The Young CPA Perspective on the Talent Shortage

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Joey Kinney: [00:00:00] Create a career path for people or they will career path themselves. And if they have the career path themselves, guess what? It probably doesn't involve you.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:09] 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. Hello everyone, and welcome back to the show. I'm Blake Oliver and I am joined today by two young CPAs, Hannah Hood and Joey Kinney. Hannah and Joey, welcome to the show.

Joey Kinney: [00:00:39] Thanks, Blake. I'm gonna take that young comment, and I'm just going to carry that with me because I haven't been called young in a minute. So, you know.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:48] Well, my knee's relatively.

Joey Kinney: [00:00:49] Young.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:50] Right? Relative to the average age of CPAs these days, which is what, uh, over 50. Mhm. Uh, in small firms, I think I saw that small firm owners are like over 60 on average now. Interesting. So yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Joey Kinney: [00:01:04] But okay. By that, by that metric. Yes. Still.

Hannah Hood: [00:01:06] Yes. We will accept the title of young. Mhm.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:09] Do you mind giving our listeners an idea of, you know, where you stand on the young spectrum.

Joey Kinney: [00:01:14] Sure, sure. I uh I am 36 years old.

Hannah Hood: [00:01:18] Yeah.

Joey Kinney: [00:01:18] I'm firmly in that middle 30s, I like to say someone I told someone the other day is like I am in my early, late 30s or my late mid 30s, depending on like what metric you want to to use here.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:31] How about you, Hannah? I mean, I know I'm not I don't know, like like am I supposed to ask age anymore is that I.

Hannah Hood: [00:01:37] Mean, it depends on who asked me when they asked me. Some days I'm 29, some days I'm 34. So for us, I'll. I'll claim 34. That's where I'm at. Perfect.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:47] Yeah. Awesome. Well, you've got both. You both have me beat. I'm 40, so I am now, I think, squarely middle aged. Um, you two are still young in my opinion. Anyway, my professional opinion. Keeping up.

Hannah Hood: [00:01:59] On it.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:59] Yeah. Um, and I'm excited to talk to you because you have your own podcast. You have a show called the young CPA Success Show. Did I do that? Right?

Joey Kinney: [00:02:08] And proudly on earmark, by the way.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:11] Awesome. Love that earned CPA for listening to the young CPA success show designed for young CPAs. Joey, you want to give me the the pitch? Why would why should somebody listen to that?

Joey Kinney: [00:02:22] Yeah it's a it's a so I can give you the short answer or the long answer. And I'm going to give you the long answer because I never do anything short. So this all started, I would say what Hannah, maybe 6 or 7 months ago where we were having a conversation and we had just merged. I'm still very proudly wearing my summit CPA shirt merch from our our retreat last year, but Summit and Anders merged together last April. And they kind of rolled out this very robust plan for here's how we're going to grow this thing. And of course, because we don't do anything small, we're going to try to ten-x the company. Beautiful. How long are we doing that? We're going to do that in five years. Okay. We're going to need some more people. So we started looking around and there's all these statistics coming out about, hey, there's $100,000 or 100,000 accounting jobs coming out this year, and only 50,000 people are graduating college in accounting degrees. And as Hannah loves to say, that math ain't math. And so we started this conversation of. Well, now that I'm firmly in what I would say is the middle of my career, what are some things that I wish that I had known at the beginning of my career? And then also, what sort of things are we doing to try to fix some of the things that we didn't love about working in the accounting industry in our 20s and early 30s? So it kind of morphed from there and turned into, um, you know, what we hope is an interesting resource for young CPAs to, like, have someone to talk to, like an older brother or older sister that they can talk to to be like, hey, help guide me. Like, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. It's kind of the idea.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:00] Well that's great. I want to talk to you about the talent shortage and your thoughts on that, how we fill that gap. I know that both of you work remotely. Um, Hannah, where are you in the world?

Hannah Hood: [00:04:11] I'm in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:13] Tupelo, Mississippi. Where is that? For people who don't know Mississippi all that well. Well.

Hannah Hood: [00:04:17] Like me. Yeah. So we're north Mississippi. I'm about an hour south of Memphis. So typically people can geographically orient themselves to Memphis in the world. And we're about an hour south of Memphis. So yeah, I.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:29] Have been to Memphis, love Memphis, and now I know where you are. Exactly. Awesome. Yeah. How about you, Joey?

Joey Kinney: [00:04:34] I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so it's kind of like right smack dab in the middle of what is sneakily the fifth largest state in America, land wise. So, uh, you don't look at the map and be like, that's the fifth largest state in the country. Sure is.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:48] I need to make it over there. You know, I'm your neighbor in Arizona, but I still haven't taken a road trip to New Mexico yet.

Joey Kinney: [00:04:54] Hopefully this winter, like when you're there. I mean, I think supposedly we're supposed to have good snow this year. So if you're into outdoor things, typically El Nino years are really good snow for us. So we're we're gearing up for a big season.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:05] A lot of people outside the southwest don't know that New Mexico has ski skiing. Taos. Right. Is that how you say it? Yep.

Joey Kinney: [00:05:12] Yep. There's there's Taos. We were actually up there, I think two weekends ago. Just kind of exploring and hanging out. So there's Taos, there's angel. Fire is an angel. Fire is a nice family resort that, uh, I've been going to since I was a little, little kid. And then there's all the southern Rockies, things that are within, like, 3 or 4 hours of Albuquerque. So, like Wolf Creek, which gets like 400in of snow a year, all natural, uh, purgatory in Durango, a couple other places. So it's a really nice launching pad if you like outdoor stuff.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:41] Oh, I do, I love skiing, so I'm hoping to get out there this year.

Joey Kinney: [00:05:45] I mean, Taos, Taos can hang with Colorado. The rest of our stuff can't, but Taos can.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:49] Okay. Good to know. Excellent. Uh, both of you are virtual CFOs at summit CPA. And I had the privilege of speaking on this show with your boss, Joey Grunden. Jody. Joey.

Joey Kinney: [00:06:03] So that happens all the time, by the way.

Hannah Hood: [00:06:06] Yes.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:06] Jody Grunden. Oh, man, I'm so embarrassed. I hope he's not listening. Uh, I had the privilege of talking to him about, you know, growing summit CPA, creating this virtual CFO model, meeting with clients weekly. Really, um, billing clients weekly, getting paid up front performance based compensation. And now I get to talk to you and find out if what he told me is actually true or not. So, Hannah, what is it like being a virtual CFO? Uh, what what is that job? I feel like most CPAs do not have this job. It is a rare thing, um, you know, how's it going?

