This month, Wood CPA is celebrating a big milestone: three years in business!
Three years might not seem like much, but for a small business, those first three years can be the difference between success and failure. And we’re proud to say that Wood CPA has proven itself to be very much a success!
In light of this anniversary, we’re taking some time to sit down with Angie Wood, CPA and namesake of the firm, to reminisce about the firm’s beginnings, celebrate her accomplishments, and look forward to what’s in store for the future of Wood CPA.
Angie Wood: A Business Woman in the Making
In college, Angie knew she liked accounting, doing taxes, and bookkeeping. She loved working with numbers and having personal interactions with clients. She never imagined that one day she’d be a business owner.
She did know, however, that working for one of “The Big 4” accounting firms was not for her.
“I’m from a town of 800 people,” Angie explains. “Big city stuff is not my thing, at all!”
After she received her BA in Accounting from Concordia College in Morehead, MN, Angie moved to the town of Aberdeen, South Dakota, where she cut her teeth working as an accountant for a local business with multiple locations. She took care of the business’s bookkeeping, payroll, tax returns.
“It was a small town, so there were other local business owners who would come in and have coffee with the owner,” Angie explains. “So many of them had questions about business bookkeeping, how to file their taxes… All of it!”
After realizing just how much her skills were in demand, Angie started doing accountant work for individual clients. She enjoyed the work so much that she decided to get her CPA license.
From her first job as a CPA at a firm in Bloomington, to a tax gig at a family office, to another tax firm for which she was the Tax Manager, Angie had a gut feeling that she couldn’t shake:
“No matter what I did, I always wanted to start my own business again like I had in Aberdeen,” Angie says. “But having four kids, my family really relied on my paycheck and benefits.”
Luckily, Angie’s husband is her number one supporter, and he encouraged her to go for it. “So, I took the leap and started my own firm!”
Lessons Learned Over the Past 3 Years as an Entrepreneur
In the past three years of running her business, Angie has picked up a lot of wisdom. Here are just some of the important lessons she’s learned about entrepreneurship:
- Trust your gut.
Angie has learned to follow her intuition whenever possible. If something doesn’t feel right, she’s knows to listen to that feeling. “It’s not always easy,” she admits, “but I follow my gut feeling all the time now.”
- Have the tools to best serve you and your clients.
Angie knows now that having effective processes (both internally and externally) can make life a lot easier for any business owner. “I started using a scheduling tool to create a timeline of meetings with my clients throughout the year,” she says. “I also began using a software to make internal processes more efficient, and a client portal for clients’ easy access to resources.”
- Be a forever learner.
Over the years, Angie’s learned that it’s important to recognize the resources available to you, and to make sure you use them! “I’m a big believer in outsourcing tasks, like IT and marketing,” Angie explains. “I meet with business consultants about what prices I should be charging, how to handle staffing issues, etc.”
- Learn the art of the “pivot.”
It’s important to develop the skills of thinking on your feet and adapting quickly to the unexpected. “In our industry and economy, the changes are non-stop,” Angie says. “I’ve learned to expect that some plans may not work out, and that some things are out of my control.”
Angie’s Personal Advice to Business Owners
We asked Angie if she had any personal advice to business owners, especially new entrepreneurs who are just starting out in business ownership. Here’s what she had to say:
- “Be consistent and find your ‘why.’ There’s going to be ups and downs in your first 3 years, but if you’re consistent and keep your purpose (your ‘why’) in mind, it will keep you focused on the ups!”
- “Create a good work environment. We spend so much time at work. It’s important that both you and your employees feel valued and like they’re making a difference.”
- “Align your work with your values as much as you can. When you become a business owner, work becomes a part of your life. If you don’t enjoy it, or if you’re not working with customers or clients you like to work with, it’s just going to feel like another job you don’t really care for. So make sure you’re working with people you enjoy and doing something you love to do!”
The Future of Wood CPA
Since Angie’s firm has crested the three-year mark, we wanted to know what’s in store for the future of Wood CPA.
“Now I can really sit down and ask myself, ‘OK, what do I really like to do?’” Angie says. “It’s been a dramatic year because of that thought process, but it has moved us in the right direction.”
The challenges Angie has faced in business-ownership have paled in comparison to the successes. “There’s just so much need out there—I’m contacted daily by people who need a new CPA,” she says. “The growth is tremendous right now, and I don’t see that slowing down.”
Because of the explosive growth of Angie’s firm, she is focused on expanding her staff.
“My dream is to get the firm to be big enough to where it takes up the whole floor of an office building,” she says, chuckling. “I want to create a work environment where we all get along and are happy to come into the office every day!”
Before we ended our conversation, Angie wanted to extend a special thank you to her clients who have stuck by her side during Wood CPA’s first few years, for both their patience and their loyalty. She looks forward to continuing to work with and build on her relationships with them.
“I’m really excited about the future,” Angie says. “I can’t wait to hit the 5 year mark!”