CPA Leadership Podcast: Julio Interviews Eric Pierre, CPA Owner/Principal of Pierre Accounting

On this week's CPA Leadership Podcast features Eric Pierre, CPAOwner/Principal of Pierre Accounting. Julio interview Eric on the changing times, COVID, PPP, and the CPA industry.

Transcript:

Julio Gonzalez 0:05
Hi, this is Julio Gonzales with your CPA leadership weekly podcast and we have a special guest today, right, Eric? Yes, sir hanging out there and taxes.

Eric Pierre 0:15
Oh, everything's great, you know, businesses are opening, we can go to the gym, we can eat. So I'm just trying to help my clients stay afloat right now. And, hopefully, you know, we could continue to do it safely and kind of lead away for the rest of the country in Korea.

Julio Gonzalez 0:33
You know, the small businesses need You more now than ever, really, I mean, you're the trusted resource what the idea is to get through this COVID and everything else in these trying times. Hmm.

Eric Pierre 0:44
Yeah, I don't know if I say that. I have the ideas but you know, we just want to be a great resource and, you know, to be a tower safety, refuge and hope, you know, for our clients, you know, with the, you know, with our knowledge to provide them leverage they need through such difficult times.

Julio Gonzalez 1:04
Yeah. Well, let's start with your background. Tell us a little bit about you and your firm.

Eric Pierre 1:09
Okay, so my firm is Pierre Accounting. I founded it in 2014. It was a side business. And then I continue to hit the glass ceiling in my corporate career. So I decided to go on my own. And in 2016, I moved to California, open offices to San Diego, Los Angeles. And then in 2018, we re establish our presence in Texas, our corporate headquarters are here in Austin, Texas. It was so operates San Diego, Los Angeles right now. And you know, what makes us different is that we're one of the most diverse accounting firms in the country. You know, no one ethnic group makes it more than 40% of our workforce. And we also are able to solve the problem our time throughout traditional accounting services, and other strategies that we have.

Julio Gonzalez 1:57
So what are those other strategies?

Well, you know, some involves, you know, right now it's a great time to do cost segregation if you own commercial real estate because you know, Uncle Sam has allowed you now to go back in capture, pay taxes through net operating losses when carry backs were suspended. So, you know, that's one way Plus, you can also take a look at some of the credits available for retaining employees for such a time as this.

Yeah, what else are you working on? command? It sounds like what happens the clients come in, are you are you being proactive? Are you know, the clients reaching out? Are you reaching out because I gotta imagine more than ever. They really have to rely on their CPA is to get them through this and come up with ideas to survive this.

Eric Pierre 2:46
Excuse me? My AC is broken. Um, yeah. AC is really valuable here x x is what doesn't work. It's a bearable. Um, yeah, we're we're very practical. firm, you know, we stay in touch with our clients. I like to run my practice as if it's a family. And so our clients are, you know, our family members. So we stay in touch, whether it's through social media, you know, phone calls, you know, we've had to check in, in our clients on the west coast to make sure they're okay with the reset. You know, writing, you know, we've done a webinar we reached, we're distributing that out right now. So we're just trying to do our very best that we can do, and use the technology available since we can't do the traditional face to face with COVID-19 right now.

Julio Gonzalez 3:37
Yeah, so you've had a, you've had a pivot, basically.

Yeah. And our pivot wasn't as difficult because what most people did not know is you'd see me my office by myself with my staff and my team had always worked remotely. So that pivot, we were prepared for this. We just didn't know that this was actually going to happen. But but because I I don't like to supervise people all day, I empower my staff to do the work and build relationships. We were already ready for this.

Good point. So you're not only a CPA or an entrepreneur?

Eric Pierre 4:11
Yes, I'm an entrepreneur and you know, I'm working on getting my wealth management license right now we work is Smith wealth partners. And so because there's some tax strategies, we're involved as under management, so that also allows leverage relation other financial professionals that already have a life only insurance license with the state of California and I need to update my paper with the State of Texas.

Julio Gonzalez 4:39
I think you bring up a good point. I think that you know, a lot of the expertise in tax can get you so far in terms of your tax liability and wealth preservation so we can use the tax law to the fullest extent and right partners but also sometimes you need to bring it down even further through Smart Investing.

