What actions should you be taking RIGHT NOW to thrive? It’s probably not what you think!
In this special bonus episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast, Dominique Molina joins me for a conversation about what we’ve both noticed since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, how you can attract more clients that you’re actually excited to work with, and how doing the exact opposite of what you would normally do can help you stand out and be successful – recession or not!
If you’re ready to take back your power by taking action and doing what other accountants aren’t doing, this episode is a must-listen!
Here’s a few things we talked about:
I see way too many accounting professionals who are overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated. Is that you?
That’s why I’ve created a simple 5-step process for accountants so that you can feel confident positioning yourself as the expert, get consistent, high-quality referrals, and easily get people to say YES to paying you what you’re worth (no matter how much you charge), while working less all year round – even during these challenging times! Go to 5stepstoabundance.com to get my simple 5-step process accountants use to go from “waiting around for the busy season” to closing high-level clients who say YES to paying you what you’re worth (no matter how much you charge) and who actually appreciate the work you do for them!
This episode was brought to you by Xero. With Xero’s cloud accounting software, small businesses and accountants can work together and collaborate anytime, anywhere. With real-time financials, bank connections, unlimited users, and online invoicing, it’s beautiful accounting software that’s powered by people.
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About Dominique Molina
Dominique Molina has long been passionate about helping small businesses pay less tax. Unlike other CPAs, her practice, beyond annual tax return preparation, also emphasizes proactive tax planning strategies to help small businesses leverage the tax laws in the same way that large corporations and the wealthy do. Unsatisfied with bringing her tax-savings approach only to clients her own practice could reach, she created a company that trains and certifies CPAs to develop special expertise in tax planning in accordance with her own high standards for advisory excellence and tax reduction goals. The result is a growing network of CPAs who are successfully reaching some 90,000 small businesses throughout the country.
Molina’s mission to save clients from overpaying their taxes led in 2009 to her founding The American Institute of Certified Tax Planners (AICTP), a company she presides over as CEO. Certified Tax Planners are a leading group of tax professionals who are specially trained in the art of long term, proactive tax planning. AICTP trains and certifies CPAs to develop special expertise in tax planning, and it provides ongoing education, information, and other resources for accountants, advisors, and small business owners. Molina and the company provide a valuable service to the small business community, because AICTP member CPAs, as proactive tax planners, are advising their business owner clients throughout the year on strategies to minimize their annual tax liability by putting tax laws to work for them. By capitalizing on the wealth of tax-saving resources in the U.S. tax code, she and they are helping small businesses pay less tax in April, and retain more revenues for growth.
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Maximizing Actions To Take In A Recession With Dominique Molina
Welcome to the show. In this episode, we have a very special guest, Dominique Molina. She is the President and Founder of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners. She has many years of experience as a CPA. She has a Law degree. She’s worked with many top business owners and investors using proactive tax planning to help them keep more money from what they earn. Before we welcome Dominique to the show, I see way too many accounting professionals who are overworked, whoever works 12 to 14 hours a day, underpaid, not feeling like they’re getting paid your value and underappreciated.
If that’s you, I have created a five-step process for accountants to get confident in the way they’re positioning themselves to be the expert, get consistent high-quality referrals and easily get people to say yes to paying what you’re worth. Go to 5StepsToAbundance.com if you’re ready to stop waiting around for the busy season or when things simmer down a little bit during these crazy times and build a practice full of high-level clients who are happy to pay you the fees that you deserve and appreciate all the work you do for them. Let’s welcome Dominique to the show.
Thanks for having me back, Michelle.
It’s always awesome to have you here because we always have these very unique discussions for all of the accountants reading in the industry and how this industry is pretty much rock solid during any time of the year. Dominique, can you share a little bit about yourself in case someone doesn’t know who you are, which I highly doubt is the case but you never know.
I’m one of the top tax strategists in the country, Michelle. I am the CEO of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners. We work with tax accountants who become experts in the field of advanced tax reduction. We help them become certified tax planners. We’re working with CPAs, enrolled agents and accountants across the country who want to be able to do a lot more for their clients and help them save thousands of dollars in taxes even during a recession and get paid a lot more in the process. You’re a specialist so you get paid a lot more and it helps transform your tax practice as well.
