From Felon to Firm Owner: An Unconventional Path in Accounting

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Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!

Scott Scarano: [00:00:00] Well, you have to learn by doing everything I did in life, I learned by doing. I didn't learn anything in the classroom, which is so ironic that I have this accounting high because and that's part of the reason it's the play on that school thing, because I never learned anything in school. I didn't learn anything in any school I went to. It was always in real life, learning from others, learning from each other, like you said, like I was learning from other people.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:26] If you'd like to earn CPE credit for listening to this episode, visit Earmark Cpcomm. Download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. Continuing education has never been so easy. And now on to the episode. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the show. I'm Blake Oliver. And joining me today is Scott Scarano. Hey, Scott. How are you doing?

Scott Scarano: [00:00:54] How's it going, homie?

Blake Oliver: [00:00:55] It's going great. A little hot here in Arizona, but it's a dry heat.

Scott Scarano: [00:01:01] And we have a wet heat in here. North Carolina is very humid. So go outside and it looks like I jumped in the pool.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:10] So, Scott, when we met, I did not take you for a firm owner. I got to be honest.

Scott Scarano: [00:01:16] I don't act like a firm owner. I don't know what honestly, I don't know how I act or what I act like. So what was your first impression?

Blake Oliver: [00:01:25] Well, you don't look like one. So this was before I'd even spoken to you. We met through Michael Lee, our mutual friend and colleague.

Scott Scarano: [00:01:34] Shout out to Michael Lee.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:35] Michael Lee, owner of Reconciled, who happens to also be here most of the time in the Phenix area down in Tempe. And. You. And he organized a gathering here in Scottsdale of accountants. Very informal. Not a conference. Some might call it an unconference. We all got together and I met you there. I saw you there. And I thought to myself, this is another one of Michael Lee's collectibles. He likes to collect people. He does, right. Sometimes he'll just, like, be out at a bar and he'll meet somebody and he'll end up becoming friends with them and bring them around to events.

Scott Scarano: [00:02:15] This did happen at that event. He met some stand up comedian in line on on the way into a bar. They didn't even end up going. It was like a club or a bar. And he brought him back to the hotel and we were hanging out with him, forgot the dude's name, but he still talks to him to this day and they just met randomly.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:33] So thought you were that.

Scott Scarano: [00:02:35] And then I was just that.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:37] And, you know, I mean. You got to give me some leeway here because, like, you don't dress like a firm owner. I mean, you look like a rapper, right? Scott, You got the chain, You got the hat.

Scott Scarano: [00:02:50] You know, it's funny. Then I. I didn't even have the chain yet, but that's when I had the idea for the chain. I remember talking to Kenji and I told him, I said, I'm going to find a Superman chain. I'm going to get one of those. Oh, you didn't have it yet. I didn't have it yet. No. But in my mind, I was a rapper back then. I hadn't even started rapping yet at that point. Okay. Yeah, Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:10] Well, we should let our listeners know that you go by OKR, which.

Scott Scarano: [00:03:16] Is a name you helped me come up with.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:18] I am so happy because I love OKRs objectives and key results, but in your case it means okay. Rapper Yeah, and you are one of the few accountant rappers in the world, I think the only firm owner who is also a rapper. And you recently gave gave I was going to say gave a session or presentation, but you recently rapped at Joe Woodard's scaling new heights on the main stage. So you are now officially like you've done it right. You're a pro now.

Scott Scarano: [00:03:51] I was the rapper. I wasn't the accountant, I wasn't the podcaster, I was the rapper at that event. That was life changing, that that changed my life doing that. It was it was amazing. It was thrilling. I felt alive on stage, But that was like my goal. Like in the my goal was just to make normalize this or at least like, you know, most accountants don't even like rap, to be honest. And I know that that's this is an uphill battle. But, you know, this is something that I've always had a passion for, something I've always loved. And it's been in my heart like just to want to do this. So to have the ability to do it. And then I've only been doing it for like less than a year and then performing on stage. I'm and, and we were just in Italy together because of a rap I wrote for Expensify.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:39] That's right.

Scott Scarano: [00:04:40] Like, so you've done all these things have happened. It's just about being different.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:44] You've done it twice now at least, and you're going to do another one. You're going to do a rap at the unique conference in Chicago at the end of August. Yeah, I'm looking.

Scott Scarano: [00:04:52] Forward to that one today, actually. So that's a that's the just to shout out to the whole conference. And for anybody that's thinking about going, it's going to be amazing. Blake's going to be there, I'll be there. Lots of our friends are going to be there. And I'm doing a track. And this time it's not rap or it's kind of rap. It's bridging the gap between rap and rock because that's the theme of the conference is bridging the gap.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:13] Bridging the gap.

Scott Scarano: [00:05:14] So I'm doing a Bridge of the Chili Peppers under the Bridge and Give it Away, which Weird Al Yankovic has already done once. And I'm doing a parody of a parody, so I'm parodying Weird Al's parody of the same song and then doing a parody of the video, too. It's going to be dope.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:33] It'll be fun. I can't wait. It's gonna be so good. But going back to when you and I met. Yeah. I thought you were a rapper. I thought you were not an accountant, not a firm owner. And then we got to talking, and I find out not only do you have your own accounting firm with employees and clients, it's quite successful.

Scott Scarano: [00:05:51] It is pretty successful. I you know, sometimes I downplay actually all the time. I downplay anything that I've done because I always think people are doing it better and I always think it can be done better. So I don't really you know, I don't even consider it humble. I just think it's like it's nothing to even talk about. Like, I don't have I have a podcast too, and I don't talk about this much.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:14] To be fair. And your podcast is called Accounting High, so everyone go subscribe to Accounting High long form interviews. Great, great content on there. You've inspired me actually with your interview skills. Really? Scott Yeah, You get people to open up in a way that they don't on a typical webinar or even a podcast like I do. So, you know, I've learned from you, Well.

Scott Scarano: [00:06:39] You're the reason I'm doing this. You're the reason I'm doing podcasts in general. You've been my inspiration from the beginning, even, you know, around that time when we first met to like, you've been a mentor to me in this space. And if it wasn't for podcasting, I wouldn't be doing the rapping. So in a way, you've led to that too.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:57] Well, that's awesome. I learned from you. You learned from me. This is this is the the best part about collaborating and meeting people in this space. And it's why accountants should get out and meet other accountants, if you ask me, is that we learn so much from each other and we inspire each other. But one one area that you've definitely got me bested is with your firm. And I want people to know more about your firm. You said you don't really talk that much about it because. You're kind of you're modest about it. But I think it's it's something that really surprised me. And I want to talk about it because I think it's really surprising. It will be really surprising to others when they learn what you've accomplished. And and I think when we talk about success and we talk about like successful firms, we've got to really define what do we mean by that? Some people, a lot of people historically, it's all top line revenue, right? How much money does your firm bring in the door and how many people do you employ? And nobody talks about like the thing that really matters, which is profit at the end of the day, you know? And I think that's unfortunate. So I don't think of success that way. And I don't think you do either. Know what what to me in a small firm define success is the ability for you as an owner to own the business and not have to be in it in order for it to run. You want to create something that can run without you. And if you do that, it's great because now you've got an asset that just kicks out cash to you for minimal work every single month. And that's what you've built pretty much.

