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Accounting for boutique marketing agencies

🤓 candid business guidance
🤓
audit-safe tax planning
🤓
straightforward finances & bookkeeping
🤓 routine growth & tax check-ins
🤓 answers to all your ‘dumb’ questions

(which aren’t actually dumb btw 😊)

Hey 👋👋

I’m Michael. I’m an accountant for marketing agencies and consultants. And, you’re (presumably) a marketing agency or consultant in search of a new accountant. Nice to meet you 🤝 and, welcome to the bottom of my funnel 😋

Let’s skip the cliché homepage framework and get straight to the point, kk?

You’re here because you have a few questions. Specifcally, you probably want to know:

And, the high-level summary is: I’m an accountant that offers year-round tax, bookkeeping, and consulting subscriptions for marketing agencies and consultants. You can get started with a quick chat.

But, let’s really dig into those questions for you – 

About Michael

Like I said, I’m Michael. I’m an accountant, have a bit of a resting business face, and am best known for yapping on LinkedIn.

I’ve also been quoted by dozens of websites, guested on podcasts, was named on CPA Practice Advisor’s ’40 under 40′ accountants list, am the treasurer of a local non-profit, blah blah blah, other very impressive brags, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, etc. You get it.

My solo-practice is a modern, good-humored accounting consultancy. All the same money math you know and love, but with a lil more levity and few wisecracks, because saving taxes and improving cash flow may be serious, but the rest of this doesn’t need to be.

And, it may just be me behind the screen, but I’ll meet you where you are on your accounting journey and get you where you need to be. 

  • Just getting started? Perfect.
  • Struggling with messy books and back taxes? Perfect.
  • Already running and in need of a change? Perfect.

We’ll get you right as rain, without the shame 😉

🤓 Enrolled Agent: I’m an Enrolled Agent, which is an IRS license that allows me to defend clients against tax audits. It’s different from the CPA, but that’s okay. Both licenses are more than enough (and, what’s really important is the professional behind the letters).

🤔 Fractional CFO: I’m not a fractional CFO tho. I can help with forecasting, taxes, and accounting. But, won’t be involved in other traditional CFO tasks, like risk management, board meetings, loan applications, or deeper financial analysis. 

I have a lot of anxiety around matters of finance and of course, that translates double into taxes. So being able to be comfortable, laugh, ask ANY questions, and be shepherded through the process by someone who is serious about getting it right is a HUGE relief. … He’s also kind in explaining things and doesn’t talk down to folks about it. …

(Did I mention that he is damn funny?)

Mindy

Who I work with

While there’s no velvet rope or strict dresscode, my clients tend to have a few things in common. Obviously, they’re marketing agencies and consultants. You’ve figured that bit out by now, but they’re also:

😎 Lean teams: My clients are usually smaller agencies, ranging from a single consultant to around 20-ish employees and under $5,000,000 annual revenue.

😎 Boutique specialists: They’re experts in their domain. That could be – demand gen, Storybrand, fractional CMO, SEO strategy, messaging consultants, public relations, outsourced MOps, etc. They’re great at what they do.

😎 Growing intentionally: Clients tend to have lifestyle businesses and a strong work/life balance. They care about their team, clients, and creative work product.

😎 By the book: They don’t comingle funds, won’t take sketchy tax interpretations, don’t inflate expenses, definitely don’t wink wink nudge nudge, and would never commit tax fraud.

And, these clients typically needed help with similar issues. Above all, they wanted a deeper, less-transactional relationship with their accountant. They also wanted:

🤓 An IRS translator: Taxes are confusing. Clients wanted an accountant to translate IRS rules, letters, and notices into plain English (and, explain why they don’t need to lose sleep over it).

🤓 Proactive planning: They’re tired of playing catch up, unexpected tax bills in April, and making blind decisions. Clients wanted help managing (and legally minimizing) taxes and peaking into the future with Growth Forecasts.

🤓 Financially-minded feedback: My clients have done a great job getting where they are, but they’d been managing from the heart and wanted a finance-minded voice in the room. 

🤓 A weight off their shoulders: Taxes, finances, and making sure they don’t all fall apart are ✨a lot.✨ Many clients simply wanted to outsource their accounting AND remove their accounting stress.

