October 13

Episode 3 : Candice Gerlach, CPA.


Welcome to the financial advisory marketing show brought to you by financial advisors.com. The consumer friendly advisor driven, comprehensive marketing service for independent financial advisors. Our new services for comprehensive and comprehensive advisers or for advisors is a comprehensive program that allows them to use digital marketing along with their profile to create an unbeatable marketing one, two punch for themselves and their business.
So today I would like to welcome our guests, Candice Gerlach CPA. Welcome Candace. Thank you, Jim. Glad to be here. Candace, how long have you been an advisor? CPA. And where are you located? So I’ve been in the public accounting world for about 20 years. I opened my own practice in 2018 and January of 2018.
And I’m located in Carlsbad, California. However, I do have clients that are across the nation. I’ve always had remote capabilities, but it seems with COVID, there’s a lot more people receptive to it. And I use that as much as possible as well. Okay. What on our platform, we have investment advisors and we have tax professional tax advisors, two verticals, and you’re one of the few CPAs on our platform.
We have, oh, you hope to have more. And hopefully this this podcast will allow advisors to want to be on our platform, but what made you decide to become a CPS? Prior to becoming a CPA is working in the diamond business. I had a young family at the time and retail hours were difficult to manage.
I got a job that started at accounts payable. I was happy cause I was working nine to five. And once they really got into the job, I thought this makes sense I can do this. And I decided let’s just shoot for the high and go for the CPA. And so with that my career seems to have brought me to a lot of different places.
The good thing is I’ve experienced audit and forensic accounting. And so surprisingly enough, the CPA world has been a lot more excited, exciting than I think most people realize that it can be. So that’s what. How has that how has you’d mentioned the CPA world can be a lot more exciting because you are, we all know that there’s a auditor and CPA jokes and they tied for the being of the butt of the joke type sometimes.
Why don’t you tell us some more about that? If so, I think there’s a lot of opportunities then besides just sitting behind the desk and pushing a pencil there’s for me, I like the interaction with clients and the different opportunities. Are available socially to work with your clients.
And also there’s the forensic arena, which either can be really ugly or really fun. I think the really ugly sometimes can be when you’re in the middle of a divorce or fighting family. But the fun part is when you are working with agencies in things like Ponzi crime or Ponzi schemes, and I was like able to go on a couple of criminal when they were doing the raids of places to get their records, we had to, I had to go in and get the accounting documents before they were shred by the CFO and the back office talking upfront.
So like I said, when I first started, I never imagined that it would be that fun but there’s a lot more to it. I think there’s just a lot of different avenues that you could choose with the CPA. What are the primary areas of your CPA practice? Candace. So right now, my firm mostly works in the tax area.
We do tax planning and strategizing also the compliance We do provide some fractional CFO works for a few clients and advisory type services. So I usually work with business owners. Sometimes they’re established and sometimes they’re newer just within that whole range. And I like to spend a lot of time with my clients and offer them an opportunity to be trained so they can understand what financials mean and why they’re important.
They’re not just the pain that you have to get done to do your tax. So that’s what we try to do is stay in communication all year. And not just be a compliance practice. Yeah. They you just pick up the paper any business magazine, especially magazines that are into mergers and acquisitions, private equity and hedge funds.
Seems like the world. The rule is a wash for assets. And that could be real estate assets, of course, but itself. So business assets things are called a capital asset. And these days, if you’re a firm that wants to grow or want to be acquired and either, or it seems like these days in the Pac-Man field, either you’re coming or going you, would it be best for you to be knowledgeable as far as how important your financial, ours, that they’d be kept alive and up-to-date.
It wasn’t something you gave to your accountant at the end of the year, or actually in the March or April of the following year and say, Hey, do the numbers on this or save me some money, whatever. I think there’s, I think your field becoming a lot more proactive than it once was. And I think that emboldens people to be more proactive as far as how CPAs reach out to their clients.
And if you’ve got a CPA working for you, In addition to an investment advisor that handles various types of investment, not only the wall street types investment, but other types of could be illiquid investments to several investments you could elucidate or tell us a bit about the different types of assets.
I know you mentioned the fact that you got into the business and the diamond business and what other, and I think I’ve talked to you before that you were in the forensic business. So as far as. Companies that you’ve worked with that have different assets or the industry that it is. Can you tell us a little bit about what those rather unique types of injuries or fun industries are when it comes to what you’ve done?