Scott Scarano: [00:08:34] And you know, one thing you said to me too, a lot of things that I've done are accidentally on purpose. You know, like I'm driven to make decisions. I'd make a lot of mistakes, but I'm just driven by something. And then you can look at it in hindsight and it's like, Oh, wow, this was the master plan all along. And it wasn't like a lot of things happened by accident. I think a lot of this whole idea of working on a firm that all came from E-Myth when I first read that, and that was years ago, probably 8 or 9 years ago. And the whole idea of trying to build something that could work without you, I thought was more of a pipe dream than anything else. Because especially early days, I was like anybody else, working 80 hours, just always working, always working. And I think that's just a character trait of mine because I'm doing it now with the reps and the podcast. I'm working just as much as I was, so don't think that if you can get away from one thing, you can't get away from yourself. I'm still like just spending way too much time on certain things and trying to perfect things. And that's how I was at the firm. You know, everything needed me. I was the bottleneck for everything. So, you know, I was the reason things would slow down. I was the I was also the reason for things to speed up. I was changing things, but it was always me in the way I was, in the way of everything progressing at the firm. But I took us to you know, my first goal was we got to get to a million. Like that was just the number that was the mark to hit, and it seemed attainable.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:08] So you've built you've built a firm that does over $1 million a year in revenue.

Scott Scarano: [00:10:13] Or almost 2 million.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:14] Almost 2 million. And how many people work for your firm?

Scott Scarano: [00:10:20] It's been up and down. We had 12 at one point. Now we have like five if you don't count me and four in the Philippines. So.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:28] And are you the only owner?

Scott Scarano: [00:10:30] I'm the only owner.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:31] Okay. One owner. And. Sorry, what was the head count? You said.

Scott Scarano: [00:10:34] It's five in the US and.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:36] Four.

Scott Scarano: [00:10:37] In the Philippines.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:37] Okay. So nine and you? So ten total approaching $2 million a year in revenue. Well, that's pretty great. Revenue per head. Not bad there, right? Almost 200 getting to 200 K a year. You're based in North Carolina, but your team is remote.

Scott Scarano: [00:10:54] Yeah, we used to have an office and we don't anymore. We are fully remote, but all five people on my team all live close to me, so we all kind of get together. We're friends, you know, I don't see them that much. I don't see them like I used to. I used to go into the office every day.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:11] And how much do you work on the firm and in the firm on a weekly basis? Would you say if you had to guess or do you track your time?

Scott Scarano: [00:11:21] I well, I go to our 20 minute stand up meetings a few times a week and don't go to all of them. So maybe maybe 40 minutes, maybe an hour.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:32] A week, 40 minutes to an hour a week.

Scott Scarano: [00:11:35] But the big thing is, is I don't think about it like I used to. Like, it's not always on my mind because I have other things on my mind. So that's when it's really on autopilot is when you don't have to think about it, when you really can just kind of look at look at the results. And we're doing better than we ever have at the firm.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:52] So do you mind sharing? What's your bottom line?

Scott Scarano: [00:11:55] Yeah. So last year it was 550 take home for me as the owner. I think it's sustainably going to be about 400. And that's like last year was an aberration because we had a lot of ERC type stuff and other special things. So it was a little bit of a bonus. But yeah, not bad. Sustainably, it's it is a cash machine. It is printing money and, and I'm very appreciative of my team. I've got a great team like that's, that's why all of this is possible. Yeah. And they stuck they stuck with me through years of you know the reason why it works so well is because they know how it used to be to, like, my whole team likes it better when I'm not around. I've gotten out of the way. I know your co-host, David Leary, likes to talk about that, too. Like how I've gotten out of their way and I've gotten out of the way. And that's why they're thriving. That's why everybody's thriving. And that's a hard thing to get. Like, it was a hard thing for me to work through mentally, too. I got real depressed, like as I got out of the work because I felt like I wasn't needed. I felt like I didn't have like a, um, you know, I wasn't contributing. I felt like I needed to contribute so we can go a little bit deeper in that part too. But just to like, yeah, talk about the bigger picture and the numbers. Yeah. I mean.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:16] You know, it's. I just got to emphasize the number, right? 20% net profit on you're going to do about $2 million in revenue and you're going to take home 400 K a year. And is that like are you happy with that? Are you going to keep growing? Um.

Scott Scarano: [00:13:33] I'm growing something else. Like that's, that's the that's the whole thing too, is there? My team's happy. You know, we're, we're, they're not really growing. We grew bottom line by a lot and when we can talk about like the trajectory and what, you know what happened on the way to get there like I'm on the other side of a lot of a lot of things right now. I don't think we're going to grow that much, though. Like and that's okay. Like my team, I would prefer they grow as people and grow other areas of their life if they're happy with what they're doing because they don't really care if we get a whole ton of new bunch of new clients, it's always stress for them. Yeah, and for me, I'm growing something else right now. I'm growing this rap career that I started and I'm growing this this accounting high thing that started as just a podcast and it's going to be like a school and an entertainment platform, a media platform and tournaments and sports and stuff. So.

Blake Oliver: [00:14:27] Well, I mean, and that's there's nothing wrong with that, right? Like, not every firm needs to grow to be a top 100 firm.

Scott Scarano: [00:14:36] But that's against a lot of what you hear a lot and that's what you started out with. This is like everybody's talking about top line. That's why I felt inferior to a lot of my other peers is they keep talking about getting to 10 million or 5 million and all these big numbers, and I'm sitting there like I was stuck at 1.2 million for like six years. That was the ceiling. I hit run the firm and I couldn't get past that. But that's because I was in the way. Little did I know. I didn't know at the time. I was in the way of getting past that. But it was I.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:09] Feel like that's really common. I want to talk about that. I want to talk about. You said it was causing you stress, too.

Scott Scarano: [00:15:16] Oh, for sure, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:17] So you felt like bad about. And what did you say? It was like you felt bad about getting out of the work or not doing the work. You felt like you weren't useful.

Scott Scarano: [00:15:29] I felt guilty. Guilty? I felt guilty that other people were doing the work and I'm just getting paid to do it. That's the mindset, though. That's like they don't think I should feel guilty. They're like, they're going to be doing the same thing either way. And in most cases, I was making their job harder. So their jobs are easier now, but I still feel that guilty. Like I just and also like just the feeling of what if something bad happened? Like what if somebody quit? What if one of my key guys, like my management team all of a sudden decided they don't want to do this anymore? Like, that's something that I don't know if I'd be able to handle because I've already had this big mindset shift and now I'm like really feeding to the creative side of my brain. I don't know if I could go back to analytical. I don't know if I could go back to doing work again. That would be, you know, I just get bored really easily now too. Like I couldn't sit still and do do the stuff I used to do and I used to be that used to thrill me. I used to love like taking it tie and everything, doing a tax return. It was all puzzles to me. I loved it. I loved the accounting.

Blake Oliver: [00:16:32] When you're working 80 hours to build a firm from scratch, you have to love the work.