What’s included

Typically, accountants will file your tax return, (sorta) balance your books, then leave you to fend for yourself.

I take it a little further with my year-round subscription clients.

I’ll still file your tax returns and (actually) balance your books. But, I’ll also help:

  • manage your taxes (thru quarterly estimates and planning)
  • answer all your tax/finance questions (without a condescending attitude )
  • grow your business (with regular consulting and forecasting)

And, this is what’s included (and why you should care) 

🎀 Business & personal tax returns: Tax returns are more complicated than just typing numbers into the computer. You want the right numbers in the right places, so you pay the right tax (and not a penny more). I’ll review your accounting, ask more questions than your last accountant ever did, pay close attention to multi-state issues, and check for last-minute opportunities.

(💸 available à la carte. S-corp & partnership fees start at $2,000, personal at $1,000 💸)

🔔 Quarterly tax estimates: Your quarterly tax payments are due April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and January 15th (with any remainder when you file). A week before each payment date, I’ll remind you how much to pay, how we arrived at our estimate, and where to pay (with links).

☎️ Onboarding tax & finance calls: You probably have lotsss of questions that previous accountants ignored. We’ll start your Deep Dive with two calls about taxes & finances, to teach you the best practices and give you a chance to finally ask all those questions.

… It was the right choice! Michael gave me a free intro chat and then proceeded to competently and efficiently handle my tax returns. Right from the start, I could tell that he was easy to work with addressing all my questions and concerns with patience and understanding. He is dedicated to detail and just the best at explaining things and getting back to you in a timely manner. …
Stephanie

🧠 Year-end tax review: Tax season surprises are the worst. We’ll get ahead of them with a tax planning meeting in November/December to discuss your business, any updates, and look for opportunities to minimize your tax bill.

💊 S-Corporation eligibility assessment: If you Google, “I own a business and taxes make me sad,” the internet will tell you to form an S-corp. But, taxes aren’t that simple and S-corps don’t alwaysss save money. We’ll check and make sure they do before helping you make the S-corp election.

👷 Reasonable compensation & payroll (S-corps only): S-corp owners need to pay themselves payroll. The IRS left how much open to debate tho. We’ll run a reasonable compensation study, optimize your payroll to save tax without adding audit risk, and get payroll set up.

🤓 CEO Notes & weekly guidance: Truly proactive advice is difficult without a zillion meetings or being embedded in your team. Instead of clogging our calendars, we’ll asynchronously discuss issues and preempt problems between meetings with weekly ‘CEO Notes.’ You’ll answer 5 questions, I’ll chime in, and we’ll fix issues before they fester & become problems. 

Michael is wonderful to work with. He very knowledgeable, detailed and thorough. We also greatly appreciate how quickly he responses to questions and concerns, in addition to his patience explaining everything. Would highly recommend!

Rita

🤐 Confidentiality: It should go without saying, but everything we discuss is just between you, me, and the IRS. I don’t share client names, my client list, or any details about them with anyone. And, while you may inspire a LinkedIn post, I’d absolutely never bully you via LinkedIn (I cannot believe I need to point that out, but people have asked 😅).

😓 Crisis days: Running an agency can feel like you’re constantly making big decisions and putting out fires. Next time you need help, request a crisis day and we’ll spend four hours solving your issue. We’ll start with a crisis and end with an action plan and next steps. 

💸 Flat-fee subscription pricing: No hourly. No surprises. No ‘the tax return costs extra.’ One monthly price, everything included, and revisited yearly.

🙏 Please & thank you: My mom would say I don’t have manners. But, I know how to say please, thank you, and send a polite email. And, nowadays, that’s saying something 😅

🔍 Prior tax return reviews: I’m sure your last accountant was wonderfully competent. I’ll review your prior returns just to give us all a lil more peace of mind tho.

👷 Capture and categorize every transaction: Everything starts with your bookkeeping – your business tax return, cash flow forecasting, tax planning, financial decision-making, quarterly estimates – everything. We’ll capture and categorize every transaction for more accurate books, and more importantly, a more accurate everything else.

