Healthy Wealthy & Wise Accountants

Sean Dever grew up wanting to be a pilot. Hear how following in his fathers footsteps of becoming an accountant, gave him the opportunity to fulfill his dream.

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Creators & Guests

Heidi Henderson
I am a Tax Consultant and Real Estate Investor, and podcast host of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. I advise clients on the application of Tax Efficiencies relating to their investments both directly and indirectly. My education is in Accounting but my entrepreneurial spirit has led me through many business ventures. But I love finding money for people who didn't know it was there! Cost Segregation, 179D deduction, 45L credits, R&D tax credits, Historical Tax Credits, Conservation Easements, Opportunity Zones, Alternative Investments, and Captive Insurance are a few tools we can help you with. As the Executive Vice President and Board Member of Engineered Tax Services I help plan for growth and operational improvements internally, while working externally with investment minded individuals to optimize their investment. I also teach over 30+ Continuing Education courses annually to CPA's, Design Build Professionals and Real Estate Professionals across the U.S. If synergies are apparent, please send me a connection request and let's see how we can work together.
Sean Dever

What is Healthy Wealthy & Wise Accountants?

A podcast for accountants that takes a 360 degree holistic approach to your success, which includes physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. Heidi Henderson interviews guests who face accounting industry and client challenges every day. Together, we'll find tools and resources to overcome those difficult challenges.

Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!

Heidi Henderson: [00:00:00] I've told my kids this too. I've said I've heard some of the kids. My kids are on their 20 seconds, kind of reset over and over. Well, you know, I don't want to have to work a job like that and just work my life away. I just want to do something I'm passionate about. And then on the flip side, you know, I've read some books and I've thought about it and I thought, you know, actually if I did what I was passionate about as my job, I might hate it. That's right. That's exactly right. Could. This podcast is sponsored by Engineered Tax Services, a subsidiary of Engineered Advisory, whose goal is to support CPAs and their clients to achieve the highest and best use of time and resources. Ets offers specialty tax services and incentives which help expand your capabilities and ensure that your clients are paying only what is required in taxes and nothing more. To learn more about Engineered tax services, go to Engineered Tax and mention the healthy, Wealthy and Wise podcast to receive project discounts and a free CPA partnership book. Hi, everyone. This is Heidi Henderson and you are listening to the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise podcast for accountants. I am really passionate about people and the industry, and I truly believe that the accounting industry can do better for both our clients and its professionals. So I'm going to share insights from people who have found professional success and who have managed to balance that with their physical, mental and personal health.

Heidi Henderson: [00:01:38] So I hope you enjoy and I hope you get inspired. Accountants can earn free CPE From listening to this episode, just visit earmark Download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. And now on to the episode. Hi everyone. Welcome to today's podcast. We are here with Sean Deaver, who is a CPA and a financial planner based in Massachusetts. He provides tax, accounting, payroll consulting and financial services, which I think is very cool. It's kind of compiled all of that stuff to small business owners around the US. In addition, in addition to being a consultant and a CPA, he's also been a professional speaker and goes to about 20 to 30 events per year for the past 20 years, which I think is pretty unique. You know, Sean, one of the things we do through our growth partnership is we actually teach public speaking skills as one of our soft skill training programs because some of that stuff is just things we don't see in the industry as accountants. We go through all this technical training and that very rarely, if ever, includes any type of soft skill training which is so necessary for dealing with clients, and especially if you're going to own a business. So I'm excited to hear more about that. Glad to have you here and welcome to the show.

Sean Dever: [00:03:02] Thanks so much. Good to be here. Appreciate it.

Heidi Henderson: [00:03:04] Absolutely. So before we dive into all that fun stuff, let's go all the way back. Tell us a little bit about Sean. Where did you grow up? Where are you from?

Sean Dever: [00:03:13] Yeah. So I grew up in New Jersey. Um, my father was a CPA. He worked for one of the Big four or at the time it might have been the big eight or the Big Ten type firms. He spent his whole career there. So I had a taste of accounting, you know, from a very early on. I'm not really quite sure I knew what accountants did, but I knew my dad was an accountant. So going off to college, I knew business was a passion and an interest. And so I kind of just lended itself to to the accounting side.

