Every article that has to do with the accounting industry will tell you to specialize in a particular industry. I am here to tell you that such advice is simply wrong. Why? There are many reasons.
One of which is if you specialize in one industry, and that industry has a downturn, you are going down with it. The key is to specialize, that is to say, learn the various nuances of many different industries and the particular tax implications of those industries and you will not only gain a vast knowledge of taxation, you will become indispensable to your clients.
I remember a quote that talks about this, and I want to share it with you: “It doesn’t matter about the amount of zeros in your paycheck, it is when you become indispensable that you have made it.”
Knowing the various taxation issues of many industries will cause you to do a lot of reading and studying. It will take some time, but you will become indispensable to many different clients.
I had a client come to me about a year ago. The company designed video games. Their previous accountant told them that the labor that they were paying to design these games had to be capitalized, until such a time as the video game was released. That would be true, if their company wasn’t a video game company. But because all this company did was design these games, the labor costs were not only deductible, they were subject to the Research and Development Tax Credit.
How did I know this, and the other accountant didn’t? Because I spend the first couple hours of my morning reading tax law changes, Tax Court cases, and everything else to do with taxation.
About Craig W. Smalley, EA
Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.