giving all this information away and they're going to go somewhere else-

Chris Picciurro: [00:35:27] Right, and that's a toughie, right? Because you've got YouTube and you've got other outlets where people can can absorb information. But the key is having the community to implement that, to implement those strategies to what we have. A we have some IT copyrighted what we call our IQ test, which is a four part test identify, quantify, identify, quantify. So yes, there's free content out there. But the we feel that at our price points, the the value, the value that people are getting is for the guidance and making sure they're the right people. I mean, I've got a hot button issue with the irtc and and which kind of led us to think before like do you want to work with a reputable firm like yours or do you want to work with the one that they've got a cute domain name and they're filing false claims. I know you have your story about your friends that they're not to go on that tangent, but I'm just saying that like, hey, guess what? We qualify. And you're like, No, you don't. But anyway, yep. The point is, you know, one option would have been just I feel like we give away a lot of complimentary content. But I know and I know that once someone realizes that people in our community know what they're talking about, the end users will go up the value ladder up to it where it makes sense for them. And what we do is we don't push people up that ladder. You know, they climb it on their own. Yeah. The other thing I should have mentioned as far as the community is we launched something called the Black Belt Program.

Chris Picciurro: [00:36:59] And that's actually intended for other tax professionals that are, as we said, not many of them are looking for for more work. But those tax professionals that want to learn more about tax planning and strategy, they have to take our three core courses, which only takes about three and a half to four hours. Hey, there's a little bit of competency testing, but then when we have people in our community that that are looking for that fit, then those tax professionals understand our process and our system. So yeah.

Heidi Henderson: [00:37:31] Well, it's, it's so fun to hear kind of the path that you've taken that looks like it's a process of failing forward, but then evolving and, and finding new opportunities as you're running into roadblocks like, like getting to capacity in your practice. And then where do we go from here? Where where are the opportunities, other opportunities that exist? So so taking it really back to the beginning, in essence, what what makes you tick? What You're a slow. I feel like you could be a slogan writer. He's got all these all these great taglines. Next time, have a business concept. I'm going to call you and be like, Chris, I need a slogan.

Chris Picciurro: [00:38:10] Sounds good.

Heidi Henderson: [00:38:12] So what makes you tick? What? What? You know, at some point in your life, formative life. I feel like there's always something when we're young. That sort of. Sort of changes us. Some experience that we had that sort of pushes the trajectory. What was that for you? That's kind of created? Chris this this drive and this ambition that you have?

Chris Picciurro: [00:38:32] Well, it's that's a great question. My parents, you know, growing up in just outside of Detroit, very hard working, very blue collar area. And I was always entrepreneurial, but I started at a young age. I became a Detroit newspaper boy back like the video game, like running or driving a bike around with the papers in it and doing my own stuffers. But I was able to utilize the paper route to smuggle over to Kmart, if anyone knows where that is and get a slushy. And my mom, is she ever listen to this Probably be mad at me but but I would spend like a dollar a day or like $0.75 on a slushy which I pedaled my bike around a bunch of miles, but I was able to take that. And then I was able to take some money. And I love collecting baseball cards and buy baseball cards. And that ended up actually being somewhat profitable as well. And I guess that's kind of sparked my entrepreneurial spirit, Entrepreneurial spirit. And it's kind of funny thinking about those days because I was, I think 13, 14, I would not only have to lug these papers around, plus you got the conditions, the wintery conditions. I had to go to random people's houses and collect money [CROSSTALK] You'd knock on the door, collect. But but all of these things kind of those skills came to me. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was I liked math. I was not going to be good enough to be on the Detroit Tigers.

Chris Picciurro: [00:39:57] So I thought, all right. Well, I'm going to. This is just the route I'm going to go. But so I really love I'm honestly, I'm just an entrepreneur that happen to be a CPA and knew forming a CPA firm would be the my best route to being able to be entrepreneurial. And now I spend some time, you know, we love real estate. I love doing different real estate deals. I like doing investing in real estate and really helping people out with you know, I don't know, just keeping more of their money that they should be. We have a saying. Here's another saying is like, you know. One of our three pillars is that the tax agencies are your involuntary business partner. So you either pick your tax or they pick your tax. You get the choice in how you. That's the core teaching tax, what your actions are, pick your pick your tax. I know. So yeah Just think of back to paper out thing.