Heidi Henderson: [00:03:44] Well, that's funny because one question I was going to ask you is what led you to accounting? But that's pretty interesting that you kind of grew up with a perspective, at least the back end perspective of accounting. So I'm curious then, especially with your father working one of the big firms. The workload typically is pretty significant, especially during tax season. So what was that like on the back end? You know, rewinding to you as a young man growing up, what did that look like for you in terms of your dad's role in his profession versus availability at home?

Sean Dever: [00:04:20] Yeah, you know, I had a very, I'd say, unique perspective and I would also say a very different perspective. My father was a national partner and call him a national technical partner, so he was not client service facing. So getting into I after college, went into public myself and spent a number of years at Deloitte in Boston and then went to BWC in Boston. And you know, dealing with client service and long weekends and late evenings and, you know, snowy days, which we have here today and having to go to the client anyways, I never saw any of that because my father, I don't want to say was 9 to 5. That wouldn't be accurate. But there was very little weekends, you know, when the family went on Christmas vacation, the family went on Christmas vacation. He didn't have, you know, all nighters or anything like that. So I was somewhat misled, if you will, into the into the profession. I didn't think it was as bad. And then when I went in myself, it was just obviously a very different reality than than what I grew up with. So I you know, of course, he you know, obviously he put his time in and and, you know, climbing the ranks. He did what everyone else did. But once he made partner, he went off to the national office. He had again, it was just a bit different than than your typical person. And my dad doesn't do taxes. He was a financial guy, an audit guy, if you will. So, you know, I don't know. I don't know, to be honest with. I don't even know his own tax returns. So, you know, very different from what I do today myself. So.

Heidi Henderson: [00:05:53] Yeah, well, that's yeah, that's pretty funny. Yeah. So then deciding to take the leap into accounting, was that just something that you kind of figured at a young age you were going to follow that path or is that something did you ever have a conversation with your dad about that when you were growing up or as you were looking at where to go to college?

Sean Dever: [00:06:15] No, actually, kind of to the contrary. My my you know, I think early on I wanted to be an airline pilot so that that obviously went sideways, leaving for college. I actually I was a gymnast and I did go to college and compete in college doing gymnastics. And at the time, I recall I wanted to be a phys ed teacher and own a gymnastics school. And I was actually leaning towards the education program. And my father quickly said, you know, why don't you try If you're going to own a business, why don't you try some business classes? So I joined the business class side and with no interest whatsoever in accounting and I don't know that I had a specific interest finance marketing. I wasn't really quite sure. But my mother will tell you that she did everything in her power subtly to convince me not to be an accountant. Apparently that didn't work, but ultimately I went to school. I decided to take some business classes on his guidance, but only again, because at some point I wanted to own a business. And then when I got to school and I started taking accounting classes, I found them to be I don't want to say easy, but I was able to do them and I was getting good grades and I was able to stay the course. And I can remember a good friend of mine saying and an advisor at school saying, if you can stay in accounting, do it. Most people can't continue the program, so stay as long as you can and then make your switch at the end. And I took it all the way to the end, the finish line. And then, you know, when you become a senior, you start getting job interviews and kind of just staying in the profession. And the dream of becoming a gym teacher never came to fruition. I did own a gymnastics school. I've owned a few of them. But but the fruition but the gym teacher, who knows, maybe that's my second career. I'm not sure.

Heidi Henderson: [00:08:12] Yeah, well, I mean, that'll segue us into a bit about your practice because I think what's fascinating and a reason why I wanted to have you on the show is when you and I met, we were having a conversation about what's unique with your firm is how you have created such a specialty. But then you've built this firm from a national perspective where local really doesn't matter because you are so specialized in an industry that not only is unique, but something that you are uniquely familiar with because of your background. So share a little bit about that process. I mean, really, even from the beginning of, you know, what are you specializing in? I know this, but tell our audience, you know, really what what you're specializing in and what that path looked like to get you here.