📊 Growth forecast & validation: I’m sure you’ve already built a wonderful financial forecast. But, we’ll start from scratch with a new, customized, two-page cash flow & capacity forecast. We’ll map out your revenue, capacity, major expenses (like talent, facilities, tech, misc operating costs), monthly set-asides, and savings targets. Then, discuss your strategic plan, validate it, and dive into it with confidence.

…Working with Michael has been amazing. Two parts Real Talk, one part Therapy, with just a drizzle of sass – exactly what I needed. … You are getting exactly what you think: the Edna Mode of Business Consulting.

Michele

☎️ Regular consulting calls: They didn’t teach you about finances or taxes in college. That’s okay tho, because they taught me all about it. Our calls will be an opportunity to discuss major decisions, chronic problems, and get an outside financially-minded perspective, from yours truly. (Note: I’ll probably give you homework)

😇 Judgment-free support: Accountants aren’t exactly known for their sparkling personalities or bedside manner. We’re known for being gruff, grumpy, and grouchy. Not exactly a pleasure to work with. I can’t promise to be a pleasure, but I won’t judge you for where you’re at in your business journey.

🦸‍♂️ Audit protection: No one likes a tax department letter, but you’re bound to get them. There’s a tech hiccup, the IRS misplaced a payment, a state claims they never got a payroll return, an automatic letter got spit out, you forgot to register for something, etc. Forward those letters to me and I’ll write responses – included.

… He was incredibly professional, efficient and knowledgeable and managed to get a very challenging project organized and done on time. I will continue to use him for bookkeeping/accounting services for my small business and personal side, as well as tax preparation services for the future. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for tax, accounting and bookkeeping support.

Alison

👷 Managed bookkeeping: Bookkeeping is an energy vampire. Let me do it. I’ll tame the accounting software, categorize the transactions, reconcile the accounts, and track down any annoying errors. You’ll just have to update the bank connection (I’ll remind you 😉), send me the statements, and answer a few questions. I got the rest.

🎥 Recordings: You’ll get recordings of all our calls. Rewatch them, run them thru AI, or let them collect dust in your cloud storage. I don’t care, but they’re yours. (Just don’t try to clone my voice 😤)

🏛️ Year-round tax support: Tax questions happen all year. When you have a Q, shoot me an email and get an answer within 24hrs – without the dreaded surprise invoice.

💾 Secure portal & tech stack: Your taxes and financials include a lot of sensitive info. Safeguarding it is mission-critical. All your documents are held in a SOC2 audited secure portal, my accounting software requires two-factor authentication, and I’ll never ask for full-access bank logins. 

Michael was great helping me out with my personal tax filing: professional, responsive, prompt, and his service has a decent online portal. Helped me out with a last minute semi-complicated tax situation. Fair price, solid work, and great customer service.
Justin

😂 Jokes & stories: I may not be a comedian and you won’t see my jokes on TikTok any time soon. But, I’ll crack a few jokes, tell a few stories, and we’ll have a few laughs. At the very least, you won’t dread our meetings.

🥼 Industry expertise: They say marketing has too much jargon and too many acronyms. Go ahead and use it. I’ll know what you mean, because you aren’t the only agency I work with.

⚡ Quick calls: Some issues are easier to discuss over the phone, than going back and forth via email. Call my private number and we’ll talk thru the issue, without the song and dance.

note: there are no recordings of Quick Calls

How we can work together (and how much that costs)

Finance
Partner

Starting at $2000 + $1195/mo

actually understand your finances

You’re really rolling and need a neutral voice that you can trust. Sorta like that friend you always turn to for advice…except with a business background.

1. Discovery Phase ($2000 + $350/add'l partner):

Everything in 'Tax Essentials' with:

N

Expanded Deep Dive questionnaire

N

FinTech & accounting review

3

2. Ongoing Support (starting at $1195/mo):

Everything in 'Tax Essentials' with:

N

Quarterly business reviews

N

Monthly bookkeeping

N

Monthly reports, thoughts, & analysis

N

Attendance at your annual strategy planning

u

[Addons]

  • Growth Forecast
  • Monthly business reviews
  • Crisis Days
  • Weekly Memo / CEO Notes
  • On-demand Decision Support
  • Pricing analysis

Tax
Essentials

Starting at $1000 + $300/mo

never worry about taxes ever again

When you’d like an accountant on call to answer all your tax and accounting questions throughout the year. But, aren’t ready to go all-in on your finances yet.

