Biznik interview with Laura Dodson

By Matt Lawrence, Biznik Director of Community

Posted Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Laura Dodson is a Quickbooks Certified ProAdvisor in Seattle. She has been a Biznik member since June of 2009. I first met Laura in late 2009 as a Biznik member, before I was hired as the community manager. I asked a question in the Biz Talk forums as a newbie. She gave me straight up awesome business advice. And that’s what it’s all about.

When did you first know you were passionate about tax prep?

I love solving complex problems with many moving parts. I think my passion about accounting, tax, and business processes all fall from that problem solving mojo. I liked it in grade school when I finished the math test first, and I still like it when I find a solution that puts a smile on a client’s face.

Almost all entrepreneurs agree that making mistakes can be the best way to learn about yourself as a businessperson? What’s the most important mistake that you have made?

That CPA’s don’t need to market or advertise or market their services. One of things that I like the most about Biznik is the incredible amount of knowledge base stored in the Articles. I don’t always agree with the writers but I learn a lot and get new ideas on how to present my business to the outside world. I’m personally very shy and quiet. One of the things that I’ve learned is to be a bolder and louder version of myself in my marketing/advertising. I think that is the biggest influence that Biznik has had on my business.

How has being in business for yourself changed how you view the world?

Trust, but verify. Ronald Reagan used this phrase a lot, especially in dealing with other nations during trade negotiations. I think it strikes to the heart of what constitutes good business sense. Trust others, but make sure they follow up with their end of the bargain.

What is a recent compromise you have had to make for the benefit your business?

The amount of time that I devote to running the business.

Is there a Biznik member that you would like to get to know better or work with?

Kathleen Fasanella – A Pattern Maker in New Mexico.  She commented on one of my BizTalk posts and has an incredible depth of knowledge in the fashion industry.  I would encourage anyone with aspirations in that field to read her books and blog.

What development would you like to be known for in accounting?

A return to the old fashioned type of CPA firm where people come in have a cup of coffee and discuss their issues/tax problems.   There is a great emphasis placed in my industry of trying to be more efficient/profitable that I sometimes think the customer service side is neglected a bit.  If we strive to become automated tax preparation firms  how are we different than a tax preparation program?  This January Infospace purchased Tax Act for $287M.

A quote from the CEO of Infospace. “We know what it means to acquire customers online, and develop products for online environments. And all of those disciplines are front and center with TaxACT, since it is an online business through and through. ”

I disagree with that statement.  Tax preparation is more than that.  It’s about having a great understanding of the client’s needs, applicable tax law, and project management.

Do you have a consistent challenge that you work to overcome?

Finding time in the day to do everything that needs to be done.  I now put my personal time in my schedule and make it just as much a priority as my customer’s projects.

What advice do you have for an accountant, or for someone just starting out?

In any technical field the educational portion of your training is just the beginning.  It sometimes takes years to become proficient or to have a wide range knowledge base.  Take the time to find a mentor who will help guide your steps to your goals.

  • Kathleen

    How flattering! Sorry to respond so late in the game, it’s difficult to keep up with everything.

    I’d love to work with you Laura. How much do you know about accounting as it pertains to manufacturing? We have questions on accounting (mostly costing, not precisely the same thing) all the time on my forum. I imagine the two of us would have difficulty coordinating our schedules but feel free to call me anytime. 505-877-1713

    PS. I’m also very shy and not at all outgoing in real life. Personality wise, we could be very similar.