Hannah Hood: [00:06:46] Yeah, I would say that if you'd have told me that this is what I'd be doing at age 34, whenever I started my career at 18, with my first internship, I would have laughed in your face. Like I did not even think that this was a possibility to be doing what I get to do, but I get to meet with clients on a daily basis. I have about, um, 15 in total that I work with, and I get to meet with them not only as their accountant, but as their business partner. That's what I tell all my clients is like, I want to go into this business with you. I want to be a part of the conversation. So I want to hear what decisions you're making in your business. And I want to tell you the story that the financial statements tell you. I don't just want to spit back information to you. I want to make it make sense for you. Because, as we all know, financial statements do tell a story of the overall health of the business and help guide the journey of where our clients need to go. So I get to put on a pilot's cap and and help pilot them to wherever it is that their destination that that wants to be and be a part of that journey with them, which is so neat and so fun and so fulfilling for me.

Blake Oliver: [00:07:50] Jody told me that the CFOs at summit sit in on weekly leadership meetings with clients. Is that something that you get to do?

Hannah Hood: [00:07:59] Yes it is. So not only do we get to hear about we have those financial statement conversations. We're hearing a lot of different facets of the business in terms of what's going on from them, from a hiring perspective, from sales and marketing, from bizdev, from pipeline, like all of that were part of those conversations. So that way we can take little pieces of that and apply it to the financial roadmap that we're developing for our clients.

Blake Oliver: [00:08:22] So you're in the meeting with the CEO, with the COO, with the the VP's. Right. Whoever's I mean, it's a small business, right? So titles are really not that important, but it's the leadership team right. Yeah.

Hannah Hood: [00:08:35] Mhm.

Blake Oliver: [00:08:35] And and what kind of clients do you work with.

Hannah Hood: [00:08:38] I have I would say a wide range of clients in terms of the industries that they work with that I work with, I have digital agencies, I have manufacturing clients, I have a um, I have a dermatologist as a client. I have a men's inpatient rehab facility that is a client. So. I also love that about this job too, is because I truly get to touch and learn so much about other industries that otherwise I wouldn't have ever had the opportunity to. This is actually the first, um, firm that I've ever worked for. I worked in industry prior to coming to um to summit, so this has been exciting for me in that way, because I get to touch and learn so much about all these industries that I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise.

Blake Oliver: [00:09:23] So, Joey, what's your do you have the same? Are you in you have the same job? Do you have the same kind of clients or yours different?

Joey Kinney: [00:09:30] Well, that's a that's an interesting question. My job at summit is a little bit different. And my, my path there was a bit different to Hannah. So when I joined and literally it was it was hilarious. I joined like three weeks before the merger was announced. And so like, of course, whenever you're joining a firm like that's a big decision. So I had conversations with other members of our leadership team, and like, I was there for a couple of weeks and Jody's partner Adam came in and said, hey, yeah. So by the way, we're we're merging with a much larger firm. And I'm like, dude, you couldn't have mentioned anything in like the last three weeks that this was happening. But when I came on board, I was like almost done with accounting. Like I was like ready to be done. And I told the team, the leadership team, like, I'm going to give this one more go. This is either going to work and it's going to be fantastic, or I'm going to go find something else to do with my life. And so what were you.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:19] Doing before.

Joey Kinney: [00:10:20] I was I was an industry controller. So I ran, you know, a 15 to $20 million a year commercial real estate company here in Albuquerque as their, you know, it was it was kind of like a blend of CFO and financial controller. Like it really translated well to the type of work that we do at summit because we with our roles as CFOs, you kind of have to be able to dig into the underlying data and figure out transaction what's happening, but then zoom back out and say, hey, what does this mean? What's the story? What is this trying to tell us? And where do we go from here? So, you know, it was you know, it was a lot of burnout. It was a lot of, you know, dissatisfaction with the industry. My wife's also an accountant. So you can imagine for a vast periods of the year, we're both just like, oh, this is miserable. But was it.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:07] Because the, the workload having that that in that job was too much or was it too repetitive? Like what about it, what.

Joey Kinney: [00:11:15] It was is it just didn't it was a great job for what I needed it to be, which was that stepping stone into more of the advisory work. But I didn't get a lot of satisfaction from it. It's was a lot of solving the same problems month after month. It was a lot of, you know, feeling like I could be doing something more or something different. I kind of missed the consulting, to be honest. You know, I had had a previous job in some consulting where I had worked with clients, and I missed that, you know, opportunity to go out there and help somebody solve, you know, a problem or build towards a goal that they're trying to build. For I had I was missing that in industry. And so I had this chance to come back to summit. I had a friend of a friend who who had worked there and was doing this type of stuff, and so I they had been on my radar for a couple of years. And I finally was like, you know what? I think I'm ready to kind of pull the trigger on this and move forward. But like I said, I kind of told him up front, hey y'all, I'm I'm done if this doesn't work out. So I started off like a little bit less than full time. And about three months in they said, hey, would you be interested in doing this other role where you're going to kind of have a smaller CFO book? So Hannah mentioned she works with about, what, 15 clients? Hannah. Um, I work with only about 5 or 6, but in the amount other times that I'm doing, I'm working with all of our other CFOs to, you know, kind of a train new CFOs and how we do things, systems, processes, how to be a consultant, but then also work with new clients to make sure that they're fitting into our system. So it's a bit of a hybrid role.

Blake Oliver: [00:12:49] Jody told me that for most of the clients, you're doing a financial forecast.

Joey Kinney: [00:12:53] Mm-hmm.

Blake Oliver: [00:12:55] Was that something that was tricky to learn? Because I don't remember learning how to do forecasting when I took my accounting classes.

Joey Kinney: [00:13:03] Yeah. They don't. They don't teach you that at all. Um, and it's, it's we've talked about this offline and it's been a through line through all of our conversations with everybody, which is you get tax or you get audit. And it's a very small buffet of what they'll let you take. But there's a there's a whole wide ranging industry of, of things that you can do. And, you know, I think the hardest thing for, for me with learning how to forecast was like really getting down and understanding the connections between things. And that I think is, is that's the hardest leap for somebody to to make as they're coming into the organization, which is, you know, I know how accounting works. I know how to I know how to do payables. I know how to do receivables. Maybe what I don't understand is, well, if we don't collect this receivable or we defer some of this revenue down into the future months, what's the impact on everything else? Once you get over that, then it's all delivery. Hannah. What do you think?

