The TEN7 Podcast – Episode 69

 

Adam Hale of Summit CPA Group: Thinking Differently About Accounting

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Summary

How many accounting firms do you know that do value-based pricing, or embrace being a distributed company? Adam Hale, partner and COO of Summit CPA, the premier CPA for digital agencies enlightens host Ivan Stegic on how his progressive firm is changing the way people think about accounting.

Guest

Adam Hale of Summit CPA Group

Highlights

  • Company naming tips to make yourself look bigger
  • A Jerry Maguire story, with CPAs
  • The life of a COO, keepin’ things movin’
  • Their accidentally distributed accounting firm
  • Summit is the misfits at accounting conferences
  • Changing the way people think about accounting
  • Summit is the premier CPA for the digital agency industry
  • Introduction to the Bureau-verse
  • What is a Virtual CFO?
  • Value-based billing, no contracts 
  • Their new podcast, the Virtual CPA Success Show for Creative Agencies (podcast launching Sept 2019)
  • Accounting + communications = popular at parties
  • Accounting now loves big data, but forgot to teach people how to explain it
  • Growing a family, on an accountant’s schedule

Links

Transcript

IVAN STEGIC: Hey everyone! You’re listening to the TEN7 podcast, where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business and the humans in it. I am your host Ivan Stegic. My guest today is Adam Hale, who is partner and COO of Summit CPA Group, with global headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Adam majored in accounting in college, but also minored in communications, so we’re going to see if I’m able to get him out of his shell in today’s episode. Adam, welcome. It’s a great pleasure to have you on the podcast.

ADAM HALE: Thank you. So, do I get to talk now? The communication piece. I just want to make sure. One-word answers.

IVAN: [laughing] Yes, one-word answers, that’s the preferred mode of communication here. [laughing] So, Summit CPA . You are a partner and you are also COO. What the heck is Summit?

ADAM: That can go in a couple different directions. So, in a broader sense, I guess, we are the defender of profits, is the way I look at it. So, we are a virtual CFO firm, and our purpose is really just helping businesses clarify direction. Our background is obviously in finance, we are a CPA firm, and so, we do a lot with forecasting and helping clients figure out business. A lot of times clients feel like they have a vision, they have goals, they have targets. We just help make those a reality and help them look ahead through a financial lens.

IVAN: Why is it called Summit?

ADAM: That’s a good question. We actually started it in the Summit City, which is in Fort Wayne. It’s a city built up on an actual summit. But the reason being, most CPAs, like law firms, have the name of the owner in them. So, when we first started Summit CPA back in 2002, my partner—actually I was an employee at the time—rather than calling it Grunden Hale or just Grunden—that’s his last name by the way . . . [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Hi Jody.

ADAM: [laughing] Yeah. Rather than do that, Jody was very visionary with a lot of what we do here at Summit, both on how we price and how we think about things, and one started with the way we named the company. Jody from the very get go was like, “Hey, I don’t want it to be about me or be about you, I want it to be about our entire company. And I want people, whenever they think about us, they don’t know if there are two of us or a thousand of us.” So, again, just straight from the very beginning of the creation of Summit CPA, that’s the kind of vision that we went with right out of the gate. So, he just wanted to be bigger than us, I guess.

IVAN: And you just mentioned that you’re originally an employee, but you’re a partner, but you also talk about being there right at the beginning and founding it. So, how did that work out? I know you had one job before Summit, right? Right out of college?

ADAM: Yeah, actually I was with Jody. So, we have a little, I call it our "Jerry McGuire moment." I don’t know if you’re familiar with that movie? [laughing]

IVAN: Love that movie. [laughing]

ADAM: So, he completed me. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] We’re going to have to have Jody on the show and ask him if that’s true.

ADAM: Yeah, well, luckily for him, he gets to be Tom Cruise in this little story. I’m Renee.