Scott Scarano: [00:16:38] And so maybe we should start with the beginning, too, because it wasn't from scratch. When I was hired, I was just working for like, you know, to to put the whole thing in perspective. I'm not a CPA. It was going to be really hard for me to uphill battle for me to get my CPA because I have a felony. There's all there's a there's a history there. So I was I was working at some CPA firm, a couple CPA firms. I got fired from a lot of jobs. I'm just not a very good employee in general. I worked for you, too. I didn't get fired, but I got replaced. But, you know, like I. I could have. I had an opportunity at a local CPA firm and they were going to start me at about 40,000 a year. And and I also got this job. Oh, no, they were going to start me at about 50 or 60. I think it was substantially more than the other offer I got. And it was this this one guy, he was at this place called Paget Business Services, and I thought it was a recruiter. I didn't even know what it was. When I went into the interview, he was just there by himself.

Scott Scarano: [00:17:38] He had one person helping that was about to go off to college. They were like pre college and he just needed a helper. But something that he said during the interview when I realized this isn't a recruiter is he's looking to retire in about five years and he's looking to have somebody kind of just take the reins and give them freedom. And that's what I thrive off of, is like first having something that's already started and the groundwork they were at about he was at about 90,000 gross per year, like when I started and it was a franchise. So I started and he gave me full freedom to do whatever I want. And he sent me to the headquarters and I did some sales training, which was a whole other story in itself. They were telling me I needed to go door to door and this was like 2010. And they said, This is how you market. And I said, What about online? And they said, That doesn't work. And I said, I'm going to go do it my own way. So from the beginning, I never did. I never followed their systems. I never really followed their their path there.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:38] So you got a job with a guy who was a pageant franchisee? Yeah. And was he just solo at that point?

Scott Scarano: [00:18:44] Just solo? Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:45] Okay. So he's pulling in, like, 90 K. Just himself. Gives you a job.

Scott Scarano: [00:18:49] He's not even pulling that much in because he was still he had expenses after that. That was top line. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:53] That's that's pretty. Yeah. Sustenance, you know, farming for yourself. Kind of living there. Okay. But he gave you a job and gave you an opportunity.

Scott Scarano: [00:19:01] And it was my job to grow it to like, so he wanted me to grow it. And then he said one day, you know, in five years I'm going to be exiting. You can just buy it from me and we'll work that out. And, you know, the plan was that he was going to just do a profit share with me. So for the five years it was like by the second year, I think basically it was just and I was keeping up with the books. It was just profit split down the middle. So he's paying me pretty good because it was growing fast. Like once I left that training, I started doing things my own way differently than the franchise and they started taking notice and they were paying a lot of attention to what I was doing because it was different. That was around the time I found Zero and we started growing a lot with Zero. We started doing. We also found Zenpayroll, so we took all of our after the fact payroll. We put that on Zen and we started to really streamline. I was hiring people. I was learning, you know, I wasn't really learning how to become a business owner because I wasn't a business owner. I was sort of just an employee running by the seat of my pants trying to grow the thing like and it was growing really fast and the owner was not involved at all. So he was sort of absent at the time too. But that was how he wanted it and that was how he designed it. He didn't really think I was going to take it and run with it like I did, but by the time I bought it from him in about five years, we were at 550,000. So and that's what I bought it for too. Got it. So I took it.

Blake Oliver: [00:20:21] You didn't start from scratch, but I mean, almost.

Scott Scarano: [00:20:26] Almost, almost, almost. Yeah. And but it was at least a foundation, so I just wanted to clear that up too. Yeah, this is still part of the story. Like, as I'm growing, you know, like anything else, if you're growing real fast, it's crazy. We had a lot of turnover. I didn't really know how to manage people, but one guy that I ended up that ended up starting, he just wanted to do taxes for like a season. He just kind of wanted to learn. He was in school for real estate. He went to high school with me. He was a few years younger than me, but we knew a lot of the same people and he just started working for me then just to kind of like do this on the side. And he stayed and he's my ops manager now, like he's been it's been 13 years, I think. So, you know, a lot of these things did happen by accident. We were just friends. You know, we kind of worked well together. But man made a lot of mistakes early on. Still a lot of mistakes like, oh, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:22] Well, you can't you can't be in business and be doing something different and not make mistakes. Yeah, I like to say that four out of five things I do don't work.

Scott Scarano: [00:21:32] You know? Yeah, that sounds pretty accurate. But those you learn so much from those four two and the one that does work, you wouldn't learn that much if it just worked. Like, take take a lot of the good stuff for granted. Sometimes it's.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:44] Also like in basketball, I'm not a big sports guy, but I love sports metaphors when it comes to.

Scott Scarano: [00:21:52] Business best.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:53] And like, one of the things that really inspires me is this counterintuitive idea in like basketball that the players who score the most points, they aren't actually that much better than any other player. They just somehow get more shots or they get more at bats. Or they get more playtime.

Scott Scarano: [00:22:16] And like the Wayne Gretzky quote. More shots at the goal. The more opportunity you have, the more chance it'll go in.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:23] Exactly. Or, you know. If you're like on one of those dating apps, right? It's like, not that I do that.

Scott Scarano: [00:22:30] More shots at the goal right now.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:32] My brother in law was gaming, you know, a tinder for a while and or he was like a pickup artist at, you know, bars. And he's like, yeah, it's you got to ask for numbers. It's a numbers game. It's just like sales, right? You got to the more the more the more meetings you have, the more likely you are to close deals. It's a numbers game and.

Scott Scarano: [00:22:50] That's all it was at the firm, too. It was a big numbers game. I was I was all I was doing was sales. That's my mind has always been on sales. I've been selling things since I was a kid. I used to sell CDs at school. I used to sell, um, sold vacuums for a while. I sold TVs. I've, I've sold you name it. I've sold it. You sold drugs? I did. I did.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:12] So I got to address this felony. Yeah, You kind of offhandedly mentioned there. Yeah.

Scott Scarano: [00:23:18] And I'm trying to talk less about that because that's not, like, the most impressive thing. And it's also not something I should be proud of. But I did learn a lot from that. I will say like, honestly, I learned most of my business knowledge about running a business or doing things from those experiences in life, whether it's sales, you know, you learn a lot about people in sales, but early on in the firm I started doing menu pricing, three options. I learned that from when I was doing options for different grades of different grades of of, of drugs, basically. Really? That was yeah, I was selling three options back.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:54] Then and want to be clear that, well, I'm assuming that once you started your firm that was after you had cleaned up your act. Yeah. Okay. So when you were younger, when when was the when was the misadventure?

Scott Scarano: [00:24:08] The misadventure that was like, I don't know exactly what year, but whatever the math is, you were in high school before. It was about two years before I started at that firm. So it was it was right out of high school in college, you know, like the first and second year of college was basically where that started. And that was just big opportunity. It was the money that I was attracted to more than anything else. I was I was making money and I thought I was doing stuff that everybody else would be doing anyway. Like in my group of friends, you know, we would be it was just one of those things. Again, I can't justify it, but it was opportunity and somebody somebody was going to do it anyway. So that's I always I always see those opportunities and, and I've always been like in large groups of people. I've always I've always been the last one at the party. So, you know, and talking to everybody, I'm more of a social chameleon. I could talk to anybody. It's kind of like Michael Lee, you know, put me in any situation with any person so I could go from the streets to the classroom and everything else in between.

Blake Oliver: [00:25:17] So you were a natural connector of people with what they wanted.