Sean Dever: [00:08:59] Yeah. So. You know, obviously being a gymnast, I used to attend a lot of gymnastics conferences and competitions and things of that nature. And at one point in time, I was I was in the in the audience and I was listening to someone give a business talk on how to run a gymnastic business. And I'm sitting there, I think I'm 22 years old, 23 years of age, and the person presenting was, you know, had a lot of gray hair. So I know he was older than I was and everything he was saying, I, to be honest with you, I didn't feel was accurate. And I even went up to him afterwards in a very polite way and said, you know, where did you get this from and what made you think this? And he said, I have no professional training. I'm just a gym owner. And someone asked me if I would talk about business. And I said, sure, I have zero training. I don't even have a college degree. So he said, if you. He goes, I think some of your points are very valid. Why don't you put your name in the hat to talk next year? So that was the beginning of my I'll call it professional speaking career. And the first conference I spoke at, I have then done that conference for the last, you know, call it 30 years or 20, 25 or so years.

Sean Dever: [00:10:14] I've been speaking at that same conference each year. And over the over the years I've had an opportunity to provide practical and specific specialized business knowledge, not just accounting, but just business in general to to these owners and people that come in from all across the country to these conferences. And that's how the niche itself, if you will, kind of was born. Someone coming up to me and saying, I live in Texas or Alabama or California, and I'm you know, I'm looking for someone who understands my business and the ebbs and flows and the peaks and valleys and the struggles that we have. And I became very familiar with it, not only as an advisor to them, but also an owner myself. And along the way, I don't know, probably five or so years in in the audience was not only a person who owned a gymnastics school, but someone who owned a swimming school as well, and came up to me and said, Hey, would you be willing to give these same presentations to our swim industry? And that then overflowed into dance and karate and daycare centers and so on and so forth. So my niche, if you will, nationally is we call them child fitness or child activity centers that are typically, you know, again, center in things like gymnastics, dance, swimming, karate, daycare, basketball, things of that nature.

Heidi Henderson: [00:11:41] How fascinating. So when did you actually. Well, how old were you when you branched out and started your own firm, first off?

Sean Dever: [00:11:49] So I was in public for a number of years, like I mentioned, and I'm out of the Boston area. So I spent a number of years here and never did I during those years I was under I'll refer to them as non-compete agreements, but I don't know that that's the right terminology. But I didn't want to be servicing or doing any type of tax preparation because I didn't want someone. The firm would always be concerned that, you know, even though I wasn't signing the firm's name, that the firm was behind it. So I was very careful not to give any type of guidance or anything. I was talking just general terms and so on. And then after public I went and became a controller as and again, I was a financial controller. I wasn't really the tax guy. And in a large publicly traded company, I did that for a number of years and it was about then. So I'd probably say I was in my early 30 seconds to maybe early to mid 30 seconds when I first started taking on clients on my own. And I would moonlight at a CPA firm up here doing tax returns on the weekend and just things like that. And then that's kind of when I started, you know, I guess we'll call it Sean Deaver, CPA, and started doing doing tax work. And then it kind of just grew from there for a number of years. And then at some point in time, it just became I couldn't be a controller at a company and do the tax work on the side. So I just kind of went off and hung my own shingle, if you will.

Heidi Henderson: [00:13:20] And so how many of these clients do you have right now? I mean, in this special time, I'm sure you have some other kind of just general generalized clients. But as far as your specialty.

Sean Dever: [00:13:29] Yeah, about 80% of our practice, our portfolio is made up of these type of type of businesses. We serviced about 14, I'd say 1400 this year. The last two years with COVID, we've seen some pretty significant growth. So it wouldn't be surprised if we hit over touch over 1500 this year.