Chris Picciurro: [00:40:56] I don't know my you know just I've been I guess given a gift of compassion for people and wanting to teach them. It's just and that's why you know once we really focused on the private practice but yet got to the capacity I was just thinking I'm thinking, gosh, the people a lot of the people in my life, I can't even help them anymore if I stick to this what I'm doing right now and I want to be able to help them, I want if I didn't know my parents, I want them to be able to go to teaching tax flow and say, Oh, okay, I understand, you know, a one time transfer to my health savings account. And who should I talk to about it?

Heidi Henderson: [00:41:34] Yeah. Yeah. It's huge. Because, you know, back to one of your one liners. Um, you know, about. It's a problem until it's a process that go back to my notes. But you've been able to create this processes that have then freed you up. And you had said earlier that you had your firm and you really missed out on some of the important years of your kids when they were young, your young, your two oldest kids. And it sounds like you've been able to adjust that a little bit. So here you are. You've got a firm that's kind of at capacity right now. You're building some other programs. You're doing education. Then tell me, if I had to guess. I'm guessing you do have time and you found also time to spend time with your kids and be involved and to take care of yourself. So tell us now a little bit about how you how do you balance all of that in your life.

Chris Picciurro: [00:42:23] Well, one of the hacks of having a a successful practice is time blocking and, you know, if you ... So, if you had an appointment with a client, you would not show up. And no call. No, no show up. Hope you wouldn't. So treat yourself the same way. If that's like right now. I love playing pickleball. Uh, it's it's gotten to a pretty competitive level in part, but it's a lot of fun-

Heidi Henderson: [00:42:52] It's the fastest growing sport in America.

Chris Picciurro: [00:42:55] Yeah, it's. It's great. I'm. I'm trying. Yeah. Love. It's so fun. And, like, I love going. I like going running. It's more for my mental health. And if I, you know, weather permitting. But if I if my time block for exercise for me my time block for exercise is six in the morning about 730, give or take, because I'm not stealing time from my family yet. I'm not stealing time from my business. I'm not stealing time from and you need that creative outlet. So yeah, I don't I don't I'm just not going to miss things anymore unless we, you know, we have to or we have a schedule conflict. But I also want the kids, our kids to understand work is a high priority, but, you know it- Unfortunately, I missed a lot. And I guess one of the other things, this form of things is the pain, the pain of just missing stuff. And I just remember some things that my wife completely understood. But like, you know, my daughter's third birthday and like, Hey, we're going to meet at this restaurant, be there. It starts at 430, so be there by 420. It's like, okay, I didn't see that. You know, it was just a bad feeling. You know what I mean?

Heidi Henderson: [00:44:02] Yeah.

Chris Picciurro: [00:44:03] I just made a promise that I'm not going to that one. I'm going to be there for their stuff. I'm going to be a supportive friend, a supportive husband, and try to also treat myself to the things I like to do. And luckily there, you know, not all of them are the greatest health. I mean, I do like some fro yo and some hot chicken and stuff but in really just surround yourself with people that, you know, tell the kids all the time. Like if you want to know your future, look around you. So surround yourself with people that are bringing you up and challenging you. But, you know, really like it's funny, we have a no changer, but we put a little sticky note up in our refrigerator because I know everyone goes in there, and it just says in order, number one, faith, family work fun and that and that that's just what you know, I'm going to have to now you can have fun, but it's a lot more fun when your work is taken care of, when your grades are good and you and you feel good about taking that time. And yeah, I've not missing that much. But also I work. I love what I'm doing and because of the practice we have, we can we have a lot of flexibility. So if it's eight and 9 to 930. And I want to return emails then because I've time blocked that. That's fine. So now would recommend one hack because I don't want people to say I don't give all my secrets away. But if you're going to return emails from 8 to 9:30 p.m., make sure you delay, send them until the next morning because you don't want to start a conversation at 10:00 at night with somebody.

