By Jim Eastin
When it is tax season, tax preparers have very little time for themselves. Gary Dick is no exception. Gary was born and raised in KY. After college he started to work in a CPA firm preparing taxes and bookkeeping. Then he decided to change from public accounting to private accounting and began to work for a manufacturing company in Louisville.
He stayed with that company for the next 35 years. The company moved Gary to seven different locations, including a three-year stint in Munich, Germany. His last position was CFO of a $400 million division. In 2008, his company was bought out for the second time. He therefore decided that it was time to pursue his long-term goal of moving to the mountains.
“I have always been a planner,” he says. “Every December I plan out the next three years. I write them down and then take them to heart. I divide my life into three parts: spiritual, physical and financial. One must set goals in each of these areas and live up to them.”
He began to search for businesses for sale and after much searching found a small income tax business in Pigeon Forge. The owner lived in Atlanta and had tried to manage it with relatives. “Since no one knew me by name, I kept everything as transparent as possible. That is why when you come to my office you’ll find it fairly bare bones. I want people to feel comfortable and not assume it’s too expensive for them.”
“We recently added a translator, Alejandra Grant, so that we can serve Hispanic clients in the area with I-10s and SS-4s. I believe I am successful because I try to practice the Golden Rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated. Treat them as if they are the most important client you have because, in reality, they are the most important. You build your business one client at a time and it takes 10 times the effort to get one than maintain one.”
“Our motto is ‘at work for you.’ I thought long about that before I put it on my business card. I want the client to see that we are here to serve them, not control them. At Acuff, we make time for our clients. Sometimes accountants outgrow their ability to serve their clients with this close relationship. When that happens you need to find a new one.”
Gary is an accountant who holds a CPA and CMA certification. His office provides both bookkeeping and accounting services for small businesses. “I am CPA certified in Tennessee and a member of the National Association of Tax Preparers. I hold a CMA certification, one far less known but highly respected. It is a Certified Management Accountant. It is usually for those who are in industry as it focuses on cost accounting, economics, strategic planning, budgeting and many other aspects of business that is not always common to CPAs. I also hold an MBA degree that encompasses all the above. With 40 years as an accountant, I have observed, heard and experienced most things a business will face.”
Since Acuff is a tax company, tax expertise is critical to the company’s bottom line. “Knowing how business works is critical to assist a client,” Gary says. “Tax laws change each year. We all have to stay up to speed, but understanding business is not quickly learned and certainly not from a book. I am specifically looking for companies that need monthly or quarterly accounting assistance. I am looking for people who are not getting the service they deserve from their CPA or tax preparer.”
These would be companies that are locally owned which may provide services like cabin maintenance, rental, cleaning or professional services such as insurance, legal, medical, construction, beauty salons, real estate, etc. or family owned retail businesses such as furniture, hotel and restaurant. Anyone who is disappointed with their accountant or wants a closer relationship with a trusted advisor or has income tax issues.
Gary also helps people with tax debt resolution. “At times people get behind on their tax returns or payments. We assist individuals and companies who fall into this situation. We can assist the client in filing back tax returns as well as setting up IRS payment plans or in some situations we can assist with an Offer in Compromise with the IRS.”
(Contact Gary Dick at Acuff Tax Service, 3516 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863, 865-774-3500, www.Prep.1040.com/Acufftax, Acufftax@gmail.com)