It’s so interesting. I had a phone call with one of your new members who have a Master’s in Tax and a CPA. If they have a Law degree in tax, they’re only making $7,500 grand a year. With your knowledge, most people want to be making double that or at least $250,000 a year by themselves in their firm. You’re the expert in teaching them how to do that. Where do they need to go if they want to learn more about CTC?
Go to CertifiedTaxPlanners.com and let me say something about that. As someone with a Law degree and a CPA license and being in business for multiple decades, you can be the very best at what you do but if you aren’t able to communicate about the actual value that you bring people, it makes it very difficult to get paid much more beyond the so-called going rates. There are a lot of people scratching their heads out there.You can be the best at what you do, but if you can't bring actual value to people, you won't go beyond your going rates. Click To Tweet
I’m going to talk a little bit about opposites, Michelle, but it’s like the opposite of what you would think. You would think, “I’m the best at what I do. I have a great level of expertise. I’ve got years of experience and knowledge. People should pay me more or want to work with me.” A lot of times, people find the opposite is true.
People don’t understand how you’re different from other people out there with other providers. They don’t understand the wealth of knowledge and experience that you bring to the table. It doesn’t matter all the credentials that you have after your name if you can’t also master the other piece of that, which is communicating about it.
I believe in it. I’m a big fan and I love hearing all the stories of a lot of the CPAs you help be able to communicate that value with confidence and help more people too. A lot of the CPAs I’ve talked to don’t even have that technical knowledge but I know we’re not talking about that. I’m excited for you to be here.
In this episode, we are talking about maximizing actions to take in a recession, going into a recession and coming out of one, whatever you think and see this time of year. We’re going into the summer of 2020. There are all sorts of conversations going on, Dominique. If we could talk about the three main ways to maximize the actions that we take, what do you feel and what have you seen in the last months about maximizing the actions we take? What we do is going to set us apart from everyone else in the industry. When I say we, I put my accountant hat on, even though I’m not a CPA but I have a lot of CPA friends.
There’s so much fear and uncertainty about the future. As animals, which we all are, we have these instincts. That’s the fight, flight or freeze mechanism. When there’s a lot of fear out there, we have that response to either freeze or run away. By freezing, we may be saying, “I’ll wait to see what happens. I’ll wait for the future. I want to pause now because it is not the time to do anything.” The opposite of that is the fighting mechanism. Opposites come into play during this time. You want to do the opposite of what feels natural and comfortable if you want to be successful. It’s about acting in the now.
There’s a great quote that I love and it’s by a spiritual guru called Ram Dass. Ram Dass is the author of a book called Be Here Now. It’s about being present and living for the exact moment because that’s all we have. That’s all that is certain. What he says in his book is you don’t have to have that urge, desire or unfulfilled thing. Let it be, just be, be more. What’s holding you back? Your thoughts.
You’ve got to give them up. That’s ego planning. What are you doing? Planning for the future? It’s all now but later, forget it. That’s later. Now is now. Are you going to be here or not? It’s as simple as that. It’s about acting on what you know to be true now. We’re fortunate enough to work in an industry that does well in times of recession and during times of fruitfulness and abundance. Act on the now to take advantage of all of this that is here and the opportunities that are out there. Get involved now.
I am on the same page but what about some of those accountants whom I have had conversations with during a time of recession and transition? Some business clients will go out of business. When you see people canceling or can’t afford anymore, it goes back to fear, freeze and flight. They’re not focusing on what I think because this is a recession-proof industry.
The government put out all these new loans and laws. That gave you an abundance of new work that creates opportunities. This is the time to flourish and prosper. What would you say, if we’re going with, how do you maximize the actions that they can take for those that are a little like, “What am I going to do with the businesses that don’t make it and don’t survive?” The reality is some will but you can maybe even help them to see things from a different point of view. How can they sustain, survive and come out the other side even greater? What are your thoughts on that?
