Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on entrepreneurial CPA Catherine Tindall.
Tindall says that she started out like many millennials—idealistic about changing the world by living a simple life. She homesteaded and worked on organic farms in the U.S. and Europe for several years with her husband before pivoting to accounting.
She is still driven to change the world, she says, but now her focus is doing so through her business. “At a time when so many in my generation are being left behind economically,” she explains, “I want to blaze a trail in my profession, which is seeing a huge deficit of young people.” She hopes to show that the field still holds excellent opportunities for younger people, both as professionals and entrepreneurs.
What’s your official title, and what does it mean? I’m a CPA and partner of a tax firm that I started with a friend. After several years of working in other capacities at various firms, I decided to go out on my own rather than following a traditional partner track. I’ve loved the change in mindset that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? I love reading, but these days I’ve found myself gravitating to podcasts. There’s no easier way to learn from the insights of others while keeping up with a busy schedule.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? The focus of our firm is high-impact tax planning for entrepreneurs, especially those with a lot of complexity in their situations, like real estate investors. We maintain a small client base to keep things personal, focused, and proactive.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I watched “The Witch” on Halloween, which was better than expected both as a horror film and as a portrayal of the mindset of my New England Puritan ancestors—who are so often maligned and caricatured. And it just so happens that the director comes from the next town over from us in New Hampshire!
What college did you attend, and what did you study? I started at Thomas Aquinas College, a very small liberal arts school tucked away in the mountains south of Ojai in southern California. Being what’s called a “Great Books” school, the entire curriculum involved reading and discussing the classic works of Western thought with fellow classmates. It was very different from the more conventional accounting degree I would later complete at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, but it had a big effect on my personal formation.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Tea!
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? He is the richest who is content with the least. Hedonic adaptation is something to always watch out for.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I would love to work on developing software that helps other tax professionals with advisory services. Other than that, I’ve always wanted to expand my herb garden to grow ingredients for custom herbal teas.
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 love a small food producer credit for local farms to be more competitive with industrial agriculture. As occasional homesteaders, my husband and I have an abiding interest in alternative agriculture and have friends who work in that area. It’s a tough business and one that could use all the help it can get.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s pre-prepared foods when I’m in a pinch.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? Pending tax reform has been harrowing for planning. The uncertainty and potential impact on clients—especially retroactive changes—has left everybody on edge.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Most likely reinvest into the practice, I’m a sucker for shiny new technology.
You can find Tindall on Linked In.
You can find out more about her company on their website.
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