Hannah Hood: [00:14:02] Yeah, and I done budgeting before in prior roles. I had done that. What we do is much more dynamic in terms of we do not just set a budget and forget about it. We're looking at the forecast on a monthly basis basis, making those updates every single month, having lots of conversations around the forecast. Um, and I welcomed that challenge. To me, that was exciting for me to learn how everything was connected, how if we were going to do this based on a percentage of revenue. Am I seeing trends in that, um, forecasting out our payroll and our people and being able to play out different scenarios with my clients of like, hey, if we hire these five positions, this is what it does to our bottom line. But here's also what it does to our cash and where that takes us. And so being able to play out all these different scenarios has been it's fun, I guess I geek out on on that sort of thing, and it is exciting for me and something that I get to do because I'm doing this also for a lot of different industries. That also presents its own level of challenge in terms of because industry metrics from industry to industry are just different. So being able to learn that I welcome that challenge. And to me, that just is what keeps my job exciting and not monotonous. And I feel like prior to this role, I do not thrive well in a monotonous environment. I learned this about myself. I like to continually be challenged and grow, and this has allowed me to be able to do that.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:24] I wonder if. I mean, this is a big reason why accountants are leaving the profession. I mean, the Wall Street Journal report that something like 15, 16, 17% of accountants quit in the last few years. Is it because they're bored? You know, and is this a I hope if somebody's listening and they're really bored with accounting or the work they're doing, like getting into this type of forward looking. Advisory type of, uh, of job. Seems like the perfect fit. Mhm.

Hannah Hood: [00:15:59] Yeah. And I totally agree.

Joey Kinney: [00:16:00] We've, we've built out some roles within the company too for folks who kind of want that. We call it like CFO Lite is the best way I can describe it, where you know, and when I think about where I hope the company goes, I hope we get to a point where we're able to hire at that CFO lite role and get people and help them make that transition, because some of it's a mentality shift to a lot of times when you're thinking about processes and someone comes to you with a change, right, like Blake, if you're saying to us, hey, so I want to do a new line of business, right? I want to instead of doing podcasts like I want earmarked to do like instructional videos, right. Or something like that.

Hannah Hood: [00:16:39] Yep.

Joey Kinney: [00:16:40] Most accountants are going to sit there and think about, oh man, like, I've got to change my processes. Like I've got to add another class to QuickBooks. I've got to be able to do job prophet for this. I've got to be able to do that. And it's very systematic and in backwards looking, which is hugely important. Like I don't want to minimize the importance of that because without that we can't inform the forecast. But it's difficult to get into that mentality mindset of thinking like, okay, Blake wants to do a new thing. What's that going to do to his enterprise value? How are we going to market it? How are we going to promote it? How are we going to measure it? Um, what sort of things is this? What's this? What is this going to do to his receivables? Like how is it going to change his business for the next 12 to 18 months? Do we need to hire people? That type of thinking is not something that they're teaching us in school. And what we hope to have is a very robust system of mentors and people who are going to help that role understand how to do that type of thinking. And then when they're ready, boom, you got your next batch of CFOs ready to go.

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Blake Oliver: [00:17:41] Joey, you said something else that stood out to me as different about summit, which is that when you started, you were able to take on like half the clients that Hannah has.

Blake Oliver: [00:17:52] Mhm.

Blake Oliver: [00:17:52] So most accounting firms, you know, it's all or nothing and the all is 50 60 hours. Yeah. A week when you're called upon for busy season which seems to get longer and longer every year. So like how does that work. How were you allowed to just take 5 or 6 clients to start.

Joey Kinney: [00:18:10] Well I when as part of joining the firm I said, guys, I'm interested and I want to do this, but I am I am so burnt out I don't know if I can commit to 40 hours a week. Can we come up with something and have it at 32 or 36 hours a week? And, you know, obviously it was like, take whatever pay you need to do and reduce it by the, by the workload. So I took a reduced salary to do it. But that was, you know, for me at that time in my life that was more important. Um, what ended up happening is I never I, you know, and this is just, you know, me, I can't not work 40 hours. So that was something that when when we kind of looked at things and were like, look, this is I kind of said, look, I didn't know that I was going to get re-energized in the way that I did, but I'm I'm all in. And that kind of changed things from that perspective. But one thing about summit and now our Andrew's teammates as well is, you know, for for management, they tend to view. They view us as people, which is really nice. I've never felt like what my mom used to say in her public accounting days, the revenue generating unit. I've never felt like that. And what I will owe Adam Hale and Jamie Na and Jody Grunden and Josh Jeanes and all of the the wonderful people at our team that we work with, they really kind of took a chance on me on they could have very easily had said, now we really want someone who's going to be there. And they said, no, we'd rather have 75 or 80% of you than none of you. And I had never had anybody commit to me like that before in the workplace. And that has engendered like an incredible amount of loyalty for me where I, I don't think that there's anything that those guys can do that would make me absolutely lose respect for them as people, because they really took care of us from that perspective.

Blake Oliver: [00:19:53] Well, they must have sensed that. I mean, you were frank with them that you were burning out. And so they wanted to come up with a plan that would let you get in to summit and not feel overwhelmed. Yeah, and it worked out. Follow up. So when you decided you wanted to work more, you made more. How did how does that work? Is there a formula that determines your compensation based on how much, how many clients you have or like, how does that scale?

Joey Kinney: [00:20:22] Yeah, it's kind of all the above. Um, there is, you know, there's there's right now we have a, I guess, like, it's an incentive based compensation program that works a little bit like a bonus, but the idea behind it is and it goes back to value added billing, right? Firms love value added billing. And it makes sense. Right? We've made investments in technology that allow us to do something that previously took 20 hours. We can do in ten. But if we just stick to the old time and hours approach, there's only two ways to get the same amount for the same tax return. Either jack that bill rate up, or you do a value added billing type situation. And the problem that summit realized the number of years ago is that, well, if we're doing value added billing, we probably need to be doing value added compensation. Otherwise, the really smart CFOs that we've hired to do this are going to figure this out because.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:16] That's they see the financials, they see they see what they see what the clients are paying. Summit.

Joey Kinney: [00:21:21] Right. So they created a system where there's a book of business that you're kind of expected to keep up with as part of your just kind of standard base salary.

Hannah Hood: [00:21:32] And I will add that that book of business does not look like 50 to 60 hours a week in terms of like the standard like that is not at all the expectation coming in.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:41] So normal, reasonable workweek, very.

Joey Kinney: [00:21:45] Very reasonable.

Blake Oliver: [00:21:45] Yeah.

Joey Kinney: [00:21:46] And and the idea behind it is okay you do this and that kind of gets your baseline. And then we've created an incentive for if you want to either do more or better, if you can figure out a way to leverage some of your resources, you know, below you in the hierarchy, whether that's using staff accountants or whether that's using some of our outsourced resources at Cadenza or Integrity that we work with on certain clients, there's an incentive for you to go higher. And then every month we validate the total value of your book, and that pops into a formula where they determine, hey, here's kind of how much your, your, your variable compensation is going to be. And that they cut us a check every month for it shows up on the last paycheck. And it's a nice little boost right away.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:30] So I love that because some people want to work more and make more money, and they can, and the others who want to work, you know, a regular 40 hour workweek or whatever it is can do that. Yeah. And it's not based on those billable hours anymore.