I hear a lot of future thinking when you bring this up, Michelle. It’s like the what if. “What if I lose these clients?” It’s all now. You forget it. You want to be able to attract the businesses that aren’t going to freeze or take flight. If you want the businesses that are going to fight, you want to be able to fight right in there with them. You have to also demonstrate the same behavior that you’re looking to attract in others.
It could be the opposite of what feels natural and comfortable, which is to stay doing the same old thing in your accounting practice. We have this unique position that we’re in as trusted advisors in the business community. We work with lots of different types of businesses. We’re in a unique opportunity even if you don’t have all the answers to how to help businesses become innovative and adapt their business model to what’s happening around them.
We can connect people so that they can collaborate, network and share resources and ideas to help these businesses adapt. It’s all about innovation. It’s about how can you take businesses that may be impacted negatively by the recession but help them be in a position to adapt their business model. Some cool things are happening out there with my business.Right now, it's all about innovation. It's about how you can take your business that may be impacted by the recession and adapt. Click To Tweet
Can you share 1 or 2 specific stories on how you saw a business that is a little struggling to adapt and pivot to use this opportunity to make the shifts that they’ve been dying to make but they didn’t even know they needed to make those shifts so everyone reading can get a real legit example of what you’re talking about because it’s brilliant?
It’s creative. It’s not about having the answers but helping people collaborate to come up with these things. For example, during the quarantine. All kinds of in-person businesses, brick and mortar, were shut down overnight without warning. It’s the ability for the business to pivot and take that business online, things like dance classes online so you can do it from your home.
I saw a business that does painting for corporate. Teams to help them do team building took that right online so that people could order the materials and do it right at home. The restaurant that was struggling shut down. What do they have the advantage of? They can get wholesale groceries at better pricing. What they did is started building care boxes with groceries to have people drive by and pick them up. What happens to a catering or events business when you have lockdown or social distancing? It can go bust unless there’s some innovation there.
Having the business owner be able to pivot and do hair packages there so that they could sell to retail, repackage and distribute hundreds of food boxes to seniors in need and take them directly to essential workers and selling them directly to the business. Those are the kinds of exciting innovations. The idea itself doesn’t have to come from you as an accountant but when you provide a forum, it could be that you create a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group.
You invite business owners from the community to participate so they can communicate with one another. It could be hosting town hall meetings so that they can communicate with one another. There are amazing things that come out of getting entrepreneurs together. The idea starts to take on an energy of its own and people attribute that good feeling and sense of well-being back to you who made that happen.
I’ve got a challenge for you, Dominique because there are a lot of accountants in the CTC community, people I’ve talked to and worked with, that work with a lot of doctors and dentists. What’s your innovative idea for them that you can think of? There are a few people that are seriously impacted. I know with my dentist. I don’t know what they’re going to do or a doctor who’s having to move into this Zoom meeting doctor appointment but you can’t do when we think about asking good questions and looking at people’s health. What innovative ideas would you say are available for some of these where CPAs and accountants work a lot with them and they’ve niched with them that they could provide?
It’s the power to unite those people. If I’m a solo dentist operating on my own, I may go to conferences once a year. I may have 2 or 3 of my dentist buddies that I can communicate with but if my accountant can unite me together with 100 local businesses in my community, it’s a great opportunity to hear and share resources and strategies and hear what other people are doing to make a change in their business.
To hear, “How much has your business gone down? How much rent did your landlord negotiate with you to reduce the amount of rent that you’re paying to get through this time?” That ability to connect people is our secret power. Coming from an introvert, Michelle, I can’t tell you how much that makes me cringe, the idea of having a cocktail mixer, hosting it and shaking hands with all these dentists and doctors.
We can’t shake hands anyway but you get the picture. It’s cringeworthy for me. I don’t have to do that. There are ways that I can help support by creating town hall meetings and connecting people in a social media group online so that they can connect. If you don’t have a niche business where you have 100 doctors or dentists, perhaps you have a business with 100 different types of business owners. There’s still a lot of value that can come out of that because oftentimes, somebody with a different perspective can see things about your business that you aren’t able to see yourself.