Scott Scarano: [00:25:21] Connector Yeah. And find an opportunities. And that was that was the whole sales thing and big lessons learned through that whole process. But, you know, even to this day, I just saw my high school friends, a lot of my high school friends and one of my buddies that was kind of doing this with me, he told me he's learning about three option pricing and he immediately thought of me and he immediately thought about what I was doing back then. And he told me this a couple of weeks ago.

Blake Oliver: [00:25:46] Okay. So I got to ask about the similarities then between pricing illegal drugs and pricing accounting services. Well, there's I have to know.

Scott Scarano: [00:25:55] So the similarities is really just it's it's the same thing in the theory that Ron Baker talks about like everybody's going to be attracted to that middle. And I knew that. So it was the way I priced it and my margins were the same on all three. So it was heavily cut. It was medium cut or it was uncut, and that was really pricey. But everybody wants the uncut, so if they're going to pay for that, they're going to pay a lot more. They're going to pay almost double the medium price. And the medium price is very similar to the low end, but nobody wants to pay for the low end. And usually I wouldn't sell that much of that. Everybody would always go for the middle. 90% of people, 80, 90% of people. Some people would go for the Top End and the people that would go for the low end probably shouldn't be messing around anyway. Like they're not going to do them any good. But so all that said, like I and there was other things too, you know, like there's but that you know, it's not like I went to school for that either. While I was in school, I changed majors.

Scott Scarano: [00:26:51] I went to school for accounting. At first, that's why I went to school. I was going to be an accountant. My grandfather's a CPA. My dad was a CPA. He's in tech now. But I grew up with this. It's in my blood. I was going to be an accountant and then I lost my way during that time. And then I wanted to be an entertainer. That's when I wanted to be a rapper. That's when I wanted to start doing like, screenwriting and directing and films and had a TV show at school. And we've talked about this too, but that's when the creative side really came out until I got arrested. And so right now, I'm like. How we just started the episode. I'm picking up where I left off back then and now I'm doing the things that I wanted to do my first year of college. I'm doing them now after the accounting thing has like, like served its its role in my life. Like it's, it's a huge part of my life and that's why I'm using it as the medium of entertainment that I'm doing. And it's for that audience. But that's because that audience is me and it always has been.

Blake Oliver: [00:27:49] So I know that. I know that you got arrested in college. Yeah. And then they kicked you out of college.

Scott Scarano: [00:27:57] My first college, and then I ended up going to a private school. So I went to Unk, Chapel Hill, which was my dream school. Just getting in there was was a big deal, like, especially when you're from here, from North Carolina and, and none of my friends got in. So I was like one of the only ones of all of our friends that got in. So it was like a really big deal for me. And then to get kicked out in my second year like, God, I can just imagine how my parents, what they went through and what I put them through. Like, you know, now that I'm a parent too. But yeah, and, but I still was able to finish up like there was, you know, a lot that went on in the median middle there. But I ended up finishing school.

Blake Oliver: [00:28:39] You ended up going back to school, but like, so you didn't. So you got arrested. You got charged with a felony. And I take it you did a plea deal?

Scott Scarano: [00:28:49] Yeah, I did. I did. I did. Some days I have to. I had to check in and check out of of jail like it was one of those where it was like a suspended sentence. And I was on probation and I got kicked out of school. And like all the all those things were happening. And then I started working a lot and going to school at the same time. So I was waiting tables and I was.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:12] So So this after this, like you decided, I'm not going to do this anymore?

Scott Scarano: [00:29:17] Oh, yeah, that wasn't that wasn't going to be after that. That was like that was a little bit of an aberration. And I was living in a little bit of a fantasy world, too. So then I realized, okay, now I got to do something stable. Now I got to do something that I can make some real money doing and something that I'm fairly good at. Like I always placed out of math classes, I was always real good at math, so accounting just came easy. All that stuff came so easy to me. It wasn't like it wasn't like I had to try when it when it came to math, it was very hard. The creative stuff was very difficult. And that was that was challenging to me. But I loved it.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:51] You liked your accounting classes?

Scott Scarano: [00:29:53] I did, yeah. They were they were just a breeze. Like I just. It was bored. Boring, almost. What I what I loved was the working with people aspect. And that's what I got. That's what filled me up when I was working at some of those other CPA firms. I wasn't interacting with anybody. It wasn't until I started at this smaller firm that I have now, the pageant that I was actually working with clients, and I felt that impact that I could have on them and what I could do, you know, just what I could do. When I'm interacting with people, I'm always best when I'm with somebody else, when I'm working in a team or I'm working with somebody directly, I'm not good by myself because it's just I just get bored.

Blake Oliver: [00:30:31] So yeah. All right. So so let's jump back to where we left off, which was you took the firm from like 90,000 to about half a million in revenue. You bought the firm at that point. And I take it you're still working crazy hours at this point, right?

Scott Scarano: [00:30:49] More than crazy hours, because then it was like, I've got to grow this now. I just invested a whole bunch of money. Owner financed it, so it was like paying it off over a certain period of time and it was just a race to get to a million at that point. And I did it within a couple of years. I went from 500 to 1 million. Within two years, maybe, maybe less. It was like, I know we grew 400,001 year, so it wasn't that long to get to a million. And that was all because of zero. And like us working with a lot of these apps too, that's what was fueled a lot of our growth.

Blake Oliver: [00:31:25] Not a lot of firms in 2010, 2015 even were doing cloud and.

Scott Scarano: [00:31:31] Not a lot were on the zero directory.

Blake Oliver: [00:31:32] Not a lot were.

Scott Scarano: [00:31:33] You were before you sold. And then and Nick I used to see bookkeeper 360. I used to see Acuity on there and some others you used to see BNA. My other, my first co-host on the.

Blake Oliver: [00:31:44] On the show was number two on the on the bookkeeper directory. I'm pretty sure Nick was number one. Oh yeah. And he and I had the whole country to ourselves for quite a while. It was amazing.

Scott Scarano: [00:31:56] And it was amazing how people would find us and us too. Like we were pretty early on. We would show up first. In most states we had we found a little hack where if we opened up a client in that state and we had enough overall points that we showed up first in that whole state too. So all we did was have a few clients in each different state, or we changed one of our client's addresses and we showed up in that state and then we were the first. And we would get we would get clients like crazy in some of these states. And the only other person that was doing that was Nick at Bookkeeper 360. He had a sales guys go in there and make sure they showed up in every city. So I was just kind of following his lead too, and it worked brilliantly. People would come and especially like Delaware, because we would find people from out of the country, like people in other countries, opening up arms in the US with just needed a sales team or something. They would set up in Delaware and they would do a search, they would find us. So that was sort of a niche that we found too.

Blake Oliver: [00:32:48] So you're supporting zero clients, you're supporting Zenpayroll, which is now Gusto. Yep. And you're doing bookkeeping. Were you doing tax as well?

Scott Scarano: [00:32:57] Yeah, yeah. Basically we were doing. You're an enrolled.

Blake Oliver: [00:32:59] Agent, right?