So, right out of college I interviewed with a couple different places. I met with Jody and another person, really liked their personality, their style, it wasn’t super uptight, so I was pretty excited about that, and took the opportunity. Within like three months of working there—it was a regional CPA firm—and he was running that office. For whatever reason there was a little bit of a falling out with how things were being run. Jody was like, “Hey, they wanted me to let you go. They wanted me to do all this stuff.” Of course, I was a great team member, so it’s not like they wanted to let me go, they just didn’t really believe in Jody’s style.

In the accounting world, it’s "eat what you kill." Everybody puts in 80-90 hours a week and the partners are supposed to lead by example, and Jody was all about leverage, building a business, instead of being self-employed. So, that’s kind of the way it started. He left and when he left, he just said, “Hey, you want to come with me?” And I had some conversations with the existing CPA firm owner, didn’t really like the way they went, showed a lot of character on Jody’s side, so I decided, yeah, I would follow him and his goldfish to the new place. So, that’s what we did. So, I was employee number one, probably for about two or three years, and then by happenstance in 2006 there was an opportunity for me to take on a bigger role, and we were having more people, so that’s what I did.

IVAN: Good for you, that’s amazing. So now, Jody and Adam are partners in Summit CPA, and your role is COO. So, Chief Operating Officer. Tell me what your day looks like. What are you mostly concerned with as the COO?

ADAM: COO, that’s the integrator, that’s the person that just makes shit happen. Jody, again, he’s a very vision driven type of a person, so he comes up with a lot of great ideas, a lot of crazy ones too. So it’s really my role, my job, to listen and then just make sure that that gets translated to the team, and that we can execute with it.

So, a typical day for me . . . I work from home, so, the first couple hours of my day is just getting kids ready for school, making sure they have their stuff, you know how that goes. So, I get a pretty late start to the morning, but in terms of the work, it’s really just happiness. I know that especially in the digital space, like Director of Happiness is like a thing sometimes.

But for me, it’s about making sure that the team and our clients are both in aligned with where our core values are, and the direction of the company. And that exists in everything, from how we execute on different things, what our deliverables are, how we’re communicating with our clients, how we communicate with team. So a day for me is typically just tons of meetings. So, I’m meeting either with internal team, just about what’s going on with their clients, and how I can help and support them. And then also some client-facing activities as well, where I’m just adding weight to a conversation, bringing in my experiences, doing those kind of things.

IVAN: You’re kind of greasing the wheels, aren’t you?

ADAM: That’s the job man. So, that’s what I try to do. Keep things moving.

IVAN: You guys are headquartered in Indiana, as you talked about, Fort Wayne. Were you always a distributed company?

ADAM: No. In fact, we were probably brick and mortar for almost the first ten years of operations. Partly because we just didn’t know any better and didn’t know there was an alternate solution. And, in fairness, technology wasn’t the greatest back then. I was using dial-up internet, I think, at my first job there. So, the internet connections, people weren’t used to doing video conferences. So, technology's definitely helped out.

But the way that worked is—it’s funny—my partner actually bought the building that we were in, and through our growth, we actually we grew out of the building, and we had to do a bunch of construction. So, we kicked everybody out of the office. And so, Jody in his book, he talks a lot about his fish tank, because he was really proud that when he did the remodel and the rebuild, he put this really elaborate fish tank in there. He calls it his $100,000 fish tank, because we spent $100,000 on the remodel.

And then what we found out is that when it was time to bring back everybody into the office, everybody’s like, “No, I’m pretty good working at home now.” So, we got a lot of pushback about people working from home because they weren’t nested, they didn’t set up all their stuff and do all those kind of things. But through this process, they had to stay at home for three or four months, so they had to make it work. And once they did—myself included—there was a big pushback for going distributed, and when we went through that process, the majority of us ended up staying home. The reason why that was a thing for us is, is we had a couple people on the team that had moved to different locations, they moved out of state, and we wanted to keep them on the team, so we were going to figure out a way to make it work.

It was a little disjointed at first. In distributed teams, culture’s a big thing, and whenever you have a physical location, you end up with the subculture. And the distributed folks on our team felt that. And so, by making this addition so that we could bring more people in office, we ended up actually doing the complete opposite, and then it was soon after we kind of just fully embraced the, “Hey, let’s just everybody work from home, and let’s just intentionally hire that way.” And that’s what we did.