So I have clients that are in biotech that I think are especially interesting right now with all the new. Things going on and new science is being used in vaccines. I say also like it, because then I can ask all the questions I want and get some answers. And I have a lot of clients in real estate.
And that’s also been a pretty interesting year. As far as that goes and I work with Estate planner attorneys. So that’s been interesting. I like to help the families that, that need guidance moving through that stage. Yeah. You mentioned the state planning. I think the Biden administration, I saw something other day that mentioned the fact that he’s he has plans to reduce that exhibit.
What do you have you read anything about that? Or what’s your thought, what your thought process out sets are mad, especially when it comes to estate planning or families that own businesses and how’s that how’s that work? I think the good thing is he did not remove the step-up in basis that he would have been talking about which was a very scary thought.
And he was going to have the million dollar limitation on. On on the lifetime exemption, I believe now that’s settled around 2 million. I don’t remember the exact number that they’ve been kicking around, but I think that’s a little better, but it also is definitely something to think about.
Here in California, you easily with homeownership can have a million dollar estate. I think that you do. So I think that there’s, it’s good to definitely be proactive and talk to people, go revisit those old trust documents. That may be something that was written a long time ago and needs to be updated anyway.
And I think at this point it’s a little hard to do planning we don’t know eventually what is going to set up. There’s just a lot of speculation. I think that we’re getting some information, the capital gains tax, it sounds like that will stay at the preferential rate.
But again, we never know where things are gonna fall. Definitely. So we just try to do the best we can with speculation. At this point, let’s give it gives people a great idea. Great reason to keep in contact with their tax advisors, tax professionals. On a regular basis and not just once a year, because things change so much, mid-year that not everything starts January 1st.
There can be some times where they include it in the middle of the year and you’re cut back because so many businesses are so busy doing what they’re, what they do best making a living, growing the business and so forth. Then we think about the taxes and it’s almost like if you’re a CPA, you’ve got to stop that thinking and say, listen, I’m your go-to person.
If you want to grow your business. How about let’s sit down and meet with me and let’s strategize a plan. How you can go your business and go ahead. Oh, exactly. I think the biggest thing I like to talk to my clients about too is where do they want to end up? And the best thing to do is start building your financial use and.
You’re planning with your accounting systems and everything else to get you to that place. It’s a lot more difficult to go back and try to fix. And it’s, that tends to be a lot more expensive than just starting off cleaned from the right way. And knowing that in five years I want to sell my business.
I want to one of the things that we need to make sure are clean on the financials and what are they going to look at during due diligence? I want to be prepared with plenty of money to retire on and not have to worry about medical bills. Should I invest all in real estate at this point?
And that’s where a good financial advisor comes in to say does this make sense for you? At your age and in the big picture of everything that, that you have, want to make sure that you are staying liquid, that as well. Yeah. When the the last day, the last major real estate decline we’ve had was oh, eight and oh nine started coming back and tens, but that’s over 10 years and people have always when’s the shoe going to drop, and there’s several reasons why the economy keeps going, but you just want to think that.
And when that happens the proverb is Cassius. So you don’t want to buy at the top of the market, but who knows what the thought? I People thought that 2018 was the top of the market. You haven’t sakes just kept, keeps going. But what I want to ask you is what is when it comes to marketing your practice, Candace, what are some what are the marketing challenges that you have?
So I think sometimes it’s [00:11:00] finding the time just sit down and. Focus on a marketing strategy. It’s very easy for me to get consumed in work as I’m sure everybody else has the same issue, but it is very important to carve out time and come up with a strategy what are you going to do to reach the public and make sure that you’re keeping enough time throughout the year doing that.
What do you think is the most important thing to do in marketing your practice? I think being visible in the community is very important. I have always felt that in the financial world, it’s very personal people really have to expose a lot of themselves and a lot of their business when it comes to seeking financial advice.
You definitely want to be able to build trust. Have people feel comfortable with you. And I feel that the way that you get that to happen is by spending time with them out in the community. And. With [00:12:00] that, I think picking boards to be on for different causes that are important to you is one way without having to invest a huge amount of time.
And another way would be just to, to join local groups. I belong to the rotary club and that has been very beneficial for me. And I know there’s other groups up there as well, but just meeting once a month or. Once a week, just being in front of people, I think is important.