Heidi Henderson: [00:13:50] That's so fantastic. Well, and it's so interesting. You know, I've talked with firms, you know, I actually have a gentleman that I've worked with for many years who had a local firm that he's run, you know, successful firm, but always had this mentality of, you know, he was servicing his community and being in a somewhat smaller community in a sort of tertiary market. The growth potential is necessarily there when you're in a small town. And he really never thought to branch out into something bigger than this area that he was in, nor did he know how. So it's you know, I thought it was so fascinating when you and I met to hear about how you really applied your own personal knowledge and what you kind of knew, you know, in your own sort of passion or history as a gymnast and then carried that through to your practice and then made yourself a specialist to that point where you have no limitation in terms of geography or area for which you can serve as clients. Yeah. So that's pretty fascinating. Um, and then I'm sure once you start to grow that market, it probably just continues to grow. I mean, I'm guessing word of mouth is one guy to another guy to another guy in different areas just kind of keeps spreading that for you, huh?

Sean Dever: [00:15:04] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm sure most people, if they're on the, you know, listening to this or most people you deal with, I'm sure feel the same. We've we've peaked. We've meet met. You know, we've, we've kind of reached maximum capacity, if you will. We turn down now unfortunately, I hate to say it, but because we do get a lot of local interest from small businesses and individuals, we consistently now for over 12 months, we've been turning work down and we turn 2 to 3 clients down a week. I would say on average, just due to, you know, demand and meeting our ability to service it. And so we until we continue to able to build up or staff up more, we probably maintain where we're at. But yeah, to your point, word of mouth, just that is the engine. You know, I, I guess I'll, I was very happy early on where I don't think I've ever spent a dollar in marketing or advertising. You know, I go to these conferences and I get paid to go to most of them. So at the end of the day, it's my time, of course. And I don't I don't value that as much as I should. But at the end of the day, I don't I don't have a, you know, very we don't do any marketing campaigns. We don't advertise, you know, we don't do any search engine optimization or pay for Google AdWords or anything along those lines. So it's but I think anyone who's looking certainly for the business, it's there and expanding outside. Of course, word of mouth is always the best way to do it. But but it's certainly there for for people if they want it.

Heidi Henderson: [00:16:37] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well I mean, you know, the proof is in what you're developing and how you've built that. So I think that's so key. Um, question regarding staffing and this is we're talking about this on almost every podcast. You know, staffing is such a huge issue right now, trying to find people to do the work. Technical staff retention costs for paying people is extremely high, but even that, keeping them or finding them might be harder than even having to pay a lot of money to try to get somebody on board. So how have you been handling that? I mean, it sounds like you're just kind of saying, look, I'm at where I'm at right now, but, you know, how are you managing the people you have and looking for potential growth?

Sean Dever: [00:17:20] Yeah. So we you know, we have three main facets to the business, if you will. We do a lot of payroll, do payroll over for over for over 1500 small employers. We do bookkeeping that that's a much smaller it's a few hundred bookkeeping clients. And then on the tax side, like I said, we're you know, we're probably closer to 1500 inches that number. So we have some people that we keep year round, a good core number of people that we keep year round. And then, you know, during tax season, like for example, this week we had 3 or 4 new. Some of our folks come back. We always are trying to find younger people that are new to the profession to bring them in, put them through a training program, ramp them up. I think I extended an offer yesterday to someone who's a recent college graduate. Um, so I think it was yesterday. So, you know, we're trying to be creative and everything that we can do, try to find people that maybe don't maybe aren't necessarily your first thought on on someone from to do the type of work And again through training and hand-holding and things of that nature and some systems in place try to really ramp them up and get them into the get them into the process and get them into the firm. But it is a. They are a very real issue in finding retaining. Retention is actually not the not the issue for us. We don't have a lot of turnover. It's really finding, yeah, I'm looking for the right person and when we do extend the offer, hopefully he or she comes on board and then retention is not an issue. We have a lot of people who have been coming back seasonally for a dozen years. You know, we offer a lot of flexibility, work from home opportunities, um, you know, that type of thing. So, so that I think helps retain, retain the folks. But the issue again is just finding them.

Heidi Henderson: [00:19:10] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, in terms of yourself personally, what are some of the pros and cons of owning your own firm over being with a big four firm, you know, or one of these big firms that you had worked for historically? Yeah.

