July 23, 2018

How Xero Helped a Cloud Entrepreneur Get to His Daughter’s Dance Recital

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Going Concern is partnering with Xero, the innovative cloud-based accounting platform for small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers, to bring our readers content about entrepreneurs who are starting their own firms. We hope you enjoy and welcome your comments.

Jay Kimelman has served many roles in his life. CPA. SAP FICO Specialist at Siemens. CFO of a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Owner of a nutritional supplement manufacturing company. And most recently, Founder and CIO of cloud accounting firm The Digital CPA.

But there are two roles Kimelman prizes over any other: husband and father.

With the flexible schedule facilitated by cloud accounting work, Kimelman is now able to dedicate more time to those precious family roles.

Kimelman’s daughter is 11-years-old and has been dancing for seven years. She participates in annual dance competitions that always coincide with the last two weekends of tax season.

For many CPAs, attending those performances would be impossible. But not for Kimelman. He’s right there every year, cheering her on from the audience.

“If I was truly tied to my desk and my office, I couldn’t be there for my daughter and my family,” he says. “And it’s just nice to have those freedoms.”

An entrepreneurial mindset

Though Kimelman had been performing freelance accounting work of different kinds as far back as 1998, The Digital CPA didn’t begin in earnest until 2011. A breakup with his partner at the manufacturing business they ran together spurred the move.

I thought, ‘What do I know best?’ And it was accounting and systems. That’s why I started The Digital CPA,” he says.

Initially a firm performing routine accounting work for manufacturing clients, Kimelman stumbled onto the benefits of the cloud by chance.

“I had a professional services firm that was looking for a cloud platform application,” he says. “In the summer of 2012, I was introduced to Xero and really haven’t moved back from the cloud since.”

A cloud evolution

With Xero now in place, Kimelman soon discovered a host of benefits that made accounting easier for both his business and his clients.

I’ve found my clients can adapt to it really quickly,” he says. “You demo it for them for the first time, and they’re like, ‘Wow, that is so easy. When can I get started on it?’”

Xero’s real-time collaboration features and unmatched ease-of-use also played a large role in the evolution of The Digital CPA.

“We had a client whose chart of accounts was so long it printed on three pages,” says Kimelman. “With Xero, we created a concise P&L that was easy to read and showed everything the business owner needed. The client was just so happy.”

Stronger together

While Xero as a platform has played a tremendous role in the growth of The Digital CPA, its community of users is also a large contributing factor.

“We are all competitors, but we know that if we work together and cooperate, we will all excel,” says Kimelman.

And for Kimelman, the Xero community is just as much about giving as it is receiving.

“It’s nice to be able to pay it forward and help others who are starting on their journey. And it’s even nicer to see those you’ve helped helping others now,” he says.

Start now

When asked what advice he would give to a future cloud accounting entrepreneur, Kimelman stresses urgency.

“Get out there and do it. Don’t wait,” he says. “The way it is today with Xero, you can start working really quickly. There’s very low cost of entry. All you need is a computer, a Chromebook, anything with a browser.”

And when Kimelman says to start early, he means it.

“It’s even better for students because a student can start their own practice in school. And by the time they graduate, they’re ready to start a full-fledged accounting firm on their own,” he says.

Total flexibility

Kimelman touts flexibility as the ultimate benefit of both Xero and cloud accounting in general.

“It’s all about making our clients’ lives easier and allowing them to untether from their office, just like I’m untethered myself. So they can spend more time doing what they want to do, whether it’s making more money, spending more time at home, or getting ready for retirement,” he says.

Which brings us back to Kimelman and his family; thanks to Xero, they have more freedom than at any other time in Kimelman’s career.

If we want to take a week at the beach, we just pack up and go to the beach. There’s no hindrance,” he says. “That’s really the important thing, having the freedom and flexibility. That’s what the cloud offers us.”

Be like Jay and provide better experiences for your employees and clients through cloud accounting. See how Xero can help you power your practice now.

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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?