Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Isai B. Cortez, a tax attorney and founder of SynkBooks, a website that offers bookkeeping software for small businesses. He started the Los Angeles-based business in 2019 after representing small businesses in tax court over erroneous tax returns, mostly caused by faulty bookkeeping.
Over the last six months, Cortez says, Synkbooks sales have grown more than 300% and the firm now employs seven people. He says the key to success is giving customers a “too-good-to-be-true experience.” The Diamond Bar, Calif., resident is also an an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.
In his spare time, Cortez likes golfing with his family and traveling the world, especially places where he, his wife, and their son and daughter can “eat amazing food and learn about new cultures.” His favorite destinations are Barcelona and Tokyo. “I’m in love with both those cities—I can’t get enough,” he says.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? CEO of Tax Lab, Inc. The name of the corporation is Tax Lab, Inc., and the product is SynkBooks, So think QuickBooks owned by Intuit.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? In my free time, I play golf or basketball.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Controversy. Finding the issue, and then fixing it. I enjoy helping my clients through challenging situations.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? “The Witcher.”
What college did you attend and what did you study? Cal State Northridge, business administration.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Mestizo Coffee.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? At a panel with the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division, I heard being forthcoming with bad facts to examiners keeps you out of the CID referrals.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Pro bono tax, which I get to do as an adjunct professor. I love it!
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? Allow 100% deduction of interest for those paying back their student loans, regardless of income.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Charcuterie.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for sure.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Convince my wife to take a golf vacation somewhere in Utah or Colorado.
Find out more about Cortez’s business, Synkbooks, on its website.
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