Absolutely. Because, you know, there's different types of investment vehicles out there. You know, that can help you save taxes. And a lot of people think that they're just pretty ultra wealthy. Now some of the strategies make a lot more sense for the higher net worth individuals and families because of the cost. By, you know, if you're somebody making two $300,000 a year as a family, there are opportunities to investment vehicles to sniff you lower your taxes on a W two salary. You know, obviously business owners it's much easier you have a lot more room. This businesses you have a two 475 deductions for taxes, you know why individuals not so much, but if you start making two 300,000, even 180,000 there are a lot of opportunities that most people are not aware of. And so we made a commitment to, you know, educate ourselves to that and then we also have a back office to our relationship and Lombardi family office. firms like yours, to be able to separate ourselves. So that you know basically, when people deal with us they feel like you know, they can look at us like wow, there's deepest Nike 27 Yankees or the Knights 96 Chicago Bulls,

airings 475 deductions. How'd you come up with that?

Eric Pierre 6:19
always written down. I couldn't name them all right. You have to get in my head. I might be your name 75

Julio Gonzalez 6:26
Oh, that's a nice,

Eric Pierre 6:27
on a good day.

Julio Gonzalez 6:28
You send us and we'll send that out with a podcast for everyone to contact. Yeah,

I just write. If we do that, then most people may fall asleep after number 20

I don't know. You know, saving money. You know, that's our attention, right?

Oh, absolutely. I love saving my I love beating the IRS. Absolutely.

You fought the IRS and you won.

Eric Pierre 6:52
Yeah, I'm actually 6-0 like Michael Jordan in IRS on that's fine. Ah

Julio Gonzalez 6:57
Wow. Say you're the king of the IRS. Thought it.

I don't want to say that because I'm sure there's somebody that's got a better record than me. But I definitely like my chances. You know, we do things the right way. And our clients have understanding and basically we just serve our clients, whatever you do, please listen to us.

Yeah, good point. Tell me you brought up family offices and he partner up there. That was a term I think that 10 years ago, you wouldn't hear about and certainly hear about it more today. We have our own family office, tell us about what you're doing in the family office space.

So basically, when it comes to sort of family office space, we basically can do anything financial. So you know, we've got partnerships with you know, wealth management firms, you know, engineering firms like yours, and another one, um, you know, insurance. Basically what we want to do, what we do is by having that the Modern Family Office, is that a wall accomplish family can't come in or a middle market business and get everything taken care. Without having to go to five different offices, you know, because traditionally, you only talk tax to CPA. And then you go to your wealth management about that. But the problem is that I changed it because I realized one day that there was some clients who were wealthy. But I didn't know that because I was on dealing with their current income, and not looking at the big picture. And so that allows me to look at the bigger picture on their whole financial situation, to where we can leverage that relationship. And also that we're able to serve our clients time, the one thing that you cannot get back, because if you've been in business, you can make money, lose money can gain weight, and lose weight, the ones you can't get back is time. And so we make it easier by we have a team that can do what the wealth managers, the engineers, all that so that they can focus on building their business. That's how their family,

Eric speaking about and I love what you just said, but speaking about gaining weight or losing weight. I hadn't put On a student two months since this pandemic, I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure which way I was gonna go this morning in the closet, you know, how's he gonna fit? Was it going to not fit was I gonna have to go in my wife's closet and get her Spanx? I wasn't sure. And by the way, Listen, my wife doesn't have a Spanx in case she's listening. But I didn't know.

Eric Pierre 9:19
I don't have a space too. Not long enough. I'm sick say,

Julio Gonzalez 9:23
your 6'8

Eric Pierre 9:24
Yeah, my dad taller than me I'm not the tallest CPA in my own family, so

Julio Gonzalez 9:28
I thought you're the towel CPA in the country that say no,

Eric Pierre 9:32
there's a guy No, no, LA is 6' 10. So he took that time away from me.

Julio Gonzalez 9:38
Unbelievable. I had no idea. Yeah, yeah. That every day ran into someone 6'8

Eric Pierre 9:44
no, no, no. I mean, for me. I don't play basketball much anymore. So I don't really see guys that often. But you know, when I do. Whenever I see someone telling me always take a picture of them to remind people and it's a good reminder for me. You'll always meet somebody like this bigger and better. Do you

Julio Gonzalez 10:01
Love that

And I think that's true. And I think it's something to always be thinking of and be thankful for sure. So let's go back to the PAM office real quick. So I agree with you that the CPA should be intimately involved, not only in the tax perspective, but in the investment perspective, because sometimes the two can either work together or work against each other. And I'll give you an example. Eric, I mean, you know, we had seen some tax returns for athletes where the tax team on one side was doing things but on the investment side, they were doing these investments that had no tax implications, and the athlete had no deductions and so they weren't preserving their wealth.

