Q&A: An Accountant’s Advice for the Pandemic
It's been a wild year, and we have certainly not been immune to the struggles and loss of business. In such an economy and no promise of predictability or “normalcy” any time soon, we decided to ask our good friend, Dal Barrett of DB Virtual Accounting, for some advice, and we thought it might be useful to you, too!
We’ve worked with Dal as our CPA for about 10 years, and have also enjoyed taking his family photos in those years (he's pictured above with his family at their session last month.) And we have been inspired to watch him launch his own accounting business this year. He has a lot of wisdom to offer, and we hope you’ll benefit from this conversation!
Abby: How do you advise people, business owners or otherwise, as this tumultuous year comes to a close, with chaos likely lingering on in 2021? What are some sound financial and tax strategies that you often point to in light of all of the drama?
Dal: Take a breath. Life comes at us at 100 mph. Yes, there's a lot of uncertainty right now but we can only control what we can control – budget. It's hard but it’s the best thing you can do for a family or a business. It's not a once-a-year activity, but monthly.
A: You started your own accounting business in the middle of the pandemic. So is it safe to say you’re a risk taker?
D: Actually, I'm far from a risk taker. I've wanted to start an accounting firm for a long time but never took the leap. So to do it now was a very calculated risk. My wife and I decided this was the time just a few days before the shutdown in March. Even as the shutdown continued, we still believed this was God's plan. So here we are.
A: You previously worked as a Certified Dave Ramsey Financial Counselor. How have you been able to offer people hope through stronger financial planning?
D: Absolutely. There is always hope, we just lose it sometimes; when we lose hope we have to find people and a plan to get it back. I walked through their finances with them and asked some hard questions, then helped them put a plan together to show them there was freedom on the other side of the financial pain. Where there is hope there is progress.
A: We know the rules of taxes are constantly changing. But what are the principles of tax and financial planning that don’t change?
D: The unchanging principle is to have a plan. One of my favorite sayings is, "Failing to have a plan is a plan to fail." Planning is hard because we are so busy, but a plan is like having a map before you set out for a long road trip. It has to be challenging but realistic, and it has to be revisited at least annually to remind you where you're going and why you're doing what you're doing.
A: Why do you love accounting, and tax and financial planning?
D: I love helping people. When people have hope they have an opportunity to prosper. When we give someone hope they have the ability to go help someone else, and on and on it goes.
A: There’s a lot of stereotypes. What do you wish people knew about accountants?
D: It's not about the numbers. We can be very detail-oriented, but it's being able to see the big picture and the relationships between all the moving parts.
A: Level with us; what is your least favorite thing about taxes?
D: Paying them. Seriously, with the ever-changing rules, it's never ending.
A: And a shameless plug: Why have you enjoyed working with J.A. Laub Photography over the years?
D: You all have been so awesome to work with over the years; there have been pictures taken by you guys hanging up in our house for years. You all capture more than a picture – you capture personality. Working with you is always fun!
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