Latino representation in accounting with Arthur Garcia (Part 2)
In this second episode of this two-part episode, Phil continues his conversation with Arthur Garcia, a tech leader, co-founder and COO of SOMOS and co-founder of Contabi Alliance. Arthur talks about the accounting experience he received at this family’s restaurant instead of a public accounting firm. He also discusses how he helps accounting firms implement structures with new types of services. Lastly, he shares his advice on guiding students on a career path in accounting.
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Narrator [00:01:01] Hello and thank you for tuning in to another episode of CPA Review and more. We are pleased to bring you the number one podcast for CPAs and CPA candidates. If you'd like to learn more about how a Yaeger CPA Review can help you, find us on our website at Yaeger CPA review dot com. Now here's your host Phil Yaeger.
Phil [00:01:35] Did you work for any public accounting firm?
Arthur [00:01:37] I did not.
Phil [00:01:38] How'd you get the experience then?
Arthur [00:01:40] So, you know, as I mentioned to you, my experience came from doing the work in my parents business. And when I say the work, I'm talking about bookkeeping, doing finance, payroll services. But really, my experience came from providing consulting firms on how to transition and implement best practices in their firm on transitioning to cloud technology. And that's something that we've heard a lot of is how do you make that that change? So a lot of it came from hands on working with these firms on how in the world were they going to disrupt the processes and the structure that the partners had set up to implement these new types of services? So again, as someone that has always had a strong student mentality is as I learned and I learned from from the outside and sometimes people ask me, nor how did you get started or how did you get to this position without being an accountant by trade? And I think running the the country alliance and an association for accounting firms, they don't need me to be a CPA. They need me to help them with other challenges that are facing their firms with, you know, how they build for their services and how they create a culture within their firm to better serve the needs of their clients. So I think those are the types of outside the box or outside of the scope or maybe intangibles that they needed for me as they transform their firms.
Phil [00:03:09] Did you want to take the CPA exam, just what made you decide, Oh, I don't really need to be a CPA? All right. What was your thinking on that? What are you thinking on that?
Arthur [00:03:18] You know, there was a time where, where, where I did consider it, when I really started to come into my own in my career on the tech side that was serving the CPA community in advance myself, you know, if I'm going to be successful at this, you know, I'm going to need to have my credential. I mean, I got my MBA that's helped me, but I need some of these credentials, these letters that follow the names of some of the, you know, the top leaders in the industry, right?
Phil [00:03:47] The thought leaders is that if one thought leader that you go ahead, I'm sorry.
Arthur [00:03:55] Yeah, no. Is that something that is, you know, something you don't mention on your show here? But yes, I mean, it's something that I considered. But I again, I realize that the firms that I was consulting, the team that I was building, it was something that I didn't need to do, the work that I was doing in my role. And and so therefore, you know, it's something that I was that I did consider. But I know still that, you know, with your business and the review, you know, you're looking at, you know, how do we reach more young people? How do we reach more people for that path of a CPA? And so I think that there's definitely an opportunity to position the profession in a way that is attractive, that goes beyond, you know, maybe someone's belief that, OK, if I'm going to be an account, I'm going to be in a cubicle and I'll be doing data entry. I'm going to get a stack of work and you know, it never ends and like, this is what accounts I think it's paid for.
Phil [00:04:57] And that sounds boring to me. Yeah, yeah.
Arthur [00:04:59] So so it's about painting the picture of how exciting it is, and I believe that accounting is the international language of business.
Phil [00:05:09] Oh, definitely.
Arthur [00:05:09] So regardless of what you do in your career as a young person, if you get accounting, if you incorporate that into your experience and pursue that CPA, it will do nothing but help you in your career regardless if you say in practice or outside of practice. And so it's kind of painting that picture of like this will definitely help you regardless of where you work anywhere in the world, because the numbers are international, right? And and that doesn't change regardless of what language you speak. It's all about the numbers for a small business. And so if someone can understand how to communicate and interpret that and help business businesses or even their own business be successful, I think it just makes sense that designation also the more important. So again, it's painting the picture of what that looks like beyond the firm, but operating your own practice, but also outside of practice of how it has helped professionals excel in their careers.
