Helping entrepreneurs in Boise: CPA teaches, small businesses benefit

A sole proprietor CPA, Laura L. Canales can relate to the unique challenges facing small business owners. To help people in her community, she has taught community education courses on small business accounting, business entity choices, business registrations, and tax forms for the school district of Boise, ID, for the past five years.

And people show up for Canales. There are bookkeepers, office managers, small business owners, and those who aspire to be small business owners. From construction workers and fashion designers to attorneys and artists, students have listened to Canales when she talks about the purposes of record keeping, uses for financial statements, basic operating procedures and transactions. She even teaches a session on payroll, from filing for an EIN to payroll taxes and W-2s.

"I really dislike seeing the small businesses in any community fail," Canales told "This country thrives on entrepreneurship, and all of it starts small. If any of my students come away with just one idea to make it easier to concentrate on what they do best, they have a better chance of surviving and growing and becoming successful."

With students from such diverse industries, Canales encourages them to bring their questions to class so everyone can learn about their distinct areas and what their relationship might be to other industries.

"I also encourage networking among my students in class and provide a venue for each student to highlight their business," said Canales, who has an impressive network of colleagues. "And I can connect these small businesses to other financial and legal resources that they might not think they could use or afford."

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