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10: How Hiring the Right Tax Professional Can Help Businesses Thrive with Carlie Bittel

Carlie began her public accounting career as an employee at a national accounting firm. In 2013 she went out on her own and founded Bittel Books & Taxes. She is a problem-solver at heart and is passionate about helping fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners, and individuals grow and succeed. Carlie approaches every client with honesty, transparency, and respect so that valuable partnerships can be formed. She also believes in people helping people and having a little fun along the way.

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Show Quote

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

-Albert Einstein

Resources

Bittel Books and Taxes– Learn more about the Tax services Carlie and her team provide for individuals and small businesses.

Why We Sleep — A book Carlie Bittel highly recommends to anyone who wants to improve their life by improving their sleep. 

Key Takeaways 

1) When starting your own business, accurate budgeting is key.

2) The best time to implement a proactive planning approach is when you are planning to take your business to the next level. 

3) Protect yourself as an entrepreneur by hiring a trusted team of advisors including a lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor. 

Show Notes

**Click the timestamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.

[3:04] – How did Carlie begin her entrepreneurial journey?

  • Carlie Bittel started off her career as a CPA at a large public accounting firm.
  • She made a plan to start her own gig. She started out helping friends and family with their accounting and tax needs.

[4:09]  What part of being an employee really pushed Carlie to start her own business?

  • She wanted control over her experience but also the experience her clients would have.
  • You decide who you want to work with. If the match is a fit, then good things happen.

[6:24]  Was Carlie doing taxes for her friends and family on the side while still working for the big firm?

  • She took a long runway and considered what she would need to set up for success.
  • If you’re thinking about striking out on your own, that’s a risk.

[8:31]  What did Carlie do from a finance standpoint when starting out?

  • Having an accurate budget was crucial. 
  • Dial-in on expense and the startup cost.
  • Have a runway of at least a couple of months.
  • If you have accurate numbers in your budget that will help you as your business grows.

[13:26]  What specifically does her firm, Bittel Books and Taxes, do that other tax firms may not do?

  • When she started her business she noticed that many small businesses needed a comprehensive way to look at accounting and taxes.
  • They provide a holistic planning environment.
  • They offer monthly accounting as well as regular tax meetings.
  • The facilitate going over accurate, up-to-date financials.
  • Tax planning should happen throughout the year.
  • They want to be considered value-added team members.

[19:02]  What does a typical client look like for Carlie?

  • They work with all kinds of companies in different industries.
  • It’s fun to solve a different problem every single day.
  • The best conversations are often with entrepreneurs who are ready to go to the next level.
  • That is the best time for a proactive planning approach because the business will look different with immense growth. When you accelerate growth, there are often tax planning opportunities.

[22:22]  What are some of the common mistakes she sees business owners make?

  • Entrepreneurs are often passionate about the business they start, but they may not be good at planning for cash flow or accounting.
  • Her biggest advice is to protect yourself the best you can.
  • Give yourself wings. Surround yourself with a team of people who are smarter than you. Having a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial advisor is helpful.
  • Cash is king. Treat it with respect.

[27:02]  What tax guidance would Carlie give listeners to help them succeed in 2020?

  • If you have self-employment income of any kind, be aware of the plethora of business deductions that are available to you.
  • One big area with the new tax law changes is the use of business vehicles.
  • If you buy a new vehicle, there is a chance you can write off some of it if you use it for business.

[30:46]  What are some examples of personal expenses that could be shifted to the business?

  • Vehicles, cell phones, insurance.
  • The business can pay for more than you think.

[36:00]  How can listeners learn more about Carlie and her firm?

[37:26]  How does Carlie keep her edge?

  • She has a CPA newsletter she keeps up with.
  • Carlie reads a lot of sci-fi/fantasy to relax.

[39:35]  Who has had the biggest impact on her life?

  • The person who had the biggest impact on her professional life is a mentor she had right after she left the workforce, Angie Anderson.

[40:43]  What is one resource she recommends?

  • Why We Sleep, a book on the science of sleep.
  • If you don’t sleep as well as you could, you will not live as long.

[43:35]  What does Carlie do in her free time?

  • She organizes vacations around professional sports.

[45:25]  What does financial freedom mean to Carlie?

  • The ability to go out to a really nice dinner for no reason at all.

[45:59]  How does she want to be remembered?

  • She hopes she can be remembered as the CPA that made taxes fun.

[46:28]  What’s one parting bit of advice she has for entrepreneurs?

  • First and foremost do good by others and the money will follow.

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