Phil [00:06:16] You know, people who have been turned off by the requirements to be a CPA,
Arthur [00:06:23] I think more so. My experience is working with smaller firms that might, may have other designations or have bookkeeping or accounting experiences. They built a practice. Is that is successful and that has been lucrative for them without having that designation, so I think it's kind of like, well, if I'm only running a bookkeeping business or a tax business doing individual returns, et cetera, but they don't need to provide the compilations or they don't need to provide the plan and the audited financial statements and, you know, won't do it. I've already got a successful business. I think that's one of the situations and one of the scenarios.
Phil [00:07:03] If the joint tax returns, I can get the enrolled agent. That's right. And you know what? It's not is hard to qualify for that as a CPA, you know? Yeah. What other areas are there do you deal with with people getting another designation? Do you know?
Arthur [00:07:23] Well, obviously, as a financial adviser, right in finance, you need to have another designation depending on the type of work that you're doing. But I think you know, and you've probably seen this film is there so, so many platforms out there that provide educational content that for many people, they're even looking at going to a four year university anymore because they're finding these platforms are getting their education.
Phil [00:07:51] Only so many people are brilliant in computers, and they maybe did two years of accounting, not accounting to getting two years of college. And you know what? They're very successful.
Arthur [00:08:05] Yes.
Phil [00:08:07] All right. I'm not saying that you have to get a degree, I mean, really what I'm I mean, there is. There is a shortage of people taking the CPA exam now. In fact, over the past 10 years, number of people who are taking exams dropped about 50 percent. All right. And it's still dropping. All right. And for example, they the other question is why is it dropping? Well, you know, you want to be a CPA, you got to go really for where there's five years of education. Hundred and fifty hour rule. OK.
Arthur [00:08:45] Yes.
Phil [00:08:47] And you know, if you get a CPA, you know, 100 hours is an extra year if to spend the money for tuition or whatever. All right. So and then the starting salaries. All right. They're not higher than someone who's a financial analyst or anything, you know? So that's the mistake. The other is, I think the other mistake is that they are not taking into account that, hey, this profession is it's always been. We don't have a quality of life. All right. They work you to death. The CPA firms, OK? And you know, it's a different generation. OK. Maybe my generation, you just accepted that their taxes and people that I would work fifty five hours a week. But they said, You know what, we all require, all right, for the rest of the year, from January 1st to maybe April 15th, we work fifty five hours a week. All right. But the rest of the year, only thirty five hours a week. That's great. All right. Thirty five hours, they think, is generous. Hey, if I write some other countries, right? Right? Do other countries have it where? Thirty five hours? That's the best thing. Maybe two weeks vacation. All right. Hey, we work. People here think that and I think the burned that white people burned out. And make sure people do right? Yeah. The young people coming out. All right. Want to deal with that? First of all, a killing is unless you really know what you're getting into. Accounting was never the most exciting profession. Right? But unlike years ago, all right, where you had when you came out of college was bought for a CPA firm doing audits. All right. But you did very little of the audits, right? I was telling this young lady yesterday. She's been with a CPA firm for one year. OK. All right. You know what she's done in that one year? Bank reconciliations. All right. All right. Checking our accounts receivable confirmations. Getting the letters from the attorney. And I'm listening to this. I said to myself, Is you all your experience? Let's assume you decide to go into practice a year from now. You don't know any. You don't know enough to open a practice. All right. And so this whole thing of one year, two years experience. I don't know what goes on there at the back. All right. They don't. I think this is the problem. When I was coming out of college, everyone to work that day, I CPA and any type of. Position. All right. We were there were all days. All right. Today was the Al Qaeda, so many non CPAs working here, all right, giving presentations. So that's one thing, and I'll say it this way. All right. The IMF is taking over. You know, the CMA is becoming a very big know circulation. OK. In fact, it's detected more in foreign countries. And the CPA, why that extra year? All right. The extra year of education. I think a lot of people I've seen people write down that if they got really one hundred and fifty hour rule. All right, the profession might open up, right? But they're not going to get rid written that because that was passed by every state legislature and they're not going to go back to them now and say, Gee, we made a mistake. Yeah, no. So there's so many problems. And I say, as I tell people, like I did a podcast and say in a profession right now, not for the money. No, I I did. All right. Many years because I ran a CPA Review school and I was a certified financial planner. All right. I took the CFP exam and so I was in different things and I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. So I had, you know, I did it all. And you know what, when I got out of school, you know what the requirements were to get the CPA in Maryland? No experience requirement and a bachelor's degree in accounting. That was it. All right. Not a bachelor's degree. I think six credits in this. It's very simple. And you know what? People pass the exam, and I'm sure they didn't destroy the clients that they had. All right. Now that is all changed. Yes. All right. That was the kiss principle. Keep it simple.