The only in this day of digital age, digital media and everything comes down to what’s on your watch on your phone your text ready. It’s always good to press the flash cause people wanna know that you’re real with those with so many fake people out there on the net. It’s nice to know.
There are people who are real, so there’s no way to, there’s no other way to do that is to come to meetings, physical meetings. I’m glad we’re getting back to the physical meetings. Cause they all stop when COVID appeared, but now you’ve got more organizations that are starting to form again, physical [00:13:00] meetings.
And I think that’s, they people at one time said, oh no, they’re meeting now. The rejoicing said, yeah, I get to go to a meeting. I’m so tired of zooms. I’m so tired of Google meets I think too with COVID and the lack of being able to meet people have become more comfortable and other ways to reach out in the community and are more comfortable with expanding their community just beyond their little pod of of their neighborhood.
It’s amazing how quickly you can reach other places across the nation and really have good working relationships with other people. Yeah. In fact, I have a CPA that is in New York, but we have worked together on a couple of different projects and since then he’s he’s been a great resource to have bouncing ideas off of each other and just getting other aspects and also having somebody that can like.
Give you advice when you need it. Sometimes you get [00:14:00] too wrapped up in the weeds and so it is good to have somebody out there and surprisingly that wasn’t just from being local, that was all the way across the nation. Yeah, that’s very true. I’ve heard that from other advisors, some of the very advisors, some of the advisors on our platform, one of my advisors is CP back in the.
You had mentioned that he’s increased the number of clients in different states multiple times. And he just concentrated in New York and New Jersey. And now he’s got people down in Florida and Atlanta and whatever they prefer to live outside that New Jersey, New York area. So that’s benefit have been beneficial for him.
And just about every professional out there regarding marketing what’s working well in your practice. I think really taking focus on my clients to unders to listen letting them do most of the talking that way it’s it allows them to express their pain points, which maybe [00:15:00] they may not come in with a bullet point sheet and say, this is what I need.
And sometimes they don’t know what they need because they don’t know what’s even out there. I think just letting people talk. Is one of the most important things. And I think that helps people feel a lot more comfortable when they’re listening to you getting advice. And the other thing is staying connected to other professionals in either the same field as myself or or different fields.
I like to be able to know if my client has a certain pain point and it’s not something that. I specialize in that there’s somebody that I can turn them to that I know is going to be work well with them that will, I know we’ll be successful working together. And I think that people really appreciate that instead of trying to say, Hey, I know everything just saying, listen, I don’t know that I know that this can definitely benefit you.
I’m going to let you talk to this person that I’ve worked with in that [00:16:00] area and. And let them do what they do best. Yeah. That w I think we’re all aware of the people that are no bought everything and that friends, it gets red flag meet people. So sometimes when the chamber of commerce meeting or something like that, as you talk to them, I’ve done this and that, especially in financial services, I’ve found that over the years when people have their business card or their flyer, whatever the case may be, they’re out for a litany of 4 0 1 retirement.
Wow. That’s a lot of services. More often nine, you find out they’re selling products within those services, but therein lies the problem. Yes. Okay. And I think by doing that, by being open to referring out on certain times, people remember that and they do reciprocate And they also feel a lot more confident in you that you’re not going to try to just do everything to save some ego that if there is something you’ll bring it to life that you need some help in.[00:17:00]
Yeah. You gotta be up front about that. Are there any lessons that you’ve learned good or bad when it comes to your experiencing your experience, experiences in growing your your practice? So I would say the biggest thing is really be prepared. I think sometimes people may have a fear of how am I going to get clients?
Am I going to be busy this year? And the answer to that is yes, most likely. So be prepared, make sure that you have a plan B so that you don’t run out of the hours during the day. And don’t end up in a in a bind to where Not being able to communicate well with your clients because you’re so far backed up.
I think also being sure to schedule time off. It’s very easy for me to get wrapped up. I can work 24 hours a day. But there are other aspects to my life and I have to make sure that I carve that time out. And sometimes it just does take planning to say, I’m not doing this and I’m putting in plan B [00:18:00] to answer the phone for me so I can get away.
And then I think the other thing that I’ve learned is I feel like over my past years in, in in my career that the expectation for delivery. Has increased. I think people are so used to being able to go online and get an answer in seconds or being able to use some software and pop some numbers in and get a report.
