It’s been a long time since I wrote the first two parts of this article. The funny thing is, I really enjoy writing. I’ve always had a talent for it (although having a good editor never hurts), it just seems like there were always other priorities. That should be changing. Let’s be honest. Part of being successful in this business is having people know you’re out there, and blogs and published articles help achieve that.
When I left off my tale, I had attracted the attention of the Client Service Technology Department of KPMG Peat Marwick based on an application I had created for the Washington, DC office. They soon made me an offer to join them in Northern New Jersey. I considered this an honor, as I would be working out of the company’s main headquarters. And, for the first time in my professional career, I wouldn’t be working on taxes. Already I was beginning to feel stirrings of wanting to do something more creative than just preparing tax returns. I welcomed this new challenge.
I stayed with Client Service Technology for a year plus. Much of this time was spent on continuing to refine the UPREIT program for wider distribution throughout the firm. I worked on other projects and learned from people who had been in the computer world much longer than I had and my skills greatly improved during this time. For a time, I was on the technological cutting edge. However, even with all that going on, I was still restless. I had been making annual (or more frequent) trips to Las Vegas with friends for a number of years, and had fallen in love with the desert and the area. Sure, I was seeing it from a tourist’s standpoint, and I knew that’s where I wanted to live. So, I spent the summer of 1996 flying back and forth to Las Vegas, going on interviews and looking for a place to live. My first preference would have been to stay with KPMG, however their presence in Las Vegas was small, and they really didn’t have a fit for me. Finally, in the fall, I secured a position as a Tax Manager with the local Las Vegas firm of Main Gorman. Jim Main, my first boss in Las Vegas, is still a friend of mine. And in November, 1996, I bought a one way ticket to Las Vegas, had my car and household goods shipped out west, and began my life away from the east coast.
I recall early on having a discussion with the partners at Main Gorman where they asked me what my job was. I responded that my job was to train my replacement. They were confused by that, stating that they needed me as the Tax Manager and that they didn’t need a replacement for me. I responded that, if I didn’t train someone to do what I could do, all I could ever be to them was a Tax Manager, and I believed I had more to offer. For now, though, I was happy with the Tax Manager position, I just didn’t want to stay there forever.
I think I did a very good job as Tax Manager. I’ve always been technically proficient and the firm was big enough that I was always kept busy. Most of my time was on compliance and review, and a chunk was on IRS work and tax research. I was good at it, and I wasn’t happy with it. After only a couple of years, I wanted to do more, and I didn’t see the opportunity at Main Gorman. I had also been approached by KPMG to do more work for them, and it was work I could do remotely. Also, I met my (now ex-)wife during my tenure at Main Gorman, and a more independent working schedule would allow me to spend more time with her.
I ended up resigning from Main Gorman and forming my own company. With the Y2K craze at the time, I chose the name TuKay Consulting. KPMG and and Main Gorman were my main clients, and I looked for others to help boost things. While I was making good money with these two clients, there was a real danger of putting all my eggs in one basket. Frankly, at the time I wasn’t a great self-promoter. I’m fairly introverted, and going out to networking events and a lot of “pressing the flesh” was not comfortable to me. This remains a challenge to this day, however I have better support systems now, and one can only speculate on how those systems might have impacted the success of TuKay Consulting. The practical effect was that, after only having TuKay Consulting for a couple of years, I joined forces with another CPA to become Bruce & Gottesman, CPAs. The man who introduced me to my business partner was in many ways responsible for me now being a B2B CFO® partner.
And that’s a tale for Part 4. I promise you won’t have to wait 2+ years for that installment.