Sean Dever: [00:19:24] Um, you know, it's interesting because I think the perspective on the, on the firms has changed quite a bit. My son actually, my oldest child is my son. He's a freshman in college and he's actually at a big university and in the business school and considering accounting, Mom and dad are both CPAs. So I think that's just because he doesn't know anything different. Not that he has any any very interested. But but you know, the big four firms are is a freshman. I mean even 2 or 3 months on campus already reaching out to him and and bringing him into their firms for lunch and meeting people. And he hasn't even had his first accounting class. I know what they pay coming out of out of college. And that's way more than what I compensate. People here have been here for a number of years, so they have obviously much deeper pockets. I think they offer a lot of flexibility these days that I maybe didn't get when I was his age or, you know, into into the occupation. So. Definitely a much different different scenario for me. I'd love to say that with my career or, you know, owning my own business, I get a lot more flexibility. And that's probably true if I want to leave in the middle of the day and go to the gym, which I don't, but if I did, I could. If I needed to leave early to go catch my daughter's basketball game, I can do that.

Sean Dever: [00:20:49] The problem, however, the the the other side of that is when I'm on vacation and the phone rings, sometimes I still have to answer it. Or I can remember when we were at Disney World and Dad has to go downstairs and do 2 or 3 tax returns while everybody's upstairs doing something fun that that happens. So, you know, I don't have the same I do have some flexibility in the way I do things, but at the end of the day, the buck does stop here. So there are things that I that I hold myself accountable to. And so the there are pros and cons to both. I think, you know, if my son today wanted to join the practice, I talked to my wife about this and the answer would be no. I would truthfully make him go to the firms. And if he was able to get a position there and just like the two of us did and built up the experience and see how a firm like that works and the training that they offer and so on would be would be just, I think, amazing for anyone to get. And then certainly after a few years, having him hop out and pursue something different would would be a great avenue. But I think I think they both offer pros and cons. I think they both have their pros and cons in each side.

Heidi Henderson: [00:22:02] Yeah, you know, I agree. You know, my sister and I are partners and her son's new wife graduated with an accounting degree and she just started she's just a shy of a year in with the Big Four firm. And to your point, exactly as tempting as it is to say, hey, we really need some staff and we could use some help, to your point, I think there's so much value with having this newer accounting generation come up in an atmosphere where they're, you know, in a little bit more of a hardcore situation, learning a lot of different situations and tax scenarios and be faced with a lot of complex issues that they might not face the same way in a smaller firm. So there definitely is a place and it's yeah, I don't know, it almost seems like a certain level of initiation that needs to happen the first couple years completely agreed.

Sean Dever: [00:22:53] Yeah, it's a great way of putting it.

Heidi Henderson: [00:22:55] Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Well, you know, Sean, a little bit about you. What are you personally the most passionate about? And it's interesting because you said you had originally wanted to be a pilot. I always find correlations interesting, find it weird or whatever, but I think it's interesting. You have the same name as my brother. Sean spelled the same s e a N and my brother is a pilot and was just completely like sold out, wanted to be a pilot when he was like 13 or something. Like he just he triggered it was his thing. It's what he was always passionate about. And, you know, most of our listeners will hear this, not see this, but you have this beautiful picture on your wall with an airplane engine there on the side, which looks very cool. So I just think it's it's fascinating. You remind me very much of my brother, but I don't know if that's your passion, but curious, what is your personal passion? What's all about, Sean, and what drives you?

Sean Dever: [00:23:53] Yeah, well, just to kind of bring that home, I am a pilot. I did pursue it. I have my license. I fly a couple of times a week when the weather's okay. And actually after tax season, I have signed myself up to be going to an intensive training where I'll actually become a flight instructor. So I'll be able to teach flying to other people, you know, and turn them into pilots. So that is a huge passion of mine. But I'm big into family. You know, my wife, I have two children, obviously. That's that's number one. My son's a college, my daughter's in high school. So I absolutely love going to her basketball games and her soccer games. Um, and I can't stand helping her with homework because I realize how little I remember. That's, that's definitely a thing. But and then, you know, for me again, I still very, very involved in the sport of gymnastics. So I do try to go to two pretty big events every year to to stay up on that. And those are kind of my I love to say that I have more hobbies. Um, I stopped golfing a long time ago, but, you know, those are my those are kind of my personal things. Flying planes, which is too expensive really, to do anything else. So, you know, and then and then, of course, just kind of hunkered down with family.