Scott Scarano: [00:33:00] Yeah, I'm an E and that was it. I got my E, you know, around that early time too, because I could have got my CPA. It would have just been a pretty big uphill battle. And honestly, like, I definitely had the 150 because I had to go back to school and like redo a whole bunch of classes and all that. I just didn't I didn't want to pursue it because I didn't feel like I needed it. We were doing at the firm. Most people in the pageant system were A's anyway, and I didn't even know what an E was at first. But I realized like I could do everything as an E that I would be doing as a CPA. We're not going to be doing any audits. We're not going to be doing any public opinions or anything. So I was just like, I'm just going to get my E Yep. And my uncle works at the IRS and I think he pulled a couple strings to make it easier for me to, like, get through the whole background check process. Yeah, Um, but I won't say which strings he pulled because I'm not sure exactly what he did, but I know that I was able to get my e, you know, I took the three tests and that was like we were tax firm. So I needed my e, I needed to be able to sign returns. And that was just I learned so much getting my e to like on just the education part of it. I think it's, it's that's why my management team both have E's you know they're not CPAs everybody else on the team. So we have three CPAs now and then two E's But yeah I think that's so.

Blake Oliver: [00:34:18] So you capped out around 1.2 or you didn't cap out because you've gone beyond that now, but you plateaued for a while. Why did you get stuck? You said six years.

Scott Scarano: [00:34:26] So many different reasons and I didn't know I was stuck. I just felt like I just blaming everything else. It was just this reason or that reason or this person left and then it set us back. It was always a lot of attrition where we'd add a bunch, we'd grow, grow, grow, and then clients would leave because people would leave. And it was it was always just banging my head up against the wall or up against that ceiling.

Blake Oliver: [00:34:48] So you had a lot of employee turnover.

Scott Scarano: [00:34:50] Lots of employee turnover, client turnover, too. But I was always in denial for the reasons would always justify, okay, this person left because of this and this person left because of that. It wasn't our fault and that wasn't our fault either. It was always it was always some other external. I never really blamed myself for much of what was going on. I always blamed myself for all the good things, just not the bad things. You know, you learn along the way, of course. And it wasn't until we I found by accident that we actually started changing things and things started to get better.

Blake Oliver: [00:35:24] I've heard this before, but I don't know what it stands for or what it means.

Scott Scarano: [00:35:27] Entrepreneurial operating system. So it's based on the book traction, and I would say. 95% of the reason why I'm at where I'm at is iOS and that system. The other maybe 90% and the other 10% is E-Myth, like E-Myth led its way into iOS and it made all those concepts easier to take in. But it was somebody that reached out to us email and he said he needed he needed stuff done for his wife. His wife was a psychiatrist and he found us online or maybe he found us wherever and he wanted us to do stuff for his wife. And I saw on the footer of his email iOS and I just saw I liked the logo and it said Entrepreneurial Operating System. And I was intrigued. So then I clicked it and I checked out what that was. And then I talked more. I said, What if we did stuff for your wife and you helped us implement this thing? And he loved that idea because he also saw it as an opportunity to work with other padget offices too. Everybody liked giving me attention because it meant a gateway to Padget like that was always that's why Xero liked me, because they could get in with Padget. That's why a lot of these apps would want to get in front of me because then that was a way they can get in front of Padget. And granted, all of this was before Jeff and Amanda were even at Padget. This was like way early days. A lot of those people are not there anymore.

Blake Oliver: [00:36:48] So for those who don't know what Padget is, how would you describe it?

Scott Scarano: [00:36:51] It's a franchise for it's, you know, I don't know. I don't I don't talk about it that much, but it's like, you know, I guess it's similar to H&R Block, but for more of like a tax and accounting practice, like a practice that's going to do books and I can credit them for a lot of the stuff and the way we did certain things at our firm, we never had hourly billing because it was always a fixed price. There were certain foundational things aside from going door to door with sales and some of the other stuff, like they had a same chart of accounts for every client. They just streamlined the process and it was all about serving the client and getting yourself like out of the way. When it came to a lot of the details and a lot of the things that most accountants worry about, you know, they trained us onto getting out of that. So they have some great systems at the core, at the foundation. They've been around for about 60 years maybe. So it's well established. But yeah, so that's how I would describe it.

Blake Oliver: [00:37:46] Got it. And you were talking about iOS forgot where we were going with that.

Scott Scarano: [00:37:51] So yeah. So this guy wanted us to do work for his wife and we did a little bit of a trade. And then I went on a tangent about the he, he saw it as an opportunity, so got it. But he started working with us and it was so hard in the beginning. I had to pick a management team and I didn't even know what that meant because everybody that worked for me was just doing what I was doing, replicating that. Like everybody was working with their clients from beginning to end. And I didn't have systems in place. I didn't have any real processes. We were using great apps and we at the surface level, everything looked good because, you know, making some money. But oh man, I was working to stitch it all together and hold it all together by dear life. And it was always working real late nights, real late nights because I would meet with people during the day. I didn't focus on sleep. And, you know, everybody was always like burnt out. But it was the nature of the business. You had to because that's how, how it is, tax season or this or that. So we just kind of justified everything. And and so we started doing us and I got to pick a management team and we got it. We got to create an accountability chart and we got to create like, what's the future vision? Where do we want to be set? Our goals set our rocks And all of the stuff was pretty foreign to me. You know, It made sense and we waddled through it for like three years.

Scott Scarano: [00:39:12] It was a struggle of like trying to just come up with our accountability chart. And that's where you it's not an organization chart. It's how do you split out all the things that somebody needs to be accountable for at the firm. And we just went about it in all different ways, like, okay, well, is there tax and accounting and payroll and somebody have to be accountable for those? And then there's HR. And so, you know, it really took us a while for him to ingrain the mindset that we had to have around what accountable means and what having somebody be accountable. But once we understood that we and the chart clearly shows there's two people that are accountable for everything at the top, the visionary and the integrator. And once I got that, I was like, I want to be in that visionary seat. That's all. I'm not an integrator. I'm a visionary. I always have these big ideas and I need somebody to execute those. And if I could get in that visionary seat, then my life will be better. It just I saw that as the light at the end of the tunnel. And it took us it took me about six years to get there, but that's we'll get there too. But that's sort of like that was the journey. That was the journey that I set on and slowly remove myself from all of these other. My name was all over the accountability chart because I was. I was accountable for everything. I was in the way of everything. Sales, HR, admin stuff. Everything fell on me to do.

Blake Oliver: [00:40:37] So you had to get yourself out of that, get somebody else in the firm accountable for it. And then mean. It sounds simple. Guess when you say it that way, but it's harder than it sounds.

Scott Scarano: [00:40:48] So the hardest part is what they really drill in there too, is the right people in the right seats because you've got to have the right people, but you have to have the right people that are doing the things that they should be doing. And a lot of people know what they want to do, but might not be the things that they should be doing. Some people have aspirations to do things that they probably shouldn't be doing, and they don't learn that until after. So I feel.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:08] Like that's the case with most most things in life for me anyway. Like, I thought I wanted to be a cellist. So I went and I went to college. I majored in music and it was only after when I started doing it as a job that I realized it was the worst thing for my personality.