Absolutely. I agree with you to see the day. You know about wealth preservation, whether you're athlete or you're stablish you know, business owner or you're part of a family dynasty wealth, this past Long, because you know where you live in South Florida when my family, my parents live near you, there's a lot of second and third generational wealth. And even though that they can't necessarily spend that money all at once you still want to have, you still want to be protected, and pass it down. And that's why it's important to be in the same scene. But, you know, again, I had to learn this because traditional CPAs were very closed off protected, because we're afraid of working with someone like you working with a wealth manager, because if something goes wrong, we're afraid of losing the client. And you can't live with it. You can't live in fear.

You know, no, no doubt. So what do you do? Eric, you kind of start with an audit initially when a client comes in and kind of see the full picture and then bring in the investment side of it bringing the tax side maybe the insurance side, I'm not sure.

Yeah, yeah. So I guess, you know, audits, good work, but yeah, basically, I'm like a doctor, you know, you go to the doctor. I just listened to call Tell me what's wrong, and then we start working solution. And, you know, one of the biggest challenges that, you know, a lot of people are afraid to change. And so sometimes, you know, we have to be able to what's great about our business, I can actually quantify my solutions, other people, other practices, you cannot mine, I can quantify once I can show them back and create such a large arbitrage and leverage, it usually gets them over.

It makes sense. You know, I read this morning that the tax code has 70,000 pages you know, and I kind of equated to a doctor, right, the doctor is gonna be your general doctor, he's gonna listen to what you're telling him or her is wrong, but then you have to make a diagnosis and then bring in the experts bring in the investment of experts, insurance and experts, right. You have to kind of quarterback all that.

Absolutely. You know, because the fact you know, somebody wealthier clients. Um, I had, I had a chat with one guy. He's a realtor. He's doing very well on San Diego. And I'd remind him said, Did you ever set up an estate, you're buying a million dollar house, and you live in San Diego, California, where if something ever happened to you, your homes gonna be tied up in probate for years. And so he has so many people, they're just busy. And we tend to think that we're invincible, but at a moment's time, like your life is over. At a minimum, every American should have at least term insurance at a minimum so that you're worth more dead than alive.

You know, no doubt about it. I mean, you know, Eric, I'm a lot older than you and I play at age, right? I'm at that age where, you know, I had friends that passed away this year from unexpected heart attacks and strokes. And, you know, I don't in some cases, they didn't have that in place. And then, you know, put their family in place. So you know, you're kind of Bringing that all together, right and making sure that not only are they tax efficient and wealth investment efficient, but optimized on the insurance to make sure that there's, you know, that generational coverage.

Absolutely. You know, I was also fortunate, you know, I grew up in a home where my dad was a CPA, he wasn't a practitioner, but I get to grow up talking about money. And so I was always around it. And I was fortunate along the way, he even showed me is that worth and it's kind of creepy, you know, a few years ago, he took me upstairs to the loft and a house we had in Houston, and to show me these paths, where it's like, why, Hey, why are you doing this? And then he almost died of an embolus. And he survived, but had he not? At least we would have been taken care of and, you know, my mother, my sister would be, you know, more than taking care of and that's the first thing particularly if you have a family but also for single people, okay? So if you go to GoFundMe, I'm sure you've done this and anybody watching it, you should go look up how many people are asking for 10 $15,000 for a funeral, when you could spend 20 $30 a month on a term life insurance policy that gets you to $300,000. Again, you don't even have to be super wealthy to accumulate insurance and other protections that could end up letting you pass on a few million dollars. But it's just it's just a lack of education. That's what I have to do. And others like yourself doing instead we have to continue to be committed. And I think overall, my industry, we're not necessarily the best communicators, but there are other CPAs I do a great job with that. And we just have to continue to educate, educate, educate. Yeah, know what you know.

Yeah. How's your world change since this pandemic?

Well, normally lady early May I'm actually where you're at South Florida, my family for a couple of weeks. So I'm not used to being in one place this long. But we had a lot of phone calls. But the stem you know that people ask about stimulus check, PPP, ei, do we have people freaking out not sharing, not sure if they're going to stay in business. So it seemed like at times that it played a role counselor.

Counselor, were you helping them with the PPP?

Yeah, we we've helped some of the PPP.

Eric Pierre 16:36
You know, a lot of my clients learned the hard way about not having a payroll because their payroll records is what makes a big deal on getting NPP. Other people that were not our clients that contacted us learn the hard way by not keeping good tax accounting records. In fact, one of my clients was underwriter, Chase said at 30% of applications were rejected by chase because of bad tax accounting records.

Julio Gonzalez 17:00
No doubt about it. I mean, you gotta pay into the system and you got to have the records to be right. Get back from the system, right?