Heidi Henderson: [00:25:18] Yeah. Well, you know, I am a firm believer that everybody needs a passion. And, you know, in a perfect world, if the passion. Causes us to be a little bit more active. That's always really good, too. Sure. My passion is horses and same very, very expensive hobby. But I figure, well, there's worse things I could be spending my money on, and at least it keeps me active. That's true. But it's the passion. A lot of times that can create this what I call soul food that causes a bit of just it's like rebooting, like, you know, rebooting my system from stress, from workloads, from a lot of those things. You know, I'm not I'm not a pilot. I'm not you know, that's not my thing. In fact, it's terrifying. My brother took me in a small plane a couple of times, scared the scared me half to death. Sure. Um, but I know, like, when I'm riding, it's such an interesting situation because. Yeah, people will always ask me about it. It's his first off, the correlation of the relationship that you develop after years is really difficult to explain. But the other part of it is that in that place, in that moment, you cannot be distracted. You are 100% present in the moment, not worrying about who just sent me this text. What's this email I need to deal with the need for that because it it creates so much physical and mental attention that you find that literally that presence in that moment. Is that similar with flying? I mean, I would think that that's how flying is. But yeah. Do you find that?

Sean Dever: [00:26:59] I do. You know, hopefully you're in the moment because, you know, if you're not, it could be a mountain very and you're very dear future But yeah definitely I do find that you know, it does clear your mind. It does get you away from things. With that being said, I've been always pretty good from a stress load perspective. Not sure if that's maybe another way of thinking about it, but I don't I don't want to say I don't bring work home because I do think about work and I think about clients and text messages and things like that. But I very rarely get stressed out over things. The reboot, I don't need to be rebooted a lot. I think I'm built a little differently like than my wife and I have many friends that are accountants and CPAs and we talk about different things and they'll use the terminology rebooting or after taxes, and they have to take a 3 or 4 week vacation to get out of it. And I'm like, Oh, no, no. We just keep doing returns at my firm. We just, you know, just keep them going. If they were here all year long, I would do them all year long. So I do I do have to schedule those activities because probably if I didn't, I would never leave the office. I don't know. But but luckily, I you know, you definitely you're present when you're flying or when I'm at a gymnastics competition with friends or something like that or my daughter's, you know, games or what have you. But, but, but that for me, it's it's a nice, a nice way to get out, but it's not necessarily a reboot moment for me each time.

Heidi Henderson: [00:28:38] Mm hmm. Interesting. Yeah. Well, interesting. Well, that's neat that you. You have that passion that you enjoy and and that you pursued it as well, because you said originally that's what you wanted to be professionally. But sometimes, you know, I've told my kids this, too. I've said, you know, I've heard some of the kids. My kids are on their 20 seconds. Kind of replay over and over? Well, you know, I don't want to have to work a job like that and just work my life away. I just want to do something I'm passionate about. And then on the flip side, you know, I've read some books and I've thought about it and I thought, you know, actually if I did what I was passionate about as my job, I might hate it. That's right. That's exactly right. It could actually take a lot of that away. Whereas sometimes you want your passion to be your hobby and the thing you do that you get that, you know, that joy from. Yeah. As opposed to making it your job and then it becomes stressful.

Sean Dever: [00:29:34] I completely agree. Yeah. Yeah. As a matter of fact, going to I was speaking with someone the other day, going to this intensive flying trainings thing that I mentioned. My daughter refers to it as airplane camp when I go to airplane camp, Um, she, you know, I am a bit concerned that will it then become, you know, a job? Will I have less interest in it and so it is something I've thought through. I'm willing to gamble and roll the dice on this, but, but to your point it's a very real possibility.

Heidi Henderson: [00:30:06] Mhm. So what do you, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 20 or that you could tell your 20 year old self.

