Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Vimal Bava, a certified public accountant and website developer in Bryant, Ark., a suburb of Little Rock.
Bava markets himself as “The Backpack CPA” because of the digital backpack he carries around. He advises accountants, bookkeepers, and other tax professionals on how to create their own marketing stories to build their brand. He also serves as a technology consultant and “mindset coach” for tax pros.
Outside of work, Bava enjoys playing cricket and pickleball, and spending time with his 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. “Both are tax season babies—they always ask for a big birthday, and I have to give them the tax season excuse,” he said.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? Chief problem solver—I enjoy designing and creating solutions for different pain points. I developed getW9.tax to help collect and store IRS Form W-9. I started working on this system in 2019 out of frustration with how clients would not get W-9s, and then every January, we’d go on this marathon of chasing down contractors’ and vendors’ information to help clients file their 1099s. I started using it internally for my own clients and laterhad the system updated and improved. I made it available for everyone around March 2022. I do administer the system and kind of wear all the hats in running the getW9 system and business.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Book. I’m reading several books on sales and human psychology. As part of the getw9 journey, I’ve learned that building and developing is the easiest part, and selling and sales is the hardest part. A couple of books are: “To Sell Is Human” by Daniel H. Pink and “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. I hated reading in high school and college, but now I really enjoy it.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Working on partnerships that own rental real estate.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? The Netflix series “Explained,” most recently its episode on chess.
What college did you attend and what did you study? University of Central Arkansas for my undergraduate degree and Ball State University for my graduate degree—accounting at both.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee (black, no sugar or milk).
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Building wealth is like Legos—it takes time and patience to build, one brick at a time. Don’t look for quick results, take your time and enjoy the process.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Coding—developing software solutions.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world - an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever - what would it be? I would introduce a 10-question test you have to pass before you are issued an IRS Employer Identification Number, especially if you apply for an EIN for a limited liability company.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Pistachios.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? For 2021, probably the ability to take an above-the-line deduction for donations, since most didn’t have enough to itemize.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Buy some I-bonds and then put the rest in my kids’ savings account.
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