Absolutely. And so I hope that's the lesson that, you know, we learned going forward is that, you know, good accounting is not it's not cheap, but it's not necessarily valued by everybody. And I and I, I know for my higher echelon clients, they value it. And this, you know, the cost the same as they get so even if you pay me, you know, $10,000 we're usually bringing in Schicchi hundred thousand dollars in savings.

So, that's good. I mean, listen, I always think of it as do you view, CFO CPA accounting work as an expense or an investment? Because, like you I tell my clients that, you know, having good resources is not an expense. It's an investment because you'll get a five to 10 x return on it.

Yeah. I mean, it's an investment. You know, for instance, I'm a, I'm a sneaker head, I, I love wearing Jordans, that's an expense. I mean, I guess maybe it's in their best lit on some of them. But that's an expense for whatever I spent on investing in my in my business or certain shots myself, I get a return on investment. You just have to be patient and just, it's also just a mindset that we have. Because our country we have more of a consumer mindset. Our economy is based on on consumerism, which is very unique.

Yeah. So listen, you were on national TV recently, I saw that you did a great job. And what were you talking about there?

Can you repeat that again, I think froze for a second. Oh,

yeah. I was just saying that you were on national TV recently. And I thought you did a great job. And I just was curious what you were talking about on national TV?

Oh, well thank you for your kind words on national TV. Just talking about Different ways of generating cash flow. So we talked about, you know, a ploys and gets a credit for paying sick, sick leave, you can get, you can defer your payroll taxes for basically two years. So the government's giving you a layaway plan, you have an opportunity for the retention credit, if your revenues are dropped 50% or lower and comparable periods. I also spoke about the five year carried back net operating losses. And we'd spoke about commercial real estate, particularly with the property short to 15 years. But with bonus depreciation, you can now claim all that in one year. And we also spoke about cost segregation example because it's one of the best ways to identify, you know, qualified group property. And so I actually did a webinar and the TV parents actually helped me prepare for that webinar. are in so it was great speak with Sam and I, I had heard that she was very sharp and she is and I learned that she actually was a biomedical engineer before student do before she went to entertainment. So she was she was ready.

Yeah, Job well done there. So, like, what do you do outside of accounting? I know you sing a little bit right? You want to sing for everyone?

Oh my gosh,

maybe. Maybe you can sing how they can get ahold of you.

I won't express my failings. My mother used to sing professionally. When I'm not working, which is rare right now. I like to travel. I like to go to live music. I got to see Mike Phillips you know who actually has a shoe contract with Michael Jordan, right before everything shut down. And I like To read live sports, and then also like to play basketball recreationally. But right now my doctor said, I can't do that.

So how many Jordans do you have?

Oh, I'm 35.

Yeah, well, what's your best pair?

Eric Pierre 21:21
Oh, wow. That's like asking a parent to pick your favorite child. Okay.I like the Jordan 11. And I would say the comp one. Do

Julio Gonzalez 21:34
you have a picture of your collection?

Not on me right now. But I could send you.

Yeah, send that we'll post it. Okay. All right. Well, listen, Eric. It's been great. How do people get ahold of you?

Eric Pierre 21:48
Okay, so there's a few ways to get ahold of me to do traditional telephone. You could call our office at 512-900-8293. You can also email me Eric up here accounting comm You can also find me on the web at www.pierreaccounting.com And there's a place where you can fill out a contact form. If you're on social media, you can find us on Instagram at pure accounting. You can find us on twitter under pure accounting. And and then we also have YouTube channel peer accounting, so I'm pretty visible. So I would love to hear from you off, you want to know how you can help change or improve your financial legacy? And we should we want to explore the possibilities with you.

Julio Gonzalez 22:34
Eric, it's been great having you on at six, eight, you're almost the tallest CPA in the country. All across the world.

Eric Pierre 22:42
Right now. There's a guy named Mark. I know. He's Marco. He's 610. Now he actually played volleyball at UCLA. Ironically, so he's an ex athlete himself, apparently.

Julio Gonzalez 22:53
Apparently you're in the top two.

Eric Pierre 22:55
Yes, yeah. I'll take that.

Julio Gonzalez 22:58
Alright, great having you on Eric, we'll have you back, you know, at the end of this year to see how things are working out there, how you survived all this and what you're doing to pivot with your clients.

Eric Pierre 23:10
Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I look forward, stay in touch and when I come in sound, I'll make sure we'll go to the Clevelander.

Julio Gonzalez 23:17
All right. I look forward to that. All right. I'm going to expect that all

Eric Pierre 23:23
they expect me there too.

Julio Gonzalez 23:25
All right. Good, look forward to it Eric.

Eric Pierre 23:27
All right. Thank you, sir.

Julio Gonzalez 23:28
Take care.

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