So I think that being careful to communicate with your clients and set realistic time expectations is important. Yes, you can go to certain places and have information input and be done in an hour. But is that really the service that you want? Or do you want something a little bit more comprehensive that will look at all different aspects and try to at least let you know of different opportunities that are out there for them?
If they choose to follow some of them, then that’s great. If they don’t, then that’s great as well. At least they’re not saying why didn’t my CPA. Tell me. Yeah, especially these days with [00:19:00] the advent of the robo the tax, the Intuit, the H and R block of course has always been out there.
And there’s a lot of those people are they’re trained, but I’m not there. I don’t know. How well-trained they are, they’re trained, I think in reading adopting to the 10 forties of the forms of the IRA, that form for. And there’s more there. There’s more of the planning that just a bedding, your knowledge to a form created by 10 40, whether it’s 10 40 or an 1120, or whatever the tax form is.
And that’s the reason why people come to a CPA. Where they can ask you, there’s a nuance to what you how you handle the four. There’s the assertive, there’s a sort of CPAs or aggressive CPAs. There’s Nick and miles CPAs. There’s across the board. And I think clients once they understand that it makes, could make a big difference with regards to their well [00:20:00] liability to the IRS.
Depends a lot on who they work with. And. Yeah. Yup. And I always feel that my clients the tax return is the end result before those forms are filled out throughout the year. They know where they’re going to stand in and they’ve planned for whatever has, is coming down the pipe.
And I usually like to discuss with my clients enough so that by the end of the year, they know what the end number is going to be. So there’s no surprises. Yeah. How important has traditional marketing been to your practice? Things like networking referrals, direct mail and so forth. So I think networking and referrals have been very key to building my practice.
Not only from receiving referrals from clients, but also reciprocating referrals back to other experts in the same field as me. And I ha I haven’t done a direct mail campaign. I feel like this might be pretty expensive and I’m not sure exactly how effective they [00:21:00] are. We all know where most of the junk mail ends up.
So I feel moving more towards the digital marketing is definitely more cost-effective and also I think more efficient to spread your message. You’re correct. Direct mail has had a way of landing up in round file, number 13, that was called part of outbound marketing.
And then it seems like inbound marketing took over. And then that is when you think about MailChimp and all the rest of these digital marketing powerhouses that set out hundreds of thousands of emails. And we gotta be concerned about them too, because. The system is becoming smarter and smarter than that understanding what are the IP addresses of MailChimp?
So your question is whether they do the actually received, did they actually get to the intended receiver? So there’s lots of things to consider when you’re doing that digital marketing. But when it comes to content on [00:22:00] digital marketing, what what types of contents have you created or have you done that?
Have you done any in the past for the promotion of your business? So I have mainly stuck to blog posts across different platforms. And I think. Also and this is my first podcast, by the way, first video content that I’m sending out. But the other thing that I think has been helpful to my practice is just to admit that I’m not a marketer and endless people that are marketers to help me I used to think that maintaining a blog post would be very time-consuming you have to dig deep and make sure you’re correct.
And how do I post this? But I did have found out there’s a lot of subscription subscriptions out there that have a lot of content that you are able to use and adjust to set your own tone to it. I think that helps. And then [00:23:00] also have. Like I said a marketing professional to, to help take that burden away from you is huge help.
Like it’s really worth the money I heard. I read one time. You’re either going to pay for marketing or you’re gonna pay for closing your business. One of the two. Wow. That’s a good, that’s a good thing. I should remember that when I’m out there talking to advisors that utilizing our financial advisors support.
Cause it’s all about that. We did German in the myth, the many advisors and my platform is the fact that they would really like a concierge, someone to actually take over their marketing and handling because they know what they do as far as investment advisory or tax advisory, they would like an equal type.
Professional to do that. And what’s more and ask them, sit down with them and say much, like you sit down with a client and talk about their taxes. The digital marketing professional will sit down with the client and say, okay, let’s develop a strategy. And maybe become just like [00:24:00] you’re a fractional CFO.
In my industry is to become a fractional CMO, a fractional chief marketing officer. And that’s what advisors want because there are lots of times they’ve got a video here. They’ve got a blog here. Can anybody put it all together for me and it’s coming we’ll we go on give me a plan book, like a football team does and say, this is our schedule for the next six months.
