Every CPA has a story – we all have a journey we’ve taken to get us to where we are.  Every entrepreneur also has a story and journey as well. This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Shauna Breeden, CPA.  Shauna is a mom of two from Kentucky and became CPA MOMS second founding franchisee, having previously struggled with building her own practice and having the support and training she needed.

During the interview we discuss:

  • She knew in high school that she wanted to be an accountant
  • She worked full-time throughout college so it took her a little longer to complete her degree
  • While she doesn’t regret the path she took, she says that if she had to do it over again, she would have concentrated on getting her degree first and then working in the field
  • She worked in the healthcare industry for 15 years
  • She started as an A/P clerk and moved her way up to a financial consultant
  • She didn’t like the “corporate feel” of the company, after she had her children
  • Like most accountant moms, she felt that if she needed to do things outside of work for her children, it was a burden to the company
  • She struggled with wanting to spend more time at home with her then young children
  • She didn’t feel that she had the support from other women in her company, often feeling the competitiveness that happens in corporate environments
  • She experienced the typical “walk of shame” issues where she had to leave to pick up her children at 6 pm and was looked at as not as committed to her job as others
  • It was a hard balance between being a mom and being a good employee
  • She felt like she almost had to choose one over the other
  • She considered going out on her own and started a small bookkeeping business on the side 
  • She gave her business card to a local CPA and offered bookkeeping services
  • She built up her bookkeeping business enough to do it full-time
  • She joined a local BNI networking group and explained that a BNI networking group is for local businesses where there is only one type of professional at a time in the group (ie, one accountant that does bookkeeping, one accountant that does taxes, one lawyer, etc)
  • This networking group helped her build referrals
  • She had to give presentations about her business which helped push her out of her comfort zone and practice public speaking
  • Every week she had to do a “30 second commercial” which was a challenge for her, but she did it
  • She explains that it was very difficult to build her business alone and that she didn’t have someone to go to, to ask questions and get help from
  • She was looking for a mentor, spoke to a local CPA and merged her firm with his
  • She learned a lot working with the CPA firm, but felt she was losing that close relationship with clients
  • She had been connected with CPA MOMS for a few years and once she heard about the franchise opportunity, she knew it was what she was looking for
  • After watching the franchise webinar, she resonated with issues like not charging enough, not having systems in place, not having support, not having work-life balance, etc.
  • Although her children are older now, she still feels like being able to be there for them as they were growing up, as opposed to needing to get to her corporate job, was so important
  • As part of the franchise onboarding, she particularly liked the training on sales because that can be difficult for accountants
  • The various training she received as a franchisee has filled the gap in all the areas that were so challenging when she tried to do it on her own, saving her so much time and effort
  • She shares how touched she was by the CPA MOMS Welcome packet that came in the mail on a day that she was feeling low – it included pictures pulled from Facebook of her family and other personalized items that really shows how much CPA MOMS cares
  • She’s so happy to be a part of the CPA MOMS family
  • She was burned out in her corporate job and is so happy to be building her own firm as a franchisee 
  • For the future, she is looking to continue to build her business as well as have the freedom to travel with her husband
  • She loves being able to connect with other fellow CPA MOMS franchisees, like Lori Hinesley, supporting each other on their journey building successful accounting practices 
  • The advice she would give to other accountant moms is to make sure you have good resources and connections to support you along the way, as early on as possible