Also to come up with these innovative, unique ideas. For all of you reading, you know I love to work out. I didn’t work out for two weeks and I was going crazy. I begged my trainer. I’m like, “I got a Zoom account. We’re getting online. You need to write the workout. Here’s the thing. You’re going to offer weekly classes. It’s unlimited. For those of us that can’t sit all day, we’re going to come to class in the morning and at night because we’re at home anyway.”
We whipped it together in about a week’s period and it’s been super successful. It’s one of the things I look forward to when I wake up. There’s a way but what Dominique and I are sharing is your business clients and your clients need your help to think outside the box a little bit. Bringing the community together, connecting and even gathering your clients together is great.
What other ideas do you have, Dominique, for sharing how people can maximize their actions to thrive in a recession and come out of this on the other side? There’s a very small percentage of people that thrive as they’ve never probably thrived before if you remember the Great Depression. I’ve been reading this Forbes article about what happened in 1918 with the Spanish flu and during 9/11 when that came down. In 2008 and 2009, I remember that and all these changes but the most successful millionaires and billionaires came out at that time in the history of the world.
You know why. It’s because they acted in the now and they fought. They did what’s the opposite of what feels natural and comfortable. You want to demonstrate the behavior that you’re looking to see in your clients. Even being innovative and getting other businesses together automatically will attract people that like that and go, “I’ve never heard of an accountant doing that before.” Model the behavior you want to see in them.
If you want people to make an investment in you, you have to make an investment in yourself as well. If you want people who value your opinion and time, you need to demonstrate that behavior with those that you work with and are coached by or mentored by. That does a lot in terms of attracting the type of businesses that are exciting to work with, that appreciate what you do and that is rooting for you to succeed.
All too often, we hear in this industry about ungrateful clients that are very demanding and expect us to do all of this stuff but it’s fun. I got to tell you to work with clients that are like, “Can you find anything more? This is so great and exciting. Go.” You have to adopt that mental attitude as well. We can’t allow fear of the future and getting sucked into, “We did this before so we’re going to continue to tow the party line.” That’s living in the past and the future. It’s all about now.
You act in the now and fight for it. You demonstrate different behavior and thing that is not comfortable like gathering your clients altogether. You’re going to get new leads and referrals after this dust settles or whatever happens. They might see that even before that. You might get a referral by being the leader and taking the stand like, “If you need to figure out how to generate some revenue because you were stuck on lockdown for 4, 6 or 8 weeks,” however long this has gone on in different states. It varies.
This is an opportunity for pretty much free marketing. It takes time but you didn’t have to spend dollars, throw it on a wall and see what stuck. It was your time in connecting with people and in the time of distance and isolation and whatever we’ve been doing. Granted, everyone’s probably sick of Zoom, Skype and all that other stuff. We want human connection but when we get a human connection, we’re going to appreciate it at a whole different level.
Doing the opposite of what’s happening out there. We’re coming out of a time where I can’t even tell you how many daily emails I was getting doom and gloom during these crazy times. Do the opposite of that. It’s picking up the phone and saying, “John, I was thinking about you and I’m concerned about you because you had this and that going on. Tell me what’s happening with the business. I know airlines were affected and that directly impacts your business. Have you had any ideas? Could we sit and talk for a few minutes?”
Most accountants don’t make the time for that either because they don’t have the time, which believe me, I get. You’ve got to create the space for what’s important. The other thing is all too often we share a common fear like, “What if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to?” That’s ego getting in the way so what? I’m not an expert in the airline parts business. My client John is. I’m not afraid to say, “That’s a good question. Let’s think about that, John. I’d be happy to look more into that or collaborate with some of my peers and see if anybody has any ideas for you.” People appreciate that.