Sean Dever: [00:30:16] Oh, boy. I don't know. I might have been smarter when I was 20, to be honest with you. You know.

Heidi Henderson: [00:30:23] That goes back to that saying ignorance is bliss. You know, it's when you don't know all the stuff we know, sometimes it's a much better place.

Sean Dever: [00:30:30] Exactly. Exactly. Um, you know, it's I haven't really thought of that question before. I mean, I know that I have like I mentioned, I have a 18 year old. He's, he's a freshman in college, so I can remember driving him from Massachusetts to Michigan. And in that 14 hour period, I tried to instill upon him every every last, you know, tidbit of information or every little anything I could give to him before I dropped them off. And I remember trying to just tell him, really emphasize how important education was and your college education is. And, you know, to use that time to not just do the minimum, but really expand yourself and learn because it will help you so much in the future. And I don't think I did that when I went to college. Now I was doing gymnastics and going to school, so I didn't have there was five hours in every given day that was kind of allotted to competing and training. And he he didn't have he doesn't have that. But with that being said, I definitely would have told myself to get a little more practical experience when I was in college and even when I went to the firms, the information that I that I obtained and that I worked on was was very helpful for the firms and for what I was doing. But now doing what I'm doing today, I found it to be very not helpful. Now, there are obviously things that you're learning, dealing with professionals and, and, you know, speaking skills and being able to research and those types of things. But in the day to day basis, had I maybe pursued a tax path as opposed to an audit path that might have helped me where I am today, now that probably would be a very specific obviously, that's not something I'm telling him. But I said, listen, you know, if you do have an interest in being a, you know, small CPA sometime or working for yourself, consider that when you when you're picking your different paths at your younger, at your younger age. So that might be something I'd provide to myself a little bit.

Heidi Henderson: [00:32:38] Yeah, that makes sense. I was reading something the other day. It was an article. Well, actually, there's the book. I think it's by Daniel Pink. I think it's called No Regrets. I'm a big fan of Daniel Pink. And, you know, he's essentially talking about not having any regrets. And then he he has done all of these questionnaires and he's asked people, okay, well, what do you regret? And he was saying, gosh, the answers were so deep, really deep in terms of things that people wish they had done different and one that really stuck with me that for the younger generations and younger people is someone saying, I really wish in high school and in college that rather than focusing on dating and relationships and some of this stuff that I had really focused on the people and my friends and developing those connections, not realizing the impact and the the longevity those relationships could have in my life. Yeah. And, you know, that resonated with me because I, you know, I do see that with a lot of alma maters at certain schools and things like that where, you know, becoming really socially connected even at that level. I think a lot of people don't realize how much value that has for the whole future, you know, lifespan actually in terms of a lot of those relationships as well. Yeah. And so that's always one that I think about.

Sean Dever: [00:34:04] Yeah, that's a great one.

Heidi Henderson: [00:34:06] So as far as as speaking, I was kind of interested and wanted to ask you a couple questions on that before we wrap up, but. You know, we're saying that we do some coaching on public speaking, maybe with you doing gymnastics, maybe performing, or maybe a little more comfortable being in front of people. How did you develop your speaking skills?

Sean Dever: [00:34:27] You know, I have zero professional training whatsoever. I literally just got in front of a room and, you know, I was I was fortunate. And then I was giving presentations to people that had very little knowledge in what I was talking about. So you could say you could say loosely, I was the smartest person in the room, at least on that topic. And that just really, to be honest with you, gave me some confidence. I interject a lot of humor. Uh, you know, I, I oftentimes people will come up to me and say the two biggest I say feedback points that I get are, number one, I'm able to take a very difficult concept and break it down so that a very into easy pieces so that people can understand it. And then number two, they can't believe that they've found their first funny accountant. And so I disagree. I'm sure there are several out there, of course. But they will oftentimes say, I can't believe you're an accountant. I've never met a funny accountant before. So so those are the things I've learned over the years. But again, I have zero professional training. I just got up in front of the room. I was able to speak on a topic that I knew about. It became easy. And now I again, I said, I do it often times, you know, many times throughout the year, even in other countries. And and I also run my own conference. It's a three day business conference that I host. And, you know, it sells out every year with, you know, 75 people. And it's just been something over the years that I really enjoy doing. It's just it's like teaching, right? So, um, those that those that enjoy teaching or have ever taught before, it's kind of the same thing. And I've someone told me one time I should picture the audience naked and I don't I've never had to do that. It's always been fairly simple for me.