IVAN: That sounds like a parallel universe story to the one that we had in becoming distributed. We were also in an office space that we owned, and through happenstance decided to try being distributed and then no one came back. [laughing]

ADAM: [laughing] Funny how that works.

IVAN: [laughing] Yeah, it is. And I was also against trying to be distributed at the outset as well, and now, now it’s like the only way I think we should ever do business. But maybe that will change again at some point. I think being distributed is more common in the industry you work in, in digital space, and an agency such as my own. It seems to be not very common when it comes to a bunch of accountants and a bunch of finance people. Am I wrong? 

ADAM: Oh, no. Whenever we go to conferences, we are definitely an outcast in the room, and we always have been, in terms of how we bill and do things. But whenever we speak to accounting firms, and we talk about being distributed, they just look at us like we’re crazy. And, we probably are a little bit, but it works out super well for us. And then, whenever we walk through the advantages and how we work together, and the fact is everybody works from home anyway, you know, a day or two a week. So, it’s not that big of a leap these days.

Security is obviously a big concern, so we talk through what we do for that in order to make sure everything’s locked down. And then once we talk for a little bit, the conversation actually turns. It’s just the bigger firms that can’t figure out how to change their ways, but all the smaller firms that we work with, they’re like, “You know what, I think that’s the direction we’re going to go.” So, it’s changing.

Actually, that’s what our mission statement is at Summit CPA, is: changing the way people think about accounting. So, we want that to be the way our team thinks about how we work. We want that to be the way our colleagues think about accounting, and then our customers. We want our customers to expect the type of service that we deliver. We want everybody to push that into whatever accounting firm they’re working with. They should expect this kind of service.

IVAN: As far as I’m concerned, you’re the premier CPA for the digital agency industry. Everyone I know, who are our competitors and friends, they use Summit. Why focus on this particular industry?

ADAM: The history of it was—and I think we’ve talked about it before—but Lullabot actually ended up being our first client, and I think it hit Jody’s spam filter.

IVAN: [laughing] Oh, did it really?

ADAM: Yeah. [laughing] I remember him coming into my office, it was like close to the end of the day, and he was just like, “Hey, I got this email. This company’s not from Fort Wayne.” So, back then it was like, “Okay, that’s cool. We’ve got a couple folks that are outside of the area.” So, he’s like, “You think we should just give them a call?” We were like, “Yeah, yeah,” like everything else we do, we’re like, “Yeah, let’s give it a shot.” And so, we were talking to them for a while and we thought they were just pitching us on our website and how horrible it was at the time, [laughing] although we thought it was great. But oddly enough, no, they were asking, “Hey, could you be our CFO?”

And then they explained to us that they were distributed, and so we went down that path of how that worked. Because we were telling them, “You know, you’re kind of far away. We can’t come see you.” And they were like, “No, that’s cool. This is the way it would work.” And so, they really opened our eyes to a different way to do business. And so, it was a great experience, great people. We were pretty fortunate in that regard.

Then the other thing that happened was, the industry itself is so collaborative and very open to working together, just in general, which is, by the way, not the way most industries work. You know, if they find out you work with somebody else that knows somebody, it’s kind of a scary thing for a lot of different industries. Not so much in the creative space, that’s not what we found. In fact, they referred us to a couple of our other—I’ll call them anchor clients—in the space, and then they referred a couple people. So, through just referrals, we had this great launchpad for just working with great people and great ideas and the way they operated and did everything.

And then on the financial side, it was a total cheat. Because you run exactly like a CPA firm. So, what Jody and I are super passionate about, is running our firm and growing it and doing all these things in the metrics, they’re the exact same ones that you have.

So, it was very natural for us, and something that we were able to speak about very easily, and be able to draw our own comparisons and bring things into it. And then as we created this network of other agencies, we were able to talk about industry best practices and standards, and what we’ve seen work, and then that’s grown to where we work with at least 70 digital agencies on a weekly basis, helping them through forecasting and being that VCFO. It’s been great.