Arthur [00:13:32] Stupid. Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I think I think it's great what you're doing here with the podcast, though, and I think just continuing to again, help folks with the CPA exam, some people may try to do it, do it on their own. But you know, there needs to be the review school and so that people don't get discouraged, like what happens if they're taking it. But they they missed by a point or a couple of points on one on one of the exams, right? So having providing the services and resources that you do help along that way. And so you, you know, it's definitely great for me to kind of share my experience from an outsider and
Phil [00:14:10] I could tell you, I'm one person. OK. All right. Hey, the AICPA said their primary purpose is to protect the public. I asked them at the FCPA, what about the CPA review said that's not their problem, and there's passing rates and it's so ridiculous they don't monitor it, so I think they should be allowed to get to the CPA candidate. All right. And that's not the case. And you're trying to advocate for the Latino population, right?
Arthur [00:14:40] Yes.
Phil [00:14:41] All right. How many people help you with that? You have people helping you?
Arthur [00:14:45] Are members and that, you know, partners help with that. So there are some other organizations that kind of see things similar and doing the best we can. Yeah.
Phil [00:14:57] And I hate to hear when you say only six percent of Latinos, you know, there's so many people out there that you know, could be, get these positions. What does that have to be an accounting of? I think in the end, they they do advisory work for Latino businesses. Yes, because they speak their language. All right. I think you have to speak bilingual today.
Arthur [00:15:25] Yeah. Yeah. They might be bilingual. They might relate to them more culturally. So I mean, again, I see I see the Latin America as a big opportunity for the profession, and it starts with, you know, finding the right talent, right? You've got to have the experience, but also folks that are culturally representative enough to to connect with those numbers. And I think it's it's definitely an area of opportunity.
Phil [00:15:50] And the question is, what would you recommend to? This is a final question. What would you recommend to a person who is Latino, who would come to you and say, you know, I don't know what to do. I I'm graduating high school. I know it's a tough age for someone to figure out what they want, but I'm graduating high school. All right. What do you think I should do? All right. Well. Is that a tough question to advise them?
Arthur [00:16:16] No, I would share with them my experience. And I would encourage them to get a get a degree in accounting and finance. I mean, again, being been blessed to have a global perspective of knowing that the numbers are what drive this in the economy, in the world. It's like if you can study in accounting and finance, then you will understand the language of business. And if you can understand the language of business, there is no shortage of opportunities for you as a young person understanding that. So I definitely see those would be my words is
Phil [00:16:49] Do you want to be in marketing? You sound like you like marketing a lot. Right? Would you like to be just in marketing or you want to be in the accounting area? All right. You sound like a great marketing person. Oh, really, you do. You do.
Arthur [00:17:05] Yeah. Well, you know, I studied marketing, but again, having that, that entrepreneurial DNA and working with my parents business was led naturally to business and marketing sales. I mean, I think in line for always selling something right, whether it's our idea, our business, something, it's something that's great. Yeah, you're selling yourself all the time, right? So I think it's something that's and it's helped me along my career, but it's definitely understanding how businesses function in our brain. And again, that goes back to the accounting side of things is how how they operate. So that's the advice I would give to a young person. What they're deciding on, what it is that they want to study or do is I would tell them to do that because the opportunities are limitless when you have a sound background in accounting and finance.
Phil [00:17:53] Yeah, I thought you really impressed me. Yeah, I'm very impressed that you have all this sales background. You've built up businesses, you know, and you're still building up. And God, you look so young to, I think is good. But no, I think I was listening to what you've done, and I think it's great. I mean, you have other qualities that I don't have to tell you this, right? But you'd think you could tell people how to build a businesses or who have trouble. That's the hardest thing is, where do I start building up a business? All right. That they don't teach necessarily in school? I don't know. Do they teach an entrepreneurship program?