1. Discovery Phase ($1000 + $300/add'l partner):

N

Deep Dive questionnaire

N

Tax & Finance Q&A Calls

N

Tax history & return review

3

2. Ongoing support (starting at $300/mo):

N

Business tax return

N

Personal tax return

N

Quarterly tax estimate reminders

N

Year-round tax support & security

N

Year-end tax review

u

[Addon]

  • Simple Books: quarterly updates, tax season ready, self-serve reports
Pay-as-you-go (a la carte)

For: consultants getting off the ground

When you only need help every once in a while. Ad hoc returns and other work come at a premium tho.

S-corp / P-ship tax return

Starting at $2000

Personal tax return

Starting at $1000

Q&A Consult

$350 per call (schedule now)

Pricing FAQ

What factors affect your pricing?

‘Tax Essentials’ pricing depends on:

  • your gross revenue
  • number of partners
  • number of states
  • entity type (ie, sole prop, SMLLC, S-corp, partnership)
  • general complexity

‘Finance Partner’ pricing also depends on:

  • how frequently we meet (you can choose monthly, quarterly, or something in between)
  • the number of financial transactions
  • how many bank & credit card accounts you have

What’s the minimum commitment?

Both ‘Proactive Partner’ and ‘Tax Essentials’ packages are 12-month commitments.

à la carte tax returns (both personal and business) are just that season’s tax return. 

Do you prepare à la carte tax returns without a subscription?

Yea, S-corp & partnership returns start at $2,000, personal start at $1,000. But that won’t include any year-round support, check-ups, letter support, or tax consults.

Do you offer one-off consulting calls?

Sure do. You can schedule one here.

Getting started

Step 1. Vibe Check: Everyone jumps right into sales and discovery. But, what happened to hello? how are you? my name is?

Before we jump in, let’s take some time to chat, get to know each other, and discuss your business. 

Step 2. Discovery Phase: If we mesh and you’d like to pursue working together, we’ll start the deep dive.

I’ll review your tax returns, poke around your books, and we’ll schedule two calls to dive deep into all your questions that previous accountants ignored.

Then, at the end, we’ll discuss my findings, send you the call recordings, and forward my proposal.

Step 3. Catch up & Clean up: Once you’ve signed on the dotted line (and paid my first invoice), we’ll get started by cleaning up any messiness, like inaccurate books, unfiled taxes, or audits.

Step 4. Smooth Sailing: Finally, we’ll get into an annual rhythm of filing returns, paying estimates, reconciling your bookkeeping, updating forecasts, and discussing your agency’s finances. Before you know it, you won’t even remember the time finances stressed you out.

I just got off an hour-long strategy sesh with Michael and I can’t be more fricking pleased.

…Anyway, so we had an amazing call where he answered all of my questions, helped me prioritize what to focus on where, and identify and plan to fix my most pressing business financial hiccups. He was so realistic and supportive and did a great job reminding me that 1. I don’t need to feel like shit for not having a good handle on this naturally, and 2. that it will take a couple of years to really unravel what’s been going on. And. you know what? That’s exactly what I needed to hear. …

If you need intelligent, coherent, and comprehendible tactics and suggestions for how to get your business financials in order, I can do nothing but praise Michael and suggest his expertise to you. You won’t regret it.

Unless you want magic.
Then you need to find a magician.

Colleen

I just got off an hour-long strategy sesh with Michael and I can’t be more fricking pleased.

…Anyway, so we had an amazing call where he answered all of my questions, helped me prioritize what to focus on where, and identify and plan to fix my most pressing business financial hiccups. He was so realistic and supportive and did a great job reminding me that 1. I don’t need to feel like shit for not having a good handle on this naturally, and 2. that it will take a couple of years to really unravel what’s been going on. And. you know what? That’s exactly what I needed to hear. …

If you need intelligent, coherent, and comprehendible tactics and suggestions for how to get your business financials in order, I can do nothing but praise Michael and suggest his expertise to you. You won’t regret it.

Unless you want magic.
Then you need to find a magician.

Colleen