IVAN: That’s one of the things I appreciate most about the workshops that you have, is, the ability to provide a metric, that is based on actual data from actual agencies that are similar to the agency I run. There’s a lot of power to that. And I know when we were in Bend, you said with great confidence, the average rate that a digital agency has right now based on the last year of data is $162 per hour. Right? There’s a value to that. I don’t think any of your competitors can say that.

ADAM: No. And just the vernacular and understanding the culture, because again, there’s different things that, once you get to know. What I really love about Summit and what we do, and what I think is different from most CPA firms is the level of involvement that we have with our clients. We join the leadership team. We don’t want to just be the finance person in the room or be the person that you come to whenever you have a question that’s related to finance. We listen to what’s going on in the company, how things are going. And then we just work that back into the forecast.

So, it’s not always sometimes about how the other person did it. It’s like, this is the average, this is where it should be, and here’s why. Here’s what we’ve seen work/not work, and this is why it might be best fit for you based on everything that we know about you. So, it really is a lot of industry knowledge and experience, but then it can be still tailored for the individual agency, if that makes sense.

IVAN: That does make sense. And, when Lullabot first came to you, were you distributed at that time?

ADAM: No. That’s why I say, we were totally in the dark with the whole concept. It was really eye opening. Actually, that’s how we got to know Carl from the Bureau [of Digital], is that they ran a conference called Yonder, and we ended up going out to San Diego and being a part of Yonder, which was a distributed company. So, it wasn’t really geared specifically toward agencies. We had a kickball company there. We had all kinds of different businesses.

And at the time, because of Lullabot, we were going distributed. So, we weren’t quite all the way there, but we went to that conference to get best practice ideas on how to interact with the team and all those kind of things. I happened to actually be sitting right next to Carl at the conference and we were just having a good time, joking and talking about finance, and that kind of stuff, and whenever we got back, I asked Jody to reach out to him, or he reached out to Jody, I can’t remember what it was. And Carl’s like, “Hey, I’m part of this group, this community.” And, the Bureau is fantastic.

IVAN: It is. Absolutely.

ADAM: Every industry should have it. It’s kind of like group thing, group therapy. It’s amazing.

IVAN: It is amazing.

ADAM: You’ve been to a couple, right?

IVAN: Yeah.

ADAM: Yeah. So, he didn’t want someone to come in and just pitch the group or be this thing. He’s like, “Hey, I want somebody just to come in and help us understand the finances, because this topic comes up a lot in our conversations.” So, that’s what we did. We thought, “Hey, this is a good opportunity to learn and grow and have some of our clients there, and contribute to the community, and that’s what we did. And Jody’s an empty nester so, yeah, you’ll always hear Jody at those things. He’s at almost every single one. I do whatever I can. [laughing] I’ve got four young children, so I’ve got a lot to do there, but Jody is great. He takes one for the team for us. Everybody knows his Hawaiian shirts. That became sort of his theme. He’s our mascot.

IVAN: I’m kind of surprised he didn’t have a picture of the Hawaiian shirt in the book he published.

ADAM: That’s true. Wow.

IVAN: Maybe in the next one.

ADAM: Yeah, he’s working on a second book, so yeah, you’re right, maybe that should be the cover. The Hawaiian shirt. I’ll have to let him know.

IVAN: [laughing] You gotta write that down. So, you mentioned the acronym VCFO, Virtual CFO. For what it’s worth, I love that term. I feel like I know exactly what it means. That’s good description. But, talk to me about what a VCFO does in your mind, and what does a company like mine get from a VCFO? Are you my VCFO? Is Jody my VCFO? How does that work? What is it and how does it work?

ADAM: It’s a great question. It should, just by the words alone, it should define itself. What we found is that back in 2006 or so, whenever we—I don’t want to say we coined the phrase or invented it—but we were one of the very first to use it, and it was just because we were cheap in terms of SEO, we couldn’t use a calendar CPA or any of those things. So, what it meant to us was, exactly what it says, being the chief financial person in the room, to be able to explain what’s going on with the business. Because everything has tentacles into the finance side. What we found over the years is, every CPA firm now has fractional or VCFO on their website. And to them a lot of times it means back office accounting, which we can do. If you need help paying your bills, managing cashflow. That’s a part of our service. But that’s not core to what we do.

