June 23, 2018

Here’s How You Can Travel the World After Only a Few Years in Public Accounting


Please enjoy this sponsored content from Beech Valley Solutions. You can read more their partnership with Accountingfly here.

Given the 12 hour time difference in Beijing and the uncertainty around Internet access (i.e. Gmail and Facebook are blocked there), it may be hard to coordinate a call presently.

On October 8-13 I will be visiting North Korea where I am certain there will be no internet access. After that, I spend 2 days on a train and 14 days touring/hiking in Tibet, again with limited/no internet.

Other than the next 4 hours I will spend here in the Seattle airport, my schedule is impossible to predict right now.

This is an excerpt of an actual email we received several months back, and these kinds of emails are what we’re used to receiving from the CPAs we work with.

How do you think you’d feel if you found yourself in the Seattle airport on a layover, about to travel around Beijing, Tibet, and even North Korea?

Sound unrealistic?  It’s really not.

Lifestyle Design

You can make drastic lifestyle changes by optimizing for lifestyle design, a concept popularized by Tim Ferriss in the The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.

The keys to optimizing lifestyle design are freeing up time and mobility, and there are few professions that offer the opportunity to control your time and mobility more than the CPA profession.

When I left PwC in 2014 to begin freelancing, I promptly moved out of my apartment, moved my stuff into storage, and spent the next 18 months traveling.  

I had enough out-of-town freelance projects to rack up tons of rewards miles, as well as take advantage of some client-sponsored in lieu of traveling home flights to places like Jackson Hole, Los Angeles, and even Bogota, Colombia.

So if you’re feeling like each successive busy season is more of the same, and your life is starting to blur together between windowless conference rooms and late night meals from Styrofoam boxes, consider thinking outside that Styrofoam box for a minute.  

How to free up time and mobility while progressing your career as a CPA

The two straightforward ways of freeing up time and mobility are…

  • Attempt to structure a part-time, flexible arrangement with your current employer, allowing you to work remotely or take off for a portion of the year
  • Work for yourself through freelancing

Let’s talk freelancing

….since after all, that is what we help CPAs do, and this is a sponsored post.

As a freelancer you can earn double or even triple per hour what you’re currently making as a salaried professional. This means in 4-6 months you can earn the income you need to live comfortably for the entire year, while still saving for retirement.

What rate could I earn as a freelancer?

It varies project-to-project, but fill out this nifty calculator on our website for a ballpark estimate of what you’ll likely be able to earn freelancing through Beech Valley.

Of course, we’re not the only option out there (we are the most accessible, though).  Network and see what kind of freelancing options exist for someone with your exact background.

And whether you intend to work through us or not, we’d still love to hear from you, so feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about getting started as a freelancer.

Take full control of your schedule

As a self-employed freelancer, you have full control over what projects you accept or reject, meaning you can accept projects for a portion of the year while setting aside the remainder of the year to focus on other lifestyle or business-oriented goals.

How are you going to spend the rest of the year when you’re not consulting?

Totally up to you.  The CPAs we work with generally opt to either spend that time growing their own practice, hanging out with family, or traveling the world.

So if it’s April and you’re planning on traveling abroad starting in August, just accept a 3-month project and crank for a few months.  You can quickly build up a sufficient nest egg to go island-hopping around Thailand for an extended period of time, while still socking away cash for a rainy day.

If I don’t like freelancing, will I ever be able to work again?  What about the resume gap?

Many of our freelancers receive job opportunities from other firms as well as companies that are our clients.  If you can tell your story of starting your own consulting company and solving problems for companies, many hiring managers will find this to be extremely impressive.

And best of all, you can work extended travel time into your schedule without stressing over the dreaded gap in your resume.  Your resume will accurately reflect that you were working for yourself during that entire time.

Be forewarned though, once you start working for yourself, it’ll be difficult to ever want to go back to a salaried 9 to 5.

If this sounds interesting to you, shoot us a message

Contact us.  We’d love to speak to you about what types of opportunities interest you, as well as provide you with general advice as to how you can start and grow your own audit, tax, or consulting firm.

If nothing else, we just enjoy speaking with entrepreneurial-minded CPAs.

Brad Hughes is a co-founder of Beech Valley Solutions, the premiere network that connects CPAs with freelance opportunities in advisory, assurance and tax.  Beech Valley consultants enjoy higher pay for every hour worked, the flexibility to accept or reject projects, and the ability to diversify their skill sets.

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Give It Up Tax Protesters, You’re Just Screwing Yourselves

Of the adherents of strange and puzzling belief systems – 9/11 Truthers, Fed groupies, Cubs fans – few work so hard to screw themselves as tax protesters.

By their own account, twww.rothcpa.com/archives/000480.php”>spend “thousands of hours” reading their arcane tracts, expanding on theories of why the 16th Amendment is a figment of our imagination, or why a gold-fringed flag means you’re in an admiralty court, which somehow undoes the income tax.

Or why the federal tax law only covers the District of Columbia and federal forts, or why Section 861 says U.S. source income isn’t taxable. The result? They still owe the taxes, penalties, and maybe $25,000 idiot fees from the tax court – and that’s if things go well. If they go badly, they go very badly.

Every year the IRS updates its handy debunking of tax protester arguments. It does little good. You can spend hours trying to talk tax protesters out of their ideas, but they move effortlessly from one gold-fringed bad idea to another, and they can almost sound like they make sense, until you get outside and get some fresh air. But there is one common problem in all of these “Tax Honesty” arguments: they don’t work.

No matter how convinced you are that Irwin Schiff’s theories of the income tax are true, that there is no income tax, all of the federal judges think there is one. So does the IRS, the Federal Marshals Service, and pretty much everyone in the Bureau of Prisons. What they say trumps what Irwin says, which is why the poor man is likely to die in jail.

But what about the glorious courtroom triumphs of Lloyd Long, Vernice Kuglin and Tom Cryer? They were acquitted by juries! Yes, these guys beat criminal charges. Why the juries voted the way they did, we’ll never really know. Maybe they were nullifiers, striking a blow against the income tax. Maybe they decided that the defendants really believed their schtick, so they didn’t “willfully” fail to pay their taxes. But these acquittals debunk the income tax only if the O.J. acquittal debunks California’s murder statute. Even though these guys didn’t go to jail (unlike many, including their pied piper, Irwin Schiff), they still have to pay their taxes.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Of course he says that. He does taxes for a living. He’s in on the conspiracy!” If so, come on. If this stuff actually worked, I wouldn’t grind my way through every tax season pretending there is an income tax. If it worked, I would just talk to a few of my wealthiest clients, work out a deal to take 5% of their income for the next 10 years in return for making their taxes go away, wave my wand, and spend March in Mesa.

But here I am, grinding out those returns. That no more makes me “pro-tax” than believing in germ theory makes a doctor “pro-bacteria.” Still, if you really want to ruin your financial life, you’re welcome to choose your poison. But first ask yourself: are all of these big companies and rich guys who pay taxes crazy or stupid? Or is it just you?