Scott Scarano: [00:41:22] Yeah, but. And, well, and I know your history too, and how like, there's people there. There are people that make an impression on us, especially at a younger age. You had a teacher that saw promise in you for the cello and then you just took that as far as you could. Um, for me, like, honestly, I took the I took the rap thing as far as I could early on, and then I got arrested.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:43] So guess what I'm trying to say? Is that what, what the what you think the thing is going to be like is not usually not what it's like. Yeah. So like, people want to be a YouTuber, right? That's the number one job that kids want when they grow up. These days. You ask a kid, What do you want to do?

Scott Scarano: [00:41:59] Frankie said to me last night, my son said he wants to be a content creator when he grows up.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:04] Right. And so what they what they picture it is, is like, Oh, I'm Mr. Beast, and I'm making these Willy Wonka chocolate factories. I just watched that video and I'm having a contest and it's so much fun. And what they don't realize is that that's like 1% of the job and the other 99% of the job at the beginning especially is just sitting in front of your computer editing videos. Yeah, right. So, so like what you, what you think you're good at or what you think you want to do is like most people don't know.

Scott Scarano: [00:42:33] Yeah, well, you have to learn. By doing everything I did in life, I learned by doing. I didn't learn anything in the classroom, which is so ironic that I have this accounting high because and that's part of the reason it's the play on that school thing, because I never learned anything in school. I didn't learn anything in any school I went to. It was always in real life, learning from others, learning from each other, like you said, like I was learning from other people. And that was the biggest. So part of this journey that I'm that I'm on, you know, this story that I'm telling about the firm, you know, we're doing us early on. And it was early on that I forgot what year it was. I think it was 2017 or 2018, I was approached by zero to be on their partner advisor council. Okay, Pack the X PAC. That changed my life forever. That was the biggest change I could have had on so many levels. How was that first? Oh man, I met other people that were like me that were doing things differently. I didn't know there was other people because in pageant, in the pageant system, I was foreigner. I was anybody I talked to within that system was like, You're out of your mind. Like, I got that so many times, you're crazy.

Blake Oliver: [00:43:47] You're more traditional firms doing it the old school way, old school, old school, old school.

Scott Scarano: [00:43:51] And then it's.

Blake Oliver: [00:43:52] Changed. Now we should say it's changing.

Scott Scarano: [00:43:55] It has. It is changing. It's definitely changing because they all look like I did then. I was just crazy then, right? All the firms that have changed look look exactly like what I what I started doing. But.

Blake Oliver: [00:44:06] So you found you found zpac and you realized this is what I need to be doing. This is where I belong. This is my role. I met.

Scott Scarano: [00:44:12] Will Lopez. He was the first person I met. And Will is just out there doing whatever he wants. This is before Gusto and Will's just like filming videos, making content, just having fun, just having a good time. And honestly, I didn't think much of him when I first met him too. I'm like, This guy doesn't really have a firm, he says. He has a firm and you know, now he's at gusto. But I was like, Hey, you can't be. It can't be having all this fun and then actually be making any money. Like it's that's crazy. Like, um, but and then I met Nicole McKenzie and I started, you know, like the second year there, I met Michael Lee. But I'm and I'm just meeting all these people like that are doing things differently that are that are having a lot of success doing it, but also having fun doing it, too. And it's just I was able to articulate a lot of things that I had in my head while talking to people. I was able to articulate it in a way that I understood it, and sometimes I did things that I didn't even understand why I was doing it or my motivations or all accidental on purpose stuff. And as I'm meeting other people in the profession, other accountants that are similar, I start learning a lot more about myself and about what I'm doing, and I'm able to go back and change things at my firm quicker because I learn from their mistakes. I learned from the stuff they did and and that was like 2017, 2018, probably 2019. So I'm learning a lot and I'm still like, you know, still way.

Scott Scarano: [00:45:42] Stuck in the 1.2 million. Still don't really know a path out of that. But I'm still we're still working out, still trying to get, you know, work my way out of work my way out of a job, basically. Like I wanted to get to the point where I could have the freedom to do whatever I wanted. And that was still partly like not really a reality because I didn't know what that looked like. Anyway, we knew the path, but it was still always going through different people because you needed the right people in the right positions. And I still wasn't that great at as a judge of like character because I would trust everybody until I couldn't. And by that time it's too late. And I would, you know, I still just wasn't very good manager of people. It wasn't, you know, I'm a very good peer, but I wasn't a great manager and I wasn't a great leader until I started getting out of the way. Now, I think I'm a good leader because I'm not getting in anybody's way and I'm letting them thrive and people will thrive and they'll give you everything they have if you give them some space. I wasn't doing that. So that's the lesson I had to learn. And it took me a real long time. And it really wasn't. I wasn't I didn't learn it until COVID didn't learn how important it was to be out of the way and to let people thrive. Until I got stuck in Mexico at the beginning of Covid.

Blake Oliver: [00:47:01] And that you got stuck in Mexico, how did you get stuck in Mexico?

Scott Scarano: [00:47:05] So we heard about this thing that was going to be an epidemic, maybe a pandemic. I didn't even know the difference between those words. And we go to Mexico every year anyway. For about a month, you and your three.

Blake Oliver: [00:47:15] Weeks family, your wife's from Mexico.

Scott Scarano: [00:47:17] My wife's from Mexico. So we go there. We we stay in the village. She grew up. We have a house there. And it's a way to just disconnect from the world. It's socially distanced from the world. It's a small village. Not a lot of people there. No cars, especially at that time. Like it's still like there's no cars in the village because you just walk everywhere You need to go.

Blake Oliver: [00:47:36] One cell tower, basically.

Scott Scarano: [00:47:38] Yes, one cell tower. And Internet doesn't work.

Blake Oliver: [00:47:40] That well is intermittent.

Scott Scarano: [00:47:42] Internet is intermittent. Yes. If it works at all. And so I'm there. And this Covid thing happened while we were there. It's like we went there in March and we ended up staying till like May. Um, and in the meantime, May or June and early COVID, it was like everybody was going crazy to stay in their house and we're still going outside. We were still like, Nobody's really locking down that part of Mexico at that stage. So we had it better there. We were looking from the outside in and like we were socially distanced from the world at that point, and everybody's running to try to get toilet paper. And we had all that stuff covered. We were okay there. So I didn't want to go back and the kids didn't have to go back to school. But the firm. So everybody packs up their stuff and takes it all home. Nobody's going back to the office until further notice and everybody's portable. We had carbon and we had some systems in place where people could work from home. We only let them work from home maybe a couple of days a week and that's when I started to see they were doing fine without me. And I think that's around the time when I had the idea to have a podcast because I knew I wouldn't have anything to do. They were reviewing returns at that point. They were doing everything that I would have been doing. I was still doing sales, but we didn't need to have the sales on at that point.

Scott Scarano: [00:49:00] That was like pee pee time. We needed to be all hands on deck for our clients. So I wasn't doing any sales, but I really wasn't doing much of anything at that point. And everybody's getting through something that was a pretty big change, pretty big shift, and they're all showing more responsibility than I probably would have showed during something like that. I probably would have made people come to the office. I would have been like, I can go to the office. It's not a big deal. I would have told them they still had to to just like some firms did. So that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me because then I saw everything can get done without me, you know? And that was the biggest that was the biggest lesson learned. And I don't think I really even learned it until further along after I got home and after I started to like, explore this whole idea of a podcast. And I met Jeff Phillips around that time because that's when he started at I knew Jeff for a few years, but I started to become really close to him and we started following a lot of Cal Newport and certain things about that. Those were huge lessons learned too. So I reinvented how we operated within the firm and how we communicated within the firm because of Cal Newport.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:07] Who's Cal Newport.