And then there’s also those folks out there that are specialists. They come in, they do a heavy level consulting for a lot of money up front, and then they leave you to figure out the rest. That’s not what we do either. So, our Virtual CFO service, it’s almost like Staff Aug [Staff Augmentation]. So, am I your CFO? Not anymore. I’m greasing the wheels, as you said, just kind of moving things along. Jody’s team mascot, so he’s always on the road, kind of doing those kind of things. But we’ve got a team of just great, great people that have a wide variety of experience, and we bring them in-house, show them what we’re looking at, how we do things. So, it’s a pretty consistent feel from CFO to CFO, in terms of client experience.

But the things that we help with are jumping in, first things first. Making sure garbage in/garbage out. Making sure everything’s clean, set up, so we can compare you to the industry, figure that out. Then we go through and we do heavy forecasting. So, we’re asking about goals and vision and all those things, and if you don’t know, we can help you craft those and figure them out.

We’re like the GPS: you tell us where you want to go, we help you figure out the best path to get there. But beyond that, we jump in the seat next to you and we’re your copilot. So, as life happens, as you have to go left instead of right, we help you get back on track and move things around. That’s our job. So, we’re helping people with profit sharing plans, M&A (mergers and acquisitions) deals, financing for bank, trying to make sure we’re getting the financing that we need.

We’re also helping with scaling up and down, unfortunately. Sometimes you have to scale things back. Those are common things that we work with. We also help out with bizdev, setting them on a path, in a direction, giving them the tools that they need, so they know what to sell, and how to sell it in terms of pricing, and things of that nature. So, we’re very involved in that process as well. And then again, we can fill in the back office stuff. So, if your COO is the one doing all of the bill pay, and doing a lot of those tactical things on the finance side, we can take those over. So, we manage cashflow, and pay bills for probably about one third of our clients.

In some instances, we’ll do invoicing. We do tax work for probably about 80-85% of our client base. So, that’s tax planning projections and prep. So, again, every single month we do a soft tax plan, and then around this time of year we’re dialing things in, making sure everything’s where it’s supposed to be, setting aside money for taxes, helping you do that as you go, and then our tax team comes in and works really closely with our CFO team to make sure that we’re minimizing taxes, while we’re maximizing profits on the other side of the business.

IVAN: You mentioned earlier, when we started talking, that the way that Jody likes to operate and the way that you operate is that you have a different kind of way of billing and thinking about pricing structure, and so on. How is that different than the norm? What does the structure look like with you?

ADAM: Everything is value based and fixed fees, so there are no surprises in terms of billing. We charge a flat fee on a weekly basis. There’s no contract, length of service for a year, any of that kind of stuff. We just ask for 30 days’ notice and we’ll help with any kind of transition that you need. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often unless we’re helping clients through an M&A deal where they’re selling out. But if and when it does, there’s no commitment on our client side. They just say the word.

So, what’s unique about that is, again, in our space, in the accounting world—although they’re starting to come around, and they’re starting to do some flat fee services—we do everything on a flat fee, and so usually it’s hourly billing. And so, what happens is, everybody’s your best friend at the beginning of the engagement, they ask a lot of great questions, and you do a lot of cool stuff, and then they get the bill for the quarter hour here/there and stop calling. So, that’s natural. I would do the same thing.

IVAN: [Laughing] Oh, yeah.

ADAM: There’s a reason why they say "Don’t call the attorney just yet." [laughing] We didn’t want to have that. We knew that the key to our success was access and communication with our client, and it was more about the long-term relationship than it was about picking up the quarter of an hour. And so, we made a very deliberate effort right out of the gate, shortly thereafter, I mean it took a few learning lumps and man we really screwed up our pricing pretty bad at the beginning. We just were not charging much at all. I think we finally got that dialed in, but it took a little while. But I think that’s a big differentiator as well; you know what to expect from us. We advocate budgeting and forecasting, so makes sense that we would do the same for our service.