Arthur [00:18:35] You know, I didn't until grad school is when I took the first entrepreneurship course.
Phil [00:18:43] Well, I have to tell you, I think you would be better than any entrepreneurship. All right. All right. It's the school of hard knocks. That's really what it is. All right. Hey, I, I appreciate you being on here, and I probably spoke too much, OK? I'm very passionate about the profession, not because I did not want to be a CPA or an accountant. All right. I wanted to be in marketing, but once I got my degree in accounting, wherever I went to a company and say, you know, if I was in marketing, but you know what? We have a good accounting job here. All right. Actually, the placement companies want to send Yaeger. That's easier to place, but they're getting a commission. So what I would say is, all right. Go into an area that you think you would be good at. And you know something. All right. You can learn something if you didn't have it. Don't be an accountant just because I am telling you to be an accountant. And also, I mentioned one last thing my mother said, If you don't major in accounting, I won't pay it too much. So I, you know, I'm not really complaining at this point. But, you know, I just think that there's so many opportunities to say more so than we had 40 years ago. Take advantage of them. All right. Hey, listen to people like either, you know, is probably the best person to listen to, more so than anybody with all his experience. So I think, you know, I mean, I really appreciate and I've got, you know, talking to different people that, you know. All right. They have. They've taught me a lot. You're never too old to learn.
Arthur [00:20:28] No, now and things are changing so quickly. And so, yeah, the progression has to adjust as those changes come. I mean, a few days ago, I received my first NFT, right? So it's like this whole crypto and and NFTs and how those impact income, etc. So there's there's things changing quickly and again, a need for accounting, and that's maybe a rabbit hole, you know, maybe another hour to talk about that specifically.
Phil [00:20:54] But no, that's that's great. That's great.
Arthur [00:20:57] But again, appreciate you having me on. And let me
Phil [00:21:01] let me just say, I appreciate you being on. I really do, and I think you added a lot. So anyway, I want to thank Orson Garcia. All right. And by the way, most people don't know I am 50 percent Latino, OK? No, I'm just kidding.
Arthur [00:21:18] I was going to say, I've got a I've got a DNA test for you. You know, we can kind of
Phil [00:21:22] let you break them. Yeah, I have a friend of mine who's Italian, who's your big competitor at DNA testing? Exactly.
Arthur [00:21:29] Oh, well, there's there's other players in the market like Twenty Three and Me and ancestry.
Phil [00:21:34] Well, a friend of mine lives in Rhode Island, where I went to school, you know, Italian under present, OK? You came, he took one of those somebody you found out and he's 20 percent Jewish. Which is very interesting. I thought that was interesting. You know, so hey, hey, I wish you the best of luck with everything you. And by the way, you sound like a beautiful family and enjoy them. They grow up fast. And I say that and I once again, I want to thank you. I want to thank all the guys aren't always a tech leader and has a lot of information to share. I'm sure that if you have any questions for him. All right. You can contact them.
Arthur [00:22:20] They can reach me. I'm on Twitter. I'm pretty active there at Arthur F. Garcia. And you can also connect with me on LinkedIn.
Phil [00:22:27] OK, sounds good. All right. Arthur, I want to thank you. And by the way, one I want to thank you for making us such a successful podcast. All right. We're in the top 10 percent of business, which includes accounting podcasts. I think people enjoy listening. And I think to myself, they do all right. But you know, really and I appreciate I appreciate all the positive comments I get. All right. So therefore, it just does rolling out there. And if you want a certain guest in a certain area, please write to me. For me, it's my phone number three. Oh, one eight seven four four nine three eight one eight seven four 14:00 Exchanging five And if there's anything I can do to help you or you're interested in a certain topic, I'll find someone who knows that topic. Okay. Take care, everyone. Stay well, stay healthy. And most of all, we've gone through this pandemic. I thought people would learn to be nicer to other people. I don't see that a lot. All right. So therefore, be nice to people. OK, we only have each other correct. I mean, that's really it. All right. Arthur, take care. Stay well. And hopefully, I'll talk to you, sir.
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