Scott Scarano: [00:50:08] So he wrote a deep work. He also wrote A World Without Email.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:13] Oh yeah, I've heard of that.

Scott Scarano: [00:50:14] Yeah. Digital minimalism. And I and I loved everything he was putting out. Like this was around the time of like still still during Covid. I'm like learning about digital minimalism. I'm disconnecting from the phone, I'm disconnecting from and then I'm disconnecting from. I didn't have any alerts and I just started practicing like distance from from being connected and World Without Email came out. And I'm learning about all these concepts of like the hyperactive hive mind. This is a concept that he talked about, like everybody in Slack and email and just these constant pings and back and forth communication, that's not really communicating at all. It's just like shuffling things around. And so I was all in on no email. So, you know, this was like two years ago. I stopped going into my email. I didn't I felt like I didn't need to because I wasn't I wasn't needed in the day to day. And that was another unlock because then I didn't I wasn't poking my nose into everything that was going on. So I had somebody else managing that inbox, making sure that other people got what they needed to get if a client emailed me, which doesn't happen at all anymore, but it was still happening then and so I had somebody redirecting things within carbon and carbon enabled a lot of that too, because I could just go in and check out my triage after they cleaned it up and anything that I needed to do, I would just hop in there.

Scott Scarano: [00:51:36] I stopped going on Slack and I was really strict about how the team operated. So we implemented office hours and that was a big deal for having a remote firm was everybody has two hour blocks during the week, which is their office hours. So if you have anything that you need to bring to them, you got to go into their office hours at that time and then you can go over it. You're not going to just ping them on Slack or email them with these quick questions. So it's our internal quick questions that we were eliminating and it was all the context shifting that was happening that we started changing. And that's when people really got productive and they started really getting work done because they were doing uninterrupted work and they realized how much extra time they had. Because, you know, when you're when you're sitting in front of the screen all day and you're answering everybody, you don't even get a return done. Like you're halfway through the return. You start at the beginning of the day.

Blake Oliver: [00:52:27] So I feel like that's like, gotta be one of the biggest time. Sucks in techs is putting picking stuff up and putting it down again constantly all day long. When you're juggling like 20 different things and you're only working on them for like a minute at a time, you can't get anything done. Yeah, yeah. But that's the way, that's the way it works with like the email interruptions and the, the not having what you need to do the returns and slack pinging you and, and if you're in an office people tapping you on the shoulder and calling up and don't.

Scott Scarano: [00:53:00] Mention anybody hopping on LinkedIn or other social media like Instagram or anything else like that's a whole nother time suck too. So I was very strict about the interruptions. So we were time blocking and I was teaching everybody how to time block because I was learning from Cal Newport, you know, set your day up, plan your day plan your week. And it was all about planning the week. And then Carbon started talking about their weekly planner, and they're integrating that within the calendar so you could block your time and then people can see that you're supposed to be working then like or whatever you were planning on doing. If you were going to do review all these tax returns, you had an hour, a block, two hour block to do it and people were getting stuff done and things were changing. I wasn't good at following my own instructions. I don't ever follow my own rules. So I wasn't ever in my office hours. So it was like I was like the one person that wasn't following all the rules that I was putting in place, but everybody else liked him. And they they liked doing this whole calendar blocking time, blocking, planning their week. And that was another big unlock. And I cared a lot about people's health. I wanted them to have good habits. I wanted them to get good sleep because that was on that kick, too.

Scott Scarano: [00:54:07] I started optimizing my life and I started getting more sleep. I started eating better. I started taking better care of myself and tracking habits and doing all of these healthy things because I had all the time in the world. I was just full of ideas. I wanted to do everything. I wanted to change everything at the firm, but I also wanted to change the world. I got a podcast now, so I'm talking to everybody. This is around the time I met you too, and. And I didn't know what to do with myself. Like all that extra free time, the stuff that I was doing at the firm. I just spent editing my show and recording with people and like. And little did I know how much I was learning through doing that too, because I really just wanted some place that I could meet new people and talk And like, I saw what you guys were doing and it seemed like a blast. I was like, I want to be like Blake. So I wanted a show. And then through all that whole process, like I realized that I was having, I was neglected. I felt like I was neglecting the firm. I felt like I should be doing more. And during a lot of that, if you listen to some of those early episodes, it was like a therapy session with Ackerman, like I always wanted.

Blake Oliver: [00:55:11] Ackerman Jason, a co-host for some of the does he still co-host with you?

Scott Scarano: [00:55:15] He was co-host with Sons of CPAs, but he's kind of graduated. He's still in middle school and I've kind of graduated to high school. So since the.

Blake Oliver: [00:55:22] Cpas was the original name for your podcast, what's it called now?

Scott Scarano: [00:55:26] Accounting.

Blake Oliver: [00:55:26] High. Accounting High, yeah. And we should tell people where they can go, listen to it.

Scott Scarano: [00:55:32] They can listen to it wherever they want. Yeah, you.

Blake Oliver: [00:55:33] Just search accounting high or go to accounting hicom because it's more than a podcast, right? Yeah.

Scott Scarano: [00:55:39] So I am working with somebody. Need to build out what's going to be a media hub, like a content hub, where we're going to we're going to have the school newspaper, which is the Gazette, and that'll be like the monthly hub of everything, all the goings on, articles like blog posts within the newspaper. So it'll I mean, I could say like in the future it'll be something like Accounting Today as far as the media stuff, maybe not to the level of accounting today, but also like the YouTube channel we're building out to, it is just a podcast now, so you can go on to the podcast players. The website is still being built out and we got faculty. We're going to have other shows. There's just so many things. But all of these these ideas were budding around then. Like one of the sons of CPAs, it was about the next generation. It was about educating the next generation and teaching people the things that I learned the hard way. And most of it was and I'm not even doing any of the teaching. I'm the custodian there. I never saw myself as somebody that had anything to offer because I didn't feel like I did anything that was worth talking about.

Scott Scarano: [00:56:41] I saw everybody else doing better things than me and I wanted to highlight what they were doing. I wanted to talk about what everybody else was doing, and I think that was me getting in my own way too. And that was my ego. Like thinking that, well, I don't even know. It's like a reverse ego type thing where I didn't think I had anything to offer to. And I think that's still a problem as well. So I've been working on that and that's, you know, been my journey has just been getting out of my own way at each phase and each thing that I'm doing even like. With in in life. Like in everything, I always felt like I knew best and nobody could tell me nothing. And now, like, I'm in that stage where I love learning new things and I never like satisfied with where where I'm currently at or what I currently know because there's always more to learn and there's always better ways to do stuff. So and that's like, Well.

Blake Oliver: [00:57:35] I fully support the idea of lifelong learning. Yeah.

Scott Scarano: [00:57:40] So and we're all learning like, but you're running like an education platform too, and that was really inspiring when you started doing Earmark. And I said, you know, you didn't fire me, but, you know, we were working together as you were. We were working.

