Toni Cameron is the owner of TL;DR: Accounting and a CPA. She’s happy to spotlight her experiences and welcomes the opportunity of her clients getting to know her better. Read on to learn more about her!
Why did you decide to become an accountant?
My dad started a small business that was an auto repair and body shop. Accounting and taxes was something that they were always behind in and it caused a ton of stress. Basically, it was a problem I could solve. After I took my first accounting course, I was hooked and decided to major in it. From there things just fell into place — it was something I understood and I was good at it. After I received my BS in Accounting, I went on to grad school and got my MS in Accounting, eventually earned my license, and I still enjoy what I do each day.
When did you decide to start your own accounting firm?
I started TL;DR: Accounting in the summer of 2016. My goal was to provide a well-rounded service offering to the small business community while providing a living wage for myself and any employees.
What do you enjoy most about TL;DR?
Being able to help clients. Some small business clients are not numbers people, which is fantastic because I can be that resource for them. I like finding ways to solve their problems, and then replicate it to other clients I have that are in similar situations.
What is a typical work day like for you?
I tend to start work around 9am, and I start taking meetings around 10am. My schedule is pretty flexible depending on when clients need to meet. If I don’t have a meeting with a client I have a to-do list of reviewing tax returns, looking over bookkeeping, or spending time on tax projections. I spend way more time than I would like on email so I have started limiting looking at email twice per day. Lately, I have been spending time trialing some new software for tax projection that would make it easier to collaborate with clients during meetings. My day usually has a break in it for the gym instead of lunch, and my end time can be anywhere from 4pm to 7pm.
What is your favorite tip for small business owners?
Keeping track of your expenses is hard, but worth it. Also, if you have a question ask it in a timely manner — we can solve problems when we know about them and after-the-fact is sometimes much more difficult.
How do you stay informed about developments and changes in the accounting world?
I take continuing education courses, and I tend to read a briefing every morning. With the new tax law in effect, I spend time researching the new rules and drafting blog posts so I can let our clients know.
What is your biggest achievement to date — personal or professional?
I would say starting TL;DR: Accounting. Starting a new business is hard work, especially when you start hiring employees. I am enjoying working with clients, helping my employees grow, and developing better ways to get things done. While it has been so much hard work, it has been worth it.
What do you do outside of work?
I am an avid geek — I love D&D and prefer 5th edition. I play in a few games a week within some ongoing campaigns. I also DM a few one-shots. I am a speed reader so I tend to read a book or two a week to keep myself sharp. I love board games like Darkest Night, and Dragonfire or even Splender. When I have time, I try to bake at least one goodie every few weeks, such as cinnamon rolls, homemade oreos and chocolate cake. I also bake a fantastic strawberry biscuit. I just realized that I might have way too many hobbies…
If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Now this is a hard one, I have so many to choose from…Ia from the ‘Theirs Not To Reason Why’
series by Jean Johnson. It is a military Science Fiction novel. She is such a strong character and does what it takes to win, even though winning might not be what’s best for her, but best for the universe. One of her quotes is, “You may struggle to turn your Fate into your Destiny, but the Future is inescapable; it will drag you forward kicking and screaming.”
Do you have any advice for those interested in entering the accounting field?
Always be learning and find a good mentor. Developing a good work-life balance is important, but in the first couple of years it can be hard depending on the type of firm that you go to work for. If you begin to think accounting is not for you, it might be the boss or manager, not accounting.