Heidi Henderson: [00:36:30] So nice. What are what are some specific tips you could offer people of things you've learned? You've been speaking for a long time now. You do a lot of events. What have you learned that could really help people overcome some of the things or not have to endure some of the things you learned the hard way?

Sean Dever: [00:36:50] Yeah. You know, it's interesting. It's a great question. I not I don't want to say I've never struggled, but I'm usually fairly confident going in. So I don't know what people do struggle with. But what I will say is, you know, very similar to doing a podcast or doing anything else, any time I'm in a room or in a presentation, um, I don't stand behind a podium. I move the room. I, I'll even walk down the hall, you know, down the, down the hall or the aisle of the room. Um, I try to, I look at people in the eye in their eyes as if I'm talking to you. One on one. I don't look at it as I'm presenting, you know, behind a podium in front of 100 people with a microphone. I have to have a mic that attaches, you know, lapel mic so I can walk around and I'll point at people and I'll I'll you know, if you're asking me a question, I'll literally come right up to you and I'll have you ask me the question as if you and I are just having a conversation on the street. And I think that really breaks it down. Don't look at it as I'm talking to 100 people. I look at it as I'm talking to an individual 100 different times. That's one thing.

Sean Dever: [00:38:00] And then the other thing, too, is don't ever be afraid to say, I don't know just because I'm the speaker or I'm the presenter or maybe I'm the, you know, the person who's knowledgeable on this topic doesn't mean that I have to know everything. At the beginning, I think I had to feel like I knew everything and I was always a bit I don't want to say concerned, but I did have the thought that, Oh my gosh, what if someone asked me something? Should I should I make something up or should I? You know, what should I do? And that maybe added a little bit of stress. And now I'll just say, you know what? This is a great question and I have no idea what the answer is. And oftentimes that gets a chuckle. So they don't ever come back to me and say, wait a minute, stop. I need you to go go back. I'll just say great question. I have no clue. I could make something up for you, but that's probably not what you want to know and and take it from there. So again, breaking it down into just smaller chunks, you know, again, one on one conversations and then just not being afraid to say you don't know is always maybe great advice that I could offer.

Heidi Henderson: [00:39:00] Yeah. Think that's great advice. Yeah, I, I speak a lot and I, I would second that the sentiment about being okay with saying. Yeah, it's a good question. I don't know. Is anybody else in the audience Do you guys know the answer to that question. Let's have some dialog even. Yeah. Can certainly open it up and break the ice. And sometimes it actually helps because it can get people collaborating a little bit better. Sure. Sure. I think that's helpful advice for anyone who is preparing or needs to present and is terrified to know. Some people are really, really terrified of that, that situation. But yeah. Well, Sean, it's been so great to have you as a guest and I'm so appreciative of you sharing your time and sharing what your background and history is and and how you've built your firm. Um, we will share links to your social media and access to you if anyone has any questions. But do you want to share what's the best way someone can reach out to you?

Sean Dever: [00:39:53] Yeah, my website is probably the best the contact Me page on there and it's my last name. D e. V e. R CPE. Com. So W-w-w Deaver And yeah, it was a lot of fun. I appreciate the invitation and I hope it's helpful.

Heidi Henderson: [00:40:10] Perfect. Well, Sean, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure working with you in the past. It's been great knowing you. You and I just met about a year ago and yeah, look forward to continuing to work together, but also look forward to sharing your information. So awesome. Thanks again. Hope you have a wonderful time. Hope our listeners enjoyed the conversation and we'll talk to you soon.

Sean Dever: [00:40:29] Sounds good.

Heidi Henderson: [00:40:30] Thank you.

Sean Dever: [00:40:31] Take care.