And here’s what I expect of you and blah, blah, blah. And then at least it’s handled you know that you’re doing the best you can. That’s efficient with the graduate or your budget. You’re not overspending, not understanding. Because you don’t want to close your business and you don’t want to overspend and close your business.
You just want to spend that requisite amount to bring you eyeballs your target market, not anybody, but just your target market what you tend to specialize in. And that’s what I found is true for most advisors. They want leads from people who they tend to work with, and that’s why we have in our platform each and every [00:25:00] advisor on a platform.
On a pref on there, on the profile itself. What types of individuals do you work with now and who do you enjoy working with? So the client or the prospective consumer investor client come to that page will know this is who they are. This is who the advisor works with. So many of our minds. Yeah, I agree.
I think people are busy. I think they like it’s good to have the guidance whenever you can go to one place and be able to sift through and find somebody that you know, is an expert in the niche that you’re looking for. Yeah. How important do you think what just, would you say, how important do you think going forward is digital marketing for your practice?
Do you see it becoming more or less? Not only for your own practice, your CP practice, but the CPA industry and. It’s, I feel it’s definitely here to stay. And it’s definitely an important part of, if not a very critical part of your whole marketing scheme. [00:26:00] I don’t understand SEO.
I don’t understand all of the multiple platforms that are out there and how they work with the searches. That’s why like I said, it is critical to have somebody handle that for you and people go to the internet and they’re Googling everything. You also it’s definitely out there.
You want to make sure that you’re the content that is referred about you is quality. That’s true. Sure. Yeah. And I think being intentional from the beginning is very important as well. The information that’s on the web can be there forever. So you definitely want to be intentional with what’s going out and PR enhancing your image.
Absolutely. You’re right about that. It’s there forever. We’ve all done a Google search and wanted some certain subjects. And then we’re reading this article and found out it was printed in April of 2018. Yeah, it’s almost like you want to tell Google to clean [00:27:00] up their mess. It’s like you, your room’s dirty, your room’s littered with all this old information is can you clean it up?
And their answer is no, there it’s the person that wrote it up there. We’re not responsible for anything. That’s a whole, that’s a whole new thing. This rule two 30 that they’re investigating here. Who’s responsible for what? But that’s a different podcast altogether. Anyway, we’re coming up to the half hour mark and I just wanted to mentioned a couple of things to you.
What, when I talked to my guests on the show, it’s always something to keep it guest. So if you could think of you, can you think of two people that you’d that would like to be guests in the show would really like to know who those people are. Businesses or in advisors or whatever the case may be, because I read someplace where if you did that name of the podcast, you asked somebody if they can provide to people, then you would always have a steady stream of guests on your podcast.
And you’ve been a great [00:28:00] podcast guest, even though it’s your first time, it’s only my fourth or fifth time you more, you do this more comfortable you get and it’s like everything else, you don’t, you got to start someplace but anyway, we’ll is there anything else you’d like to add to the podcast today?
I think the only thing I’d like to add is to thank you for allowing me within your platform. It definitely has been a benefit just in the. Story time that we’ve worked together definitely better it’s generated results. And I think that’s important as well.
Before we go, how would people, how would companies or individuals who wanted it to rely on your expertise as a CPA candidates get ahold of you so they can. First of all I can be found on the financial advisors.com website. Also I have my website at Candace Greylock, cpa.com. And the best way is either book a consultation online, or feel free to send an email or phone call really good.
And I’m always happy to answer questions. Sometimes people just want a question answered and not necessarily a whole bunch of other things attached to, I’m always happy to answer. And that’s very good to know. Cause a lot of people ask a lot of questions for the even commit and there’s lots of industries out there that have these walls up there and says the meters on, as soon as you pick up the phone, it’s like I’m just kicking the tires here, so it’s glad that you have those free consultations for people. To see if you guys can work together so that’s always good. So let me thank you very much. I want to thank Ken his girl for being one of my guests on the essential financial advisor marketing podcast show. And look for us the show on your friendly apple or Spotify platforms and also on financial advisors dot com and financial advisors support.com.
Our new. Playing a comprehensive digital marketing services and tools for independent fashion advisers. So thank you very much, Candace for your time. And we’ll we’ll say goodbye for now. All right. Thanks.


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