IVAN: Absolutely it does. One of the things I took to heart from the workshop that you had in Bend was the fixed fee expected dollars that are going to be spent, and we started migrating our clients from being time and materials that were on maintenance contract to fixed fee. We also went ahead and removed our annual commitments as well, and boy does that make a difference, and man is that conversation easy when there’s no annual negotiation and no annual fee increase, and you’re not locked in. That really makes a difference.

ADAM: Oh yeah. It lets your value speak for itself. And that was really important to us too. If a client wasn’t seeing the value, and we value bill, we understand. Sometimes there’s a difference of opinion there, or maybe they need something else that you can’t offer, that’s fine.

IVAN: So, I hear you have a podcast coming out with a great name. Is that true?

ADAM: Of course, it’s a great name. It’s the Virtual CPA Success Show for Creative Agencies. I don’t have a start date just yet, but it should be launching sometime in September, so this month. We’re just getting out a couple episodes and working out the kinks and then we should be live. We'll do a couple of those each month.

IVAN: That sounds amazing. So, visit the website to find out more. That’s summitcpa.net. That’s where you’ll find it. You’ve been at Summit for a long time. What were you doing “BS” (before Summit)?

ADAM: Well.

IVAN: You were at that agency, weren’t you? Or that accounting firm?

ADAM: Yeah, that’s what I say, it was pretty short-lived prior to Summit. It’s a little bit of a blessing. A lot of my friends went through and worked through all their Big Four experiences and then to corporate and then back to public, and I was pretty fortunate to land where I did. It gave me an opportunity to grow. That’s the nice thing about as many people on your podcast probably that are in, kind of an ownership role, understand is that, there’s a lot of flexibility there. It’s scary at times. And sometimes you go down the wrong path. But all those learning lumps along the way have gotten us where we are today. And so, I’m very proud of that, and glad I was able to start out the way that I was.

IVAN: And before that, you were in college and graduated—as I said at the top of the podcast—with a major in accounting and minor in communications, and I wanted to ask about that. You don’t usually find people who are in accounting, also in communications. So, how did you end up going down that road?

ADAM: What? I’m pretty sure accountants are known to be usually the person at the party everybody wants to chill with. I’m pretty confident of that. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] You are being bad. I don’t like stereotypes, and you’re perpetuating that stereotype. But maybe I am too. Tell me how that happened.

ADAM: We’re popular around April. You know, everybody’s got a question.

IVAN: [laughing] That’s right.

ADAM: But no. It was a huge push. When I was going to school, the big thing was accountants are dorks, nobody wants to talk to them, they are boring and dry. That kind of a thing. So, actually our professors were pushing communications. The CPA exam was pushing communications.

IVAN: Really?

ADAM: Yeah. So, it was, everything was centered around communications. Oddly enough, over the last five years or so, with big data, our job is taking data and turning it into information that people can use. So I think the pushes went away from communications, and it’s been driven more towards big data. So, you’ll see a lot of folks in accounting focusing on just information systems and trying to make sure that they can corral the big data. Now, unfortunately, they won’t be able to talk to anybody about it [laughing], because they forgot that part. So, they can read the numbers, they can find it and smash it together, but that’s what dashboards are for, right? [laughing]

IVAN: Right. Why talk to other humans?

ADAM: Why talk to people? It’s real time. Just get it yourself, it’s on your phone. [laughing] Text me if you need anything. So, that was the route. It was just one of those things. And I’ve always enjoyed just talking to people and I never shut up, so it was a pretty easy ask of me. So, yeah, it was good stuff.

IVAN: And what university did you go to?

ADAM: Indiana University is where I got my degree from.

IVAN: And did you grow up in that area? Is that kind of your home base? You’re an Indianan?

ADAM: Oh, yeah.

IVAN: Is that the right word? Indianan?

ADAM: Hoosier, actually.

IVAN: Hoosier, okay. So, you’re a Hoosier, born and bred.