Blake Oliver: [00:57:52] Together a little bit, you know, But it's all about finding the right roles for people, right? And it turns out that what we needed at Earmark wasn't exactly what you wanted to do, which is you don't want to check your emails.

Scott Scarano: [00:58:03] No, no. You needed me to check my email and I was out of email. I learned so much by not going into my email. Yeah. And and having those. So it was like, you know, as I'm having my own like, journey, I'm going through my own journey. I'm, I am helping the firm, though I didn't think I was, but everything that I was doing, like the time blocking and the deep work and the office hours, all of these things I'm learning outside of just being within the firm and being in the firm, I'm now I'm actually working on the firm because when they need something that's high leverage, that's when they ask me during those 20 minute meetings and all I have to do is connect them with the right person because I know so many people now. So I am a big help. I just never saw it as that. I still felt like I should have been doing something like they're doing sales now and they're closing deals and they're doing all the things and I think they're doing it better than me.

Blake Oliver: [00:58:57] They you are giving them the opportunity to do that. You have created the system in which they can thrive.

Scott Scarano: [00:59:05] Yeah, it's all about that. Having having a system and where people know what their responsibilities are, what they're accountable for, and they have some sort of control over that too.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:17] I've heard a saying before. Let me know what you think about this. Um, I don't know where it comes from, but it's that people don't want a job. They want a role.

Scott Scarano: [00:59:28] Um. Okay, Write.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:30] That and think. Think about that. What's the difference between a role and a job? A job is like a set of tasks, but a role. Now, that's your.

Scott Scarano: [00:59:42] When I think of that, I think of a role is something you could fulfill. You can fill the shoes of a role. The job you just checked, that's something.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:48] You do, right?

Scott Scarano: [00:59:49] Job. But role is something that you can be proud of, too, because you're fulfilling it and you're bringing something to it. You're bringing something unique and it's your role, right?

Blake Oliver: [00:59:59] Well, Scott, this has been awesome. Great chatting with you. And I encourage everyone to listen to Accounting High. Go subscribe in your podcast Player of Choice. And Scott, I just want to thank you for opening my eyes to what a firm owner can be. That the the role doesn't have to be what we've prescribed it to be. And I think that I hope that the leaders of our profession will put you out in front of students and future accountants as an example of a nontraditional firm owner. Like what it could be like, because I feel like if our profession can be more inclusive and have more different people in it. It will be better off, right? Like there's no for sure there's a place for everyone. And that's what's so great about what.

Scott Scarano: [01:00:52] Accounting high's about is a place for everybody at accounting. Hi. We're all different, right? We're all misfits. Yeah. One of my first songs was Aliens because I'm not a CPA, and but I'm I feel like I'm adjacent to it and I'm seeing everything going on, and I'm very different. I know that. Like, that's I didn't think I was that different on the surface. I'm just some other accountant, you know, glasses. I got a family, you know, I just. I feel like I'm a pretty boring person in general.

Blake Oliver: [01:01:21] No, Well, I wouldn't I would disagree with you vehemently. And actually, I think that. Can we end one? Can we end this episode with one of your raps? Like, can I put it in to the episode? Sure. As our music? Sure. Yeah. Which one?

Scott Scarano: [01:01:35] Which one should we choose?

Blake Oliver: [01:01:37] You said aliens is your first one.

Scott Scarano: [01:01:39] Aliens is my first one. I've got. I've got 13 now. I've been working. I've got an album with my kids. I know. Well, that's one of the things I pitched to you as an idea, is we give people CPE for listening to a full accounting rap album. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [01:01:55] We've got Naspa might give me problems for that. And by the way, if you're listening and you want Scott to write you a rap for your app or whatever you're doing, your conference or something, you do that, right? Scott I.

Scott Scarano: [01:02:08] Do.

Blake Oliver: [01:02:08] Yeah. So you can commission.

Scott Scarano: [01:02:10] I'll send them to my manager.

Blake Oliver: [01:02:11] You can commission a rap.

Scott Scarano: [01:02:13] Yeah, you can. I'm doing one for the next conference, like we just talked about. There was a there was a message I was going to drive home and honestly, I forgot at this point, now that we're talking about the raps, we're talking about the.

Blake Oliver: [01:02:24] Future of accounting. Yeah, kind of. People we want in it, you know?

Scott Scarano: [01:02:28] Yeah. The future of accounting, the kind of people, you know, just be you like when it when it comes to running your firm, when it comes to anything. One thing I got to drive is I'm no I think I'm no different than anybody else. But everybody tells me I'm so unique. And I think that's the same case with everybody. Everybody's unique, everybody's different. Everybody's got something to bring to the table and everybody has a role. It's like the right person in the right seats. There is a right seat for you. If you feel like you're sitting in too many seats, you can't wear multiple hats and you can't do two things at once, no matter how many people think you can multitask, that's not a word that exists. That word doesn't. It's not real. You can't multitask. You know, when you think you're doing two things at once, maybe one's on autopilot. And like my firm, I'm doing two things at once, but my firm is on autopilot. I'm not focused on it. I'm focused on something else. So if you want to really be good at something, you know, you can do whatever you want with your firm, especially when you get out of the work. You don't have to go do a podcast or start this whole accounting high thing. You don't have to go do the raps. You can still stay in your firm after you get out of it and still contribute and grow something that you can be really proud of. I'm really proud of my firm now and I know other people. I know it's in good hands, but that it affords me the ability to do the things that I love and the things that I'm really passionate about. That's why I'm able to do these raps because of that.

Blake Oliver: [01:03:49] Same here. That's why I love accounting, is it gives you the if you do it right, it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want.

Scott Scarano: [01:03:56] Whatever you want. And you took that to a whole different level. You started something that brand new. Nobody was doing what you were doing at that time and you grew it into something huge. Like, you know, it's very big. And all standards of accounting, which you guys are doing, is different and it's an inspiration for everybody, you know, with the accounting podcast tab.

Blake Oliver: [01:04:18] Well, Scott, thanks so much for the time and doing this episode and I can't wait to see what you've got in store for us with Accounting High and everything you're up to.

Scott Scarano: [01:04:30] He's not homies. Saw the sky get up off the floor and start to fly. You'll scale new heights. Woodard okay, are in accounting hat Accountants and bookkeepers still watching the clock Woodard school and you with his new workshops Feet on the street Saint Louis peep the saw theme attendees will flock Now let's go check the presentation. Cutting edge education sparking innovation scope creep, friction shaking foundation process improvement increase production with automation and I no flapping wings. You'll be soaring high at scaling new heights. You'll touch the sky combined new tools to help your practice shine. Joe in his prime founding in zero nine, three cheers, 14 years and tears, He's cried. A keynote legend. Joe Devotees, Superfans. Eddie Vice Obsession. You're going to soar the sky. Get up off the floor and start to fly. You'll scale new heights. Woodard OKR and Accounting Hat You're going to soar the sky.

Creators and Guests

Scott Scarano🥶❤️‍🔥
Scott Scarano🥶❤️‍🔥
Lil Toddler • OKR • Son of a CPA • MARI(ed2)JUANA • Rapping Custodian @ Accounting High • Accounting Firm Owner • Father of Dragons
From Felon to Firm Owner: An Unconventional Path in Accounting
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