Joey Kinney: [00:22:44] There's there's something that Hannah and I have harped on for forever, which has been that there's there's a place for everybody in every organization, like some people. And I've heard people not.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:55] In most public accounting firms, I feel like I've heard.

Joey Kinney: [00:22:58] People make the mistake of saying like, oh, you don't want to be a partner. Like there's no place for you. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, let's, let's, let's push back on that. Like if someone says, man, I just I really love being a senior accountant, like, I don't, I don't want all this responsibility. Like I just want to be really, really good at my job. And I'm like, right in my sweet spot. I feel like I can do it. I don't stress about it at night. I'm comfortable from a compensation perspective, like I'm right where I want to be. Like, that's the most valuable person in your organization.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:29] We had one of those people when I was a manager. She was like a career senior, but her comp was forever capped, even though she was incredibly valuable to the organization. Right? The partners would not pay her more than a manager, even though she arguably deserved more than me. Yeah, had more experience than me, served more clients than me. It was all hierarchical.

Joey Kinney: [00:23:50] And I think that's just a huge mistake. Like, you're you're, you know, your people are going to know. Yeah. And you know.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:57] Well she knew and she was not happy about it.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:59] Mhm. Yeah.

Joey Kinney: [00:24:00] Yeah. Well and your other team members are going to know too because they're like wait a minute. Like I'm not sure her name but we'll, you know, whoever, whoever this individual was, they all know the second she leaves. Oh this is a problem. Like we can't replace that.

Blake Oliver: [00:24:13] Well and so the way we dealt with it in the team was like, she just we just did not mess with her, right? She could do whatever she wanted. We couldn't we couldn't deal with the comp. Right, right. But we could at least give her the freedom and flexibility to handle things however she liked. So it was just sort of a white glove treatment, but it wasn't ideal. She should have been making more money, you know. And that's kind of abusive in a way. Like, I like thinking back on it. It's like, I think the reason she didn't move up is because her English wasn't as good, you know, and female, like, you're at a disadvantage in a traditional firm. And, you know, it was it was like kind of a messed up situation.

Joey Kinney: [00:24:52] I was I was having a conversation with my mom, um, last week actually was on it was on Friday, and my mom was a public accountant. She was started at the predecessor to KPMG Peat Marwick back in the early 80s in Midland during the oil boom. And she was telling me when she had moved away from Midland back to Albuquerque and was kind of thinking about, you know, what she was going to do with the regional firm that she was at. Um, it was around when I was being born. So she was like, yeah, I had two tracks. I could choose the partner track. And these are the real words, the partner track or the mommy track. And that's what they called it. And she was like, well, I'd like to have kids, so I guess I have to go to the mommy track. And her and her point on Friday was, was she was like, they put me on the mommy track and I was forever capped. But we all have the numbers. She's like, I had more billables and better utilization than every other person above me in that organization. And it was never, ever.

Blake Oliver: [00:25:48] Dealt with.

Joey Kinney: [00:25:49] And she ended up leaving the industry not too long after realizing that and doing something completely different with her life. And it's. That type of thinking is. It's a it's a shame. It's one of the reasons Hannah and I, you know, and you know, I'll. I'll die on this hill. It was incredibly important for me to have Hannah's voice on the podcast, because I think women in particular really have gotten. The short end of the stick when it comes to structurally, how accounting firms are handled, how these things are done, and then the, you know, societal expectations on what Hannah's role is going to be. And it doesn't need to be that way. It's that way because we allow it to be and we really want to fight back against that.

Hannah Hood: [00:26:37] Mhm.

Hannah Hood: [00:26:37] That's definitely one of my goals in terms of with this podcast too, is to change not just the way people are thinking about accounting. Especially young accountants are thinking about accounting, but also be a voice for for women in this industry too, in terms in terms of making sure that our value is seen as as equal and and in leadership roles and considered for such no matter if we do want to have kids. I have three kids. And the beauty in the in the compensation structure that we currently have with summit is that if I went to them and said, hey, like, my kids are really busy with sports right now, I need to cut back. I need to make sure that my hours stay within this threshold. They say, okay, let's figure out a way to to shift your clients around. So that way you can maintain this. As long as you're maintaining your minimum book of business, then sure, whatever works for you. That's perfectly fine if you need to take that step back. And so I love that model, and I love that I feel sick still can be a rock star in my career, but also still be very present for my kids as as a mom, and especially in this remote work environment for me, whenever I sought out summit, I was seeking out something remote that was like the one non-negotiable for me as a mom. I was like, this has just gotten too difficult. It was post Covid. I was like, if Covid taught me anything, it was that businesses can absolutely function remotely and still and still thrive and succeed very, very well. Therefore, I know that this exists. And I for a while there was a moment where I thought, well, maybe I'm looking for a needle in a haystack and and this won't happen for me. But I did not give up because I knew that it could exist. A life could exist where I could provide for my family, but also be present for my kids.

Blake Oliver: [00:28:17] Yeah, I experienced it, um, in the sense that, you know, when I was working at the traditional big firm and I went into the office in Los Angeles, I had an hour commute both ways. And so two hours in the car every day. Long hours during the week. It wasn't terrible. It wasn't like a Big Four kind of situation where I was, you know, on working on the weekends too. But I really wasn't present with my family. And I had a young son at the time. And so, you know, I would I would leave before he was up and I would be home after he was asleep and. It doesn't have to be that way. Like we don't have to make moms or dads choose between work and family now with the whole remote work possibility. Um, and we should highlight that the fact that, you know, summit is a totally remote firm, right? You all work from home or do you have like offices you go to? How does it how does it work?

Hannah Hood: [00:29:13] No, we are fully remote. We now that we've merged with Anders, um, out of Saint Louis, our original firm out of Saint Louis. So they do have office spaces there. So I guess if we ever just wanted to take a road trip to Saint Louis to work in the office for a few days, they would let us come work out of their office space.

Joey Kinney: [00:29:30] I'm actually doing that next week. And I've got a I got an office space booked at the mothership for like Monday or Tuesday of next week, just because it works better for my schedule to for a retreat. But it's there if we want it.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:40] Saint Louis is is a nice city. I got to visit, um, for scaling new heights this year. First time for a conference and I liked it. It was a great city.

Hannah Hood: [00:29:50] Yeah, easy.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:51] To get to right from anywhere. That's the beauty of it.

Joey Kinney: [00:29:54] There is. There is one thing that, you know, when I was first getting started where I wasn't sure, you know, again, with, with our home situation, like where we were going to fit the office and stuff like that, like, well, do we want to move, allocate the bedroom and those types of things. So when we were initially going through it, I did look at getting like a flex space or something like that to, to go to. That's not far from my home. And one of the things that summit really does that I'm super proud of, of of what they do. And I think the Anders team has like fully embraced this as well as part of the merger is they give us was it 150 bucks a month for education and 200 bucks a month for technology? Just right to our little divvy card. And you can spend it pretty much however you want. So if you want to allocate 200 bucks towards a flex working space, they will. That is 100% covered by the company. It's a, you know, kind of a reimbursement type thing. Doesn't run through any tax expenses. Just yep.