ADAM: Born and bred. I am. I grew up, I went away for college and came back. And I met my wife early on in college, and so her family was from around here, and then whenever things were picking up and we thought we had the ability to go mobile, which I think is so cool how some of the folks on our team do that. We have somebody on our team, her and her husband are going to live every three months, they’re going to live in a different city for the next twelve months.

IVAN: So, no kids, huh?

ADAM: There you go. So that’s where I’m going with this [laughing]. I’ve got four kiddos and love them to death. Grandparents are a super important role in their life, and they have both sets still alive and well, here in the area.

IVAN: Good.

ADAM: So, we try to do really cool vacations and then obviously work. Here’s your tax tip of the day, work it into some cool conferences [laughing] or, luckily, the Bureau always goes to some really neat places, you can work some stuff in there. But it’s been great. Again, I wouldn’t do it any different. It’s just nice to be around family and still have the ability to go to cool places.

IVAN: And how old are your kids, Adam?

ADAM: So, I am an accountant so, and this will probably come as a surprise, but they’re 13, 11, 9 and 7. So, every two years. [laughing] And not between January and April 15th. So, ta dah! [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] So, let’s talk about the tax ramifications of having children that are not between January and April and are spaced equally for two years. I can’t tell if you’re joking or not. Tell me about it.

ADAM: [laughing] No, that was completely intentional.

IVAN: Oh my God. Tell me why.

ADAM: It’s different for me now, but whenever I was grinding it out, January through April, you’re working 80 hours a week, so I would have no time for a birthday, or if my wife was near labor, like that was going to be an issue. So, again, those kind of things are pretty important to me. Obviously, I want to be there for my family, and so, I just wanted to make sure they were nowhere near the dead zone, January through April. [laughing]

IVAN: Okay. Got it.

ADAM: That was the intent.

IVAN: And every two years, like you get the benefit of an additional write-off on a regular basis. Like, that’s the plan? [laughing]

ADAM: I wish. No, trust me [laughing] they cost way more than you get a deduction and a credit for. No, the idea originally was like, “Let’s get them out of diapers and then have the next one." And then it’s like we’re getting a little older. So, we kept them a little closer together, knowing that we were going to have four.

IVAN: So, you’re going to have four, you had them every two years, so, if my math is correct, that’s about eight, maybe more years, of diapers in a row.

ADAM: Well, the diapers are bad enough. Think about how long my poor wife was pregnant, just in terms of over the course of that timeframe. She was more pregnant than she wasn’t. [laughing] So, luckily, she enjoyed her pregnancies, but nevertheless, she definitely was the saint in the family for taking that on.

IVAN: Well, shout out to your wife.

ADAM: For sure. Yeah, absolutely.

IVAN: Last question. Do you have any potential accountants in your children?

ADAM: Actually, my oldest daughter, she’s super creative, which is the complete opposite of me. I always talk about how innovative I am, meaning I can just take somebody else’s cool idea and make it better. She’s definitely more creative, and so I’ve been trying to push her towards more art stuff and design, that kind of thing. I think that I have a little bit of hope maybe in my youngest daughter. She holds the rest of us accountable to different stuff. So, she might be my little accountant. The rest of them are probably too cool for me. So, I don’t know.

IVAN: Well, I wish you the greatest of luck with all of that. I’ve had a wonderful time speaking with you on the podcast here. Learned a lot. And, I appreciate you being on the show.

ADAM: Appreciate you having me and look forward to talking again soon, hopefully.

IVAN: Indeed. Adam Hale is partner and COO of Summit CPA, and he was my guest today. You can find them online at summitcpa.net. You’ve been listening to the TEN7 Podcast. Find us online at ten7.com/podcast. And if you have a second, do send us a message. We love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. And don’t forget, we’re also doing a survey of our listeners. So, if you’re able to, tell us about what you are and who you are, please take our survey as well at ten7.com/survey. Until next time, this is Ivan Stegic. Thank you for listening.

Ivan Stegic

Founder and President
 
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Ivan Stegic

Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Bowtie lover. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world. His favorite things right now: the TEN7 podcast and becoming the next Björn Borg.