It helps you instantly stand out because the majority of accountants are not doing this. The majority of accountants are grumbling and complaining about the new laws, the compliance with those laws, the filings that have to be done and the confusion that’s out there. You can go ahead and live in that but I want you to think about when you do and entertain those ideas, who are you attracting? If you’re putting out this vibration of complaining and grumbling, are you attracting clients that will complain and grumble about you?
I’ve seen some complaints about compliance and the new laws but what’s grumbling?
Grumbling is being generally dissatisfied with anything. It’s like you can’t please the person. They didn’t even like the paper you printed the thing on. You can’t get it right. “You emailed me but it was too long. I didn’t want to read it.”
For each of you reading, one of the big takeaways that I’m seeing is that if a thought pops up in your head and it’s a negative one, do the opposite and start to track your results because that’s how you can maximize and thrive in this time, flourish and grow and start attracting those types of clients that you wanted that you had no idea you could even get. It didn’t even cost you any marketing dollars.
Going back to this idea of being in the now, feel those feelings come in because we all have them. This has been an emotional rollercoaster not knowing. There are times when you feel down, scared or fearful about the future. Sit with that. Don’t push it away so much as to say, “What have I felt like these other times in my life?” The truth is that we will get through this. This will pass and there have been many other times, most likely in your life when you’ve experienced similar feelings before.
You can be comfortable with sitting with it and recalling those times when you’ve emerged triumphantly and maybe even had solutions you don’t even know how it turned out the way it did but it did. You’re okay and you’re here. That allows you to return to the now to say, “Now I’m okay. I have everything I need. I’m working in a great industry that happens to be stable during times of recession and growth. I want to help other people be able to do the same thing.”
Dominique, thank you so much for being here with us on the show. It’s always an honor to have you and a pleasure. Is there anything else that maybe we didn’t talk about that you want to share on how an accounting professional can maximize their actions to take in the now during a time of entering a recession or in a recession that we have not discussed yet?
Getting back to my specialty, which is planning. Planning is about the now. Planning is not about recording what happened last year. Planning is all about what we have now. What do we know to be true now that’s going to help set this person up to keep a lot more of their hard-earned money in their pocket? With this interesting time that we’re in, there are so many opportunities with new tax breaks and opportunities to file amended returns and get cash back.Planning is not about recording what happened last year, it's about the now. Click To Tweet
There’s a lot of analysis that can be done where we can truly be in the driver’s seat in helping these business owners do what’s very best to get their hands on what they need to succeed. That’s planning. That is a little bit different than what most accountants do and that is a specialty. That means you get paid premium fees to do it but now is the time. If you’re looking for help, get in touch with us here at the institute. If you don’t need help because this is something you’re already doing, at least get paid very well to do it.
I’m all about that. This is abundance in your bank account, revenue and the types of clients that you’re working with. I was talking to a CPA. He does $2 million in revenue and only 70 clients. That’s a great business. Thank you so much, Dominique, for being here with us. It’s a pleasure and honor to have you.
It was great being here. Thanks, Michelle. Stay healthy.
Thank you all so much for joining Dominique and me on another episode. It’s always great to have her. She never has any time so thank you, Dominique, for sharing all of your ideas on how to maximize the actions to take entering a recession and in a recession. Whatever you think we’re in now, it’ll benefit you.
I would say the main takeaway is if you have a thought and it’s not a positive one, do the opposite and think about what you can do now. What do you have control over now? If you want to read the book that she recommended, it is not a business tax book. This might offset your days very nicely. It’s called Be Here Now. You can probably find that on Amazon.
If you are one of those accountants that are overworked, underpaid or maybe even underappreciated, I have created a simple five-step process for you so that you can feel confident positioning yourself as the expert, get consistent high-quality referrals and easily get people to say yes to you and pay you what you’re worth. If you want to check that out, head on over to 5StepsToAbundance.com.
Stop waiting around for the busy season or when the right time comes for you. There’s never a good time. Generate an accounting practice full of high-level clients who are happily paying you the fees you deserve and appreciate your work. Think about what you can do at the moment, take action now and do the opposite of what you think you should be doing if you have a negative thought. Have a beautiful day. I’ll see you in the next episode.