Blake Oliver: [00:30:48] That's great.

Joey Kinney: [00:30:49] And it's you know, it provides again it's all about it's all about flexibility. And I think that's the key is you know when when Jody I've heard Jody give his origin story. But he talks about how when he was leaving public accounting and started summit with Adam, the one of the big driving factors was he wanted to be able to coach his daughter's hockey team. And he was like, I didn't see how I was ever going to be able to do this without, you know, doing something completely different and revolutionizing it. And that has not left, even though we've merged with a company that was, what, maybe eight times our size when we we did it, we went from 50 to, to 450, um, pretty much overnight. That has not changed, and I'm really proud of that.

Blake Oliver: [00:31:35] What do you think holds back most firms from making this kind of shift, where you've got this value based compensation, you've got flexible schedules, you've got remote work, like why can't public accounting figure this stuff out? Because your firm has been doing it for a decade now or longer. And it's clearly working, clearly growing, clearly, clearly successful. Why can't other firms follow this model? It's not like they haven't heard about it.

Hannah Hood: [00:32:06] So I have a theory about about this. Well, which I think might be fact, but, um, I think it is a level of control that they'd have to relinquish and trust that they'd have to have in their employees in terms of getting things done. I was I told this story on our podcast the other day, but I was on a boat in Grand Cayman and I was talking next, talking to this guy who worked as a supervisor in New York for a company. And I was telling him, I work fully remote. And he was like, oh, I could never do that. I could never do that. I need to be able to see what my employees are doing. If I'm not there to see it, then I can't. How am I supposed to know that it's that it's getting done? And I could not convince him otherwise in terms of of how to view remote work. And I'm think I truly think that that is that level of control that I'm talking about whenever it comes to firm ownership in terms of in their mind, if people are there in the office working through whatever it is that they're working, that's the level of control and visibility that they have on that. Obviously, Jody doesn't know what my working hours are, what I'm doing every single day from my house. But what he does know is that the job's getting done, that I'm showing up for meetings with my clients, and that's how we're measuring this level of of freedom that I have and flexibility that I have in this role. And I think that change, change is hard. Change is scary. Like people, you know, when you look at something like that in the face, that's just like, yeah, I don't I don't want to deal with it. So I'm just not gonna.

Blake Oliver: [00:33:37] How about you, Joey? Why do firms have a hard time turning into summit?

Joey Kinney: [00:33:43] I think there's I think there's three things. What Hannah said is 100% true. That's number one, which is. And it can also be expanded to we we don't know how to manage people. We've identified this in a couple of different groups that we've talked to where more often than not, when you get promoted as an accountant, they promote you because you're good at your job. So if you're moving from a tax senior to a tax manager, it's because you have developed the skills to understand what's going on on the tax return. And then they move you into that role and you're like, oh, by the way, you have to now manage people. And managing people is a lot different than managing a podcast. And a lot of firms don't know how to invest in training. And so those managers are not good managers because not because they don't have good intentions or because they don't want to be good managers. They just don't know how, and they don't have the resources to learn how to do what Hannah mentioned, which is we're going to measure your output. We're not going to measure the inputs, because it's really the outputs that matter more so than the inputs. So that's number one. Number two I think there and this is, I could be a little bit biased towards this opinion because I worked in commercial real estate for a while as, as part of my, my past life. But. There's a lot of money that firms invest into commercial real estate. And, you know, there was a lot of money that was invested into commercial real estate before Covid came in and changed the way we're viewing things. And and so I think that firms, rightly or wrongly, um, are looking at that as a bit of an anchor towards, well, we've got this great office space that we've built out for everybody, and now we have all these people wanting to go remote and we can't get out of our leases. Or maybe the owners are tied into the REIT and they own the building.

Blake Oliver: [00:35:24] Right? Um, that's a lot. A lot of firms buy the building 100%.

Joey Kinney: [00:35:28] So there's there's value in that, that in their minds trumps the value of your people working remotely. Um, the third thing is, I think. Employees don't really know how to present the value to their firms when talking about remote work, and it could just be that we're not, you know, people like Hannah and I haven't been able to go back to colleges and tell, tell students, hey, uh, you, like, in Manhattan, Kansas, where I went to college. There are two accounting firms, both wonderful firms, by the way. I worked for one of them. I worked with another one. And another thing, they're both wonderful accounting firms, but there's 4 or 500 accounting students that graduate from K-State every year. There's not enough jobs in Manhattan for all of them. But if I told one of those students, hey, you love living in this great little college town, Oxford, Mississippi is no different. It's a wonderful college town. Here's how you can stay here and make a really nice living doing this. And you can do it from the comfort of your home. They just don't know it exists in the same way, because either we're not marketing it right or something is going on where students just don't know that this is an opportunity for them.

Blake Oliver: [00:36:40] It just seems kind of crazy to me that firms aren't. Embracing remote work more given that accountants starting salaries are pretty low.

Blake Oliver: [00:36:51] Mhm.

Blake Oliver: [00:36:51] I think AICPA did a town hall recently and shared the results of a benchmarking survey for 2023. And I saw on a slide that starting salaries are like 55 to $60,000 a year, which is actually, you know, compared to the national average, not terrible, but in a high cost of living area, it is not livable. But if you're in a smaller town, it's totally doable. You could own a house, right? You could support a family. Mhm. Um, but. Right. Like so. So if, if firms don't want to raise starting salaries, just let people live where they can afford to live. It seems kind of like an obvious solution.

Blake Oliver: [00:37:35] So that's a.

Joey Kinney: [00:37:36] That's an interesting a I love the idea. It's also an interesting thing because I look at this very frequently. The number that you quoted there is interesting to me, because when I occasionally go back and do inflation calculators and try to put my starting salary back into reference of that, when I started, my starting salary was the equivalent of $68,500 in today's terms.

Blake Oliver: [00:37:58] In today's dollars.

Joey Kinney: [00:37:59] And that was.

Blake Oliver: [00:38:00] Not in.

Joey Kinney: [00:38:01] And that was not in New York City. That was not in Kansas City, that was not in LA. That was in Manhattan, Kansas, very firmly in the heart of middle America. For all of you Counting Crows fans. Um, that's something that. Is is a thing and I don't I don't know how we are. We're obviously not partners in the firm. We're employees. So again, we're going to lean. I mean, I'm certainly always going to lean a little bit more towards the employee than the employer. That's just part of the game for me. But that is something where it's like, I can't I can't reconcile that number where it's like in real terms, they're not making more than I made when I started. There are about $10,000 less.