Heidi Henderson: [00:45:43] Yep. I was doing that last night. I was like, I've got to remember how to do my delay send on this because don't know. There's nothing worse than waking up at six in the morning either with an inbox full of emails. So. So that's not fun. But yeah, that's a good hack. Well, you know, I love the overall focus. Your goals and what you're building, what you've developed for yourself are really in a sense, having goals and understanding what you'd missed and wanting to redirect your time and block time for, for balancing what also is important, which then really I think motivates all of us to then find solutions. And that's the key. Find the solution to fix the problem. And you know, a lot of times it is those processes so we can create time and we can we can factor that into our lives because life is too short. Life's too short to give up our health, our wealth, our kids, our family, our lives. But I'm with you. I love what I do. I think we have we're blessed working in a in an amazing career. One last question. I always like to ask this question. Um. What do you wish you knew? What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 20?

Chris Picciurro: [00:46:55] Man.

Heidi Henderson: [00:46:58] What would you tell your 20 year old self?

Chris Picciurro: [00:47:03] Um. Huh? Wow. Okay. You know, don't get emotional that often, I would tell myself. Trust yourself. It's all everything's going to be- work out better than you thought.

Heidi Henderson: [00:47:19] Wow. Wow.

Chris Picciurro: [00:47:22] I know it's kind of a 30,000 foot thing, but.

Heidi Henderson: [00:47:24] Yeah. But you know what? I. I respect that so much and I respect your, your emotion that comes from that as well, because you, my kids are all in their mid 20 seconds. My daughter is 23 and she's going through this this phase of finding herself. It's a little painful. It's painful for her. It's painful for me because she's at a breaking away phase as well. But 20. It can be such a hard time. And to your point, if we could just impress to our kids and if I could do the same thing myself when I was 20. It's your point. Just go back and say just trust yourself a little. Just find that confidence and trust yourself. It's going to be okay. So that is amazing. So thank you so much for sharing that. Thanks for joining me today. I'd love the conversations. I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting you. I loved being on your podcast. I love what you're doing. We definitely need to talk more about all this and and just connect because I would love to continue to work with you. So with that, thank you so much for being a guest on today's podcast. Chris If anybody wants to get a hold of you, what would be the best way to reach out or do some research and find more info?

Chris Picciurro: [00:48:32] Well, thank you again. It's been a pleasure. We have an amazing team here. And to find find me. I'm on LinkedIn, but probably the best thing to do would be going to teaching That's that's our that's our community page or website. If you're on Facebook. We have a private Facebook group that anyone who listens to this is invited to called defeating taxes. That's defeating it'll take you right there with love- The interaction is amazing and honestly, we do a weekly poll that tells me what people want. And it's like- It's just really great. And or find me on LinkedIn and message me connect with me you know we have even written on my my boards up here, which. If you're watching... Is collaboration over competition. So let's collaborate and let's bring out the best in each other.

Heidi Henderson: [00:49:31] All right. That sounds amazing. I love it. All right. Well, thank you again. I'm so appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic day. And thanks to all your listeners.

Creators and Guests

Heidi Henderson
Heidi Henderson
I am a Tax Consultant and Real Estate Investor, and podcast host of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. I advise clients on the application of Tax Efficiencies relating to their investments both directly and indirectly. My education is in Accounting but my entrepreneurial spirit has led me through many business ventures. But I love finding money for people who didn't know it was there! Cost Segregation, 179D deduction, 45L credits, R&D tax credits, Historical Tax Credits, Conservation Easements, Opportunity Zones, Alternative Investments, and Captive Insurance are a few tools we can help you with. As the Executive Vice President and Board Member of Engineered Tax Services I help plan for growth and operational improvements internally, while working externally with investment minded individuals to optimize their investment. I also teach over 30+ Continuing Education courses annually to CPA's, Design Build Professionals and Real Estate Professionals across the U.S. If synergies are apparent, please send me a connection request and let's see how we can work together.
Failing Forward: How One CPA Found Success in Tax Entrepreneurship
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