Blake Oliver: [00:38:47] Well. And uh, right. And. Starting salaries have basically stagnated. When you adjust for inflation over 20 years, it really hasn't changed. It hasn't gone up. It's even gone down a little bit. I think one down 1% now with the recent inflation. Mhm. Uh, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. How do we get starting salaries up in this profession. Like do you think they should go up I guess is the first question. And then what should we do about it.

Hannah Hood: [00:39:18] Well I think.

Hannah Hood: [00:39:18] They absolutely should go up. I think that there there's going to come a time whenever they have to like we're in a supply and demand situation here in terms of the supply is going down, demand is going up. I would think that that math mass out to the fact that we should be raising the starting salaries for people, making this more enticing for people to want to even come into this industry. I mean, I think that opens up a whole other topic that we could talk about in terms of the education requirement and different factors that play into people deciding to go into this industry in general. But starting salary would be a really good point, good place to start.

Blake Oliver: [00:39:59] I talk a lot about the 150 hour rule, the extra 30 semester hours you have to take to get your CPA exam, uh, or to get your CPA license. And I'm curious, actually, um, Hannah did how did you get your 30 extra semester hours?

Hannah Hood: [00:40:16] So I got my 30 extra semester hours because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life for for a brief moment in time. And I will say, just big preface is I'm in the process of getting my CPA license. Now, at 34 years old, I actually left the industry. I worked my way, um, all the way up through. I got married when I was 20 and we had kids when I was very early in my 20s, and I worked my way up through to the role of controller and without a degree at that point, and still working on my degree, but realized that was truly ever all it was ever going to be unless I finished this out and got my CPA license or and finished my degree. And I was like, you know, at this point in my life, when my kids are all very small, not all of them were in school at the time. This doesn't work for me. And I left the industry completely. I went and did something totally different. I was a licensed insurance agent. I worked my way up to junior partner really quickly in the agency and took on the budget forecasting role, and then realized that this that was what my passion really was and then ended up coming back to the industry. So for the reason of the fact that I, that I took my time, I got the hours that way, um, to get to that point. So it was it was a bit of a journey for me.

Hannah Hood: [00:41:33] Wow.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:33] So so you were working. You worked your way up to controller without the college degree. Mhm.

Hannah Hood: [00:41:39] Yes.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:40] That's amazing. And so now you're so you then you went back to school. Was that while you were doing the insurance thing. Yep.

Hannah Hood: [00:41:47] It sure.

Hannah Hood: [00:41:47] Was so.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:49] Completed.

Joey Kinney: [00:41:49] Your. Can you see where we, we made her a CFO because she's really really good.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:53] Well yeah I mean you know that your work, your work must have stood for itself, right? If you can do that, it did.

Hannah Hood: [00:42:00] And it's honestly something that I, that I am proud of. But it is something now it's trying to get my get my CPA license. It is a challenge. It's a challenge now especially um, with so you have been in this season, you.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:13] Have the credits. So now you just have to do the exams, which is not not just do the exams. I mean, that's a big thing.

Hannah Hood: [00:42:19] But yeah, I was going to.

Hannah Hood: [00:42:20] Say let's capitalize the word just because like that's that's a big, big feat to overcome. But yes, that's, that's where I'm, where I am in the process.

Hannah Hood: [00:42:28] Mhm. Okay.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:29] Cool. How about you Joey. How did you get your 150.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:32] So the so.

Joey Kinney: [00:42:33] The quote the the lovely Van Wilder. Uh a lot of people stay in college for seven years and they're called doctors. And then there's also guys like me who hit the reset button after year two. And um, you know, when 2008 happened and the financial crisis and all of that stuff went on, I was firmly in the middle of college. And at that point I was a history major. I was majoring in US history at UNM, and I had a had a plan to get my MBA in year five. But 2008 happened and I was like, well, I gotta I got to do something. So I took an accounting class at K state when I transferred in there, and it just sort of clicked. And then I was like, well, I guess I'm going to do this. But by the time I got done with college, I had way more than 150. So I was I was okay, so you were set.

Blake Oliver: [00:43:18] Yeah. No.

Blake Oliver: [00:43:19] So no Masters of Accountancy?

Blake Oliver: [00:43:21] No. And I think.

Joey Kinney: [00:43:22] That's, you know, that's that's part of the point, which is I saw on your podcast that you're, you're the lady that you were talking to was talking about how you need to instead of having an extra 150 get two years of work experience.

Blake Oliver: [00:43:35] Yes.

Joey Kinney: [00:43:36] Like I had 150 hours and I passed the CPA exam. Um, I'll brag on myself a little bit. I think my average score was a 93, and I passed on the first time every go around, so I wasn't missing anything by not getting. A masters of accountancy that did those extra hours, did not add any value, or would not have added any value to my ability to be prepared to take the exam. It's literally for me anyways, would have been extra school just to do extra school. And when you factor in the cost of going to college and how that has just absolutely exploded over the last 20 to 25 years. To go back to our point about opening and starting salaries. Like how are we supposed to convince someone to go to school for an extra semester on top of an already, you know? Could be potentially very robust set of student loans, and your repayment for that is going to be a starting salary that's significantly less than what you could get doing other things. You're going to end up with the same problem that I feel like teachers have had forever, which is, well, you're going to get stuck with the people who either really, really love it and are super passionate about it and then are going to get burnt out quickly, or you're left with folks who are like, well, I just didn't know what else to do with their time instead of doing what we should be doing, which is really incentivizing people to go into these careers, career pathing for them, showing them how it's going to lead to a wonderful quality of life for them, and saying, I know you've got to invest in this thing, but here's how you're going to get paid back.

Joey Kinney: [00:45:09] We've lost the paid back portion of this, and there was a wonderful article that was written a couple of weeks. I think it was maybe last weekend that, um, was shared amongst our our group on Friday when I was was looking through it where the Wall Street Journal was talking to people who were making that very decision, and they said, I didn't want to go do it for a fifth year. So I went into tech or I went into it, or I went into all these other things and I'm like, I want those people to be accountants.

Blake Oliver: [00:45:38] Come work with.

Joey Kinney: [00:45:39] Me. But we haven't created the. We haven't created an environment that's conducive to that.

Blake Oliver: [00:45:46] Side note the interview you mentioned, the interview Joey mentioned is the one with Sharon Lasser, the director of the School of Accountancy at the University of Denver. You can catch that interview on the accounting podcast feed. If you search for, um, uh, the accounting podcast, in your podcast player, you'll find that search for Sharon Lasala SSR. Uh, she's got some very strong opinions about 150, and I find it very convincing coming from a director of a school of accountancy. Um, um, she doesn't think it adds any value at all, which most educators I talked to. Uh, very much. Pro 150 I wonder if it's because, you know, they have these masters of accountancy programs they need to fill, and the requirement helps to do that.

Blake Oliver: [00:46:31] Maybe they're not. And the cynic.

Joey Kinney: [00:46:32] In me wants to say, you know, if you look at you look at various, uh, various professors and certain endowments that come through to, to pay for that professor's salary, it's a lot of. A lot of firms that people would know very quickly. So you always I always wonder about the motivation where it's like, well, of course the E endowed chair wants people to go to Big Four.

Blake Oliver: [00:46:52] Yeah. Well, and that's the thing that, um, that's the thing that is sort of falling apart now, at least from where I sit. I'm curious to get your take on this. Um, the deal in accounting, it seems, has always been okay. Starting pay. As always, been lower than other business majors like marketing, like finance, like blah blah, blah, whatever, right? It's always been a little lower, but the promise has been job security, and that was very compelling to me when I graduated into the financial crisis. And I had to, you know, make a decision about what to do. Changing careers. Being a musician during the Great Recession was not a great thing. So I chose accounting for the security of it. Right, knowing I'd always be able to make money. Um, surprisingly, I also chose it for the flexibility, which I think is funny, that like, the big complaint about accounting is that like a lot of firms don't offer flexibility. I think people just don't know about the small firms like summit that are out there that do offer it. I was aware because I was working with small businesses and small firms, but that promise of. Job security in exchange for the lower salary and doing her time. The promise was, you're going to make six figures, you're going to be an upper middle class American, and you're going to be able to afford the house and the two cars and, you know, the two and a half kids and the dog.

Blake Oliver: [00:48:20] Uh huh.

Blake Oliver: [00:48:21] But that doesn't really work anymore in the high cost areas. In LA. It it wouldn't work. I mean, my wife and I both worked and we were both pretty highly paid professionals, and we still struggled to buy a house like the house we were able to obtain was like a fixer upper, you know? And I'd walk through my house and the floors would creak. And, uh, on that salary, it just it just like it just I couldn't reconcile that. And the idea of sticking around for ten, 15 years to make partner. Also didn't really appeal to me. So that's why I left the big firm, because I just couldn't see a shorter path and I wasn't willing to do my time. I wonder if you know that is falling apart now, if that's that's the problem that traditional firms are having and all the work is now falling to like the managers and the partners who are working more hours than ever. That was another thing about the AICPA Town hall that really surprised me is that the the hours for people at the top are more. Staff are actually starting. Staff are actually working fewer hours than partners now. Like, why would why would you want to become a partner?

Joey Kinney: [00:49:34] So it's it's interesting you mentioned that because that's I think one of the things we talked about earlier when we talked about the average age of a CPA owner, right. One of the things that was the promise for my parents in the 80s, which is kind of the litmus test that I base all this off of, was, okay, you're going to do the trade off, you're going to you're going to do the grunt work here for 4 or 5 years. But there's a very clear, delineated path. And in the 80s, the answer was you're going to make partner by year seven. Or you're going to you're going to be attrition out one way or the other, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. But if you're here for seven years, you're a partner. I am entering year 14 of my accounting career. And so double what it was in the 80s. And I don't think anybody is looking to Joey saying that guy is going to be a partner anytime soon.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:25] Well, and.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:26] Seven is actually really short these days. I read in CPA trendlines the average is 10 to 15.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:30] Years, right?

Joey Kinney: [00:50:31] Right. So it's it's it's the.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:34] It's gotten longer.

Joey Kinney: [00:50:34] Line has doubled in a generation because that's one generation. My parents generation to me. And one generation that baseline is doubled. And I don't know I don't know what you know. Could you say it's greed maybe possibly greed.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:49] Living longer.

Joey Kinney: [00:50:49] Living longer, working.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:51] Longer.

Blake Oliver: [00:50:52] If partners don't leave, new partners can't come in. Right? Maybe that's part of it.

Joey Kinney: [00:50:57] Yeah. And it's you know, I think also too, it's, it's a there's probably a higher proportion because this is, you know, generations generationally speaking, this is your baby boomers who are kind of moving towards the end of their career. And but what I'm not seeing here is that transition down to that junior level partner. You know, when I used to do dental consulting and work with dentists, our average client would come in in their mid 40s, late 30s, early 40s somewhere in that line. And they would be like, well, I need to have another associate come in. And those associates who were coming in as potential owners in 3 to 4 years were 28, 29, 30 years old. So there was already through just how the businesses are structured, a a relatively safe and secure career path coming out of school for those associates right away. And the promise was always, look, yeah, a couple of years, you're going to work Fridays. You know, I'm the senior doc. I'm not working Fridays, I'm playing golf. You're going to take Friday. Okay, cool. I'm the associate. Three years from now, you're not going to have to do that because you're going to be an owner. And that is, I think, something that's really compelling to a lot of, of younger accountants. I mean, you know, not everybody.

Blake Oliver: [00:52:16] Signed up for that.

Joey Kinney: [00:52:16] Yeah, not everybody has to have ambitions. I'm not saying everybody does. But for those of us who do like one of one of our one of our coworkers says all the time create a career path for people or they will career path themselves. And if they have two career paths themselves, guess what? It probably doesn't involve you. So I think this is something where if we're going to solve it, it has to be solved by the people in charge. The people running the firms have to make individual decisions and say, we're not going to do this. Just like 20 years ago, Jody and Adam decided, hey, we are going to rebel against the way people traditionally do this. And where I think it's important for folks like us is it's our job to challenge that status quo. Like, I don't want everybody to like, I love working for summit. I love working for Anders. I love working with all of our team. It doesn't mean I love everything we do. There's a lot of stuff that we're doing where I'm like, here's the gap between like where we are and where we should be, and that's the same gap between where we are and where I want us to be. Like, we're firmly in the middle. We have not gone nearly far enough in my mind.

Blake Oliver: [00:53:22] But the difference is that at a traditional firm, if you're not a partner, you don't get any say correct. And it sounds like you feel like you have a say.

Blake Oliver: [00:53:31] I think we do.

Joey Kinney: [00:53:33] I, Hannah, I don't know about you, but that. Yeah, I feel like they they don't always, you know, I'm not going to sit there and say everything we, we suggest gets implemented, but it's always considered. And I think that's important.

Blake Oliver: [00:53:45] Yep. So if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the accounting profession, what would it be?

Hannah Hood: [00:53:52] Mhm.

Joey Kinney: [00:53:55] I'm going to waste mine selfishly. I think that, and I'll speak specifically for my for my wife who's a tax accountant and is is, you know, it's October 11th today. Um, she is absolutely miserable because it's been a very tough tax season. The amount of stuff, compliance related work that has been pushed down to tax accountants is insane. The amount of complexity and tax returns now is triple what it was when I started. When you factor in Affordable Care Act stuff that thankfully has most of that's been redacted, but also, you know, stuff with PGP loans and stuff with all this stuff where we're like, well, we'll just let the tax accountants figure it out. The amount of stuff that needs to go on a tax return has tripled or doubled or whatever the metric is, it's huge, but they haven't gotten any more time to do the work, so the deadlines stay the same. And the only way most tax accountants that I know are able to compensate for it is just extra hours. So that's one thing I would change is either give tax accountants more time to get the tax returns done, or just stop making them do a bunch of stuff that really should be someone else's job. We just couldn't figure out who else to do it besides the accountants. That's what I would change.

Hannah Hood: [00:55:11] Yeah, I think for me, if I could wave a magic wand, I would love to see the accounting industry be more conducive for women in leadership, women who want to be a mom, women who want to accept the role as wife, whatever that looks like for them, but still not have that hinder their path to partner or their path to whatever their career goal is. And I feel like there's still a lot of blockers, um, in our industry right now that make the end goal for a female. Um, and the timeline to get there, if she chooses to have, uh, a family very different than that of a male who decides the exact same thing. And so I think that, for me, would be the one thing that I would wish could change overnight with a magic wand, for sure.

Blake Oliver: [00:56:05] We got to get those cosign that.

Hannah Hood: [00:56:07] Yeah, we.

Blake Oliver: [00:56:08] Got to get those firms away from the billable hour, measuring people on inputs and and not allowing for the flexible work. Right. Like why can't you be on the partner path and be part time when you're having your kids? Yeah. It just it just seems so silly.

Joey Kinney: [00:56:21] I was having this conversation with our team yesterday where we were talking about compensation models, and my question was, you know, if you're going to view an engagement through the lens of an output, like, you know, why are certain positions considered less important to those outputs, like if we're going to sit here and sell that, it takes a team to do the engagement, then why should you know? Is it is it fair or equitable to determine that certain people are more or less valuable to that end goal in certain circumstances? Yeah, maybe you can, but more often than not, I would imagine that. You know, if you're wanting to think about it. For us anyways, in a lot of roles, the advisory senior or the senior accountant is probably a little bit more important to the overall success of the engagement than the CFO. The CFOs got the experience and the knowledge, but unless that senior is doing what they need to do. Cfo is worthless.

Blake Oliver: [00:57:18] I wonder if the, uh, the partner model might get supplanted. By a more corporate model. I we've seen BDO move to an employee stock ownership plan.

Joey Kinney: [00:57:30] Esops are going we're seeing that in a lot of places.

Blake Oliver: [00:57:34] An Esop could be the end of the partnership. Because everyone's just an employee and you have stock options like a startup. Yeah. And, you know, obviously you have founders who have more shares, but they eventually sell those shares. They could sell them to the employees. It could be an employee owned firm. Maybe that will, uh, maybe that'll become more popular.

Joey Kinney: [00:57:53] Well, I think that's a great recruiting tool for Gen Z as well. I mean, the thing that I love about Gen Z, that's the most entrepreneurial generation of Americans we've ever seen, because for it.

Blake Oliver: [00:58:03] Can be because they have no fear, right? They have.

Blake Oliver: [00:58:05] No fear.

Blake Oliver: [00:58:06] They have a job.

Blake Oliver: [00:58:06] And they.

Joey Kinney: [00:58:07] They don't have the same traditional barriers to entry that we've had. Like when you talk about elder millennials like, like us, you know, what are all the barriers to entry? Well, we don't have any money as a generation because we have high student loan costs and graduated college into a recession. And for firm owners, those barriers to entry have secured the value of their firm because while there's less competition now. For Gen Z in a lot of circumstances, all you needed to become an entrepreneur was a YouTube account in the phone. And. That is one of the reasons why, you know, without obviously there's going to be you know, this is a general, a vague generational observation. But more often than not, when I talk to kids who are in high school and college, what they care about most is I want to have an immediate impact right away, and I want to be in control of my own destiny. And it's very difficult to be an employee and feel like you can have both of those things at the same time. So if you wanted to create an environment that was conducive for those individuals to come into your firm, give them an opportunity to have equity right away and put them in control of their own destiny, and you are going to create an environment where they want to thrive.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:19] That's what I want.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:20] I think that's I think that's a great cap for this episode. Tie it up in a bow. Um, before we go, though, where should listeners go to learn more about the young CPA Success show?

Hannah Hood: [00:59:34] Yeah, so you can find us on Spotify on Apple Podcasts. We're also found on earmark now so you can find us on earmark. You can also, um, go look us up on LinkedIn. Joey and I aren't great using LinkedIn.

Hannah Hood: [00:59:51] I'm the worst millennial ever on social. You've done like two posts.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:54] On LinkedIn in six years. Joey, you need to.

Blake Oliver: [00:59:56] I'm so bad.

Joey Kinney: [00:59:59] Full disclosure, I have I have someone from our marketing department helping me with an overhaul. So TBD on that.

Hannah Hood: [01:00:05] He's getting a LinkedIn makeover. He's he's getting. Yes.

Hannah Hood: [01:00:10] Yeah, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [01:00:11] With the collapse of X and Twitter, LinkedIn has become a fun place.

Hannah Hood: [01:00:15] So I like LinkedIn.

Hannah Hood: [01:00:16] Like I'm learning to like it. Like it has become something that I do seek out and look, look at to scroll at the end of the day. And so yeah, I totally agree.

Blake Oliver: [01:00:25] If you like to troll boomers, it's a lot of fun. It's just it's an elder. Boomers don't really understand sarcasm. So it's it's a real blast there. Well, and.

Blake Oliver: [01:00:35] It's you know.

Joey Kinney: [01:00:36] We really do, you know, an a shameless plug. We really do want to hear from the audience. Like, I have visions of future episodes where we're just responding to questions from from listeners and helping with advice or playing out scenarios. So, like, we really do want to hear from people so that we can interact with you. Like that's the best part of our job is people. So we want to we want to expand it.

Blake Oliver: [01:00:58] So again, search for young CPA success show on your podcast player. And uh, download the earmark app and you'll be able to earn CPA credit for listening to those episodes and then taking the quiz on earmark. And actually, this episode right here is going to be CPE eligible as well. So look for it when it drops on the earmark app. Hannah. Joey, it has been so great talking to you. I hope to run into you again virtually and someday in person.

Blake Oliver: [01:01:25] Thank you Blake. Thanks, Blake.

Creators and Guests

Hannah Hood
Hannah Hood
Virtual CFO, Summit Virtual CFO by Anders
Joey Kinney, CPA
Joey Kinney, CPA
Experienced Accounting Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the commercial real estate and construction industries. Skilled in Microsoft Word, Accounting, General Ledger, Public Speaking, and Internal Controls. Strong accounting professional with a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) focused in Accounting and Finance from Kansas State University.
The Young CPA Perspective on the Talent Shortage
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