Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

When people think about places such as Baxter Springs, Kan., where I live and run my practice, I believe they get a stereotypical image of Heartland, America--cornfields, dusty roads and dying towns. They are right--and wrong. Towns like mine are the quintessential expression of American life.

Baxter Springs, population 4,200, is one mile from the Oklahoma border and 10 miles from Missouri. Its claim to fame, aside from being the largest city in the county and having a cow town history, is that it sits on a historic (and still working) section of the famed Route 66. Tourists from around the world stop to see where history was made. Recently, we had a motorcycle caravan of 1,000 bikers. A week later 85 Model T's visited our famous museum. Since many of the buildings in town (including mine, which was built in 1878 as a bar) are historic sites, tourists roam the street, stop to read the plaques that tell the story of each building, and peer in. Those of us at work in the historic buildings sometimes feel like we are in a zoo!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

After graduating from college, I worked for a couple of firms for a few years to gain some experience. Then, at age 25, I decided to go back home to "hang my shingle." Although my decision to go home was a "no-brainer," I admit that opening my own firm was challenging. Back then (25 years ago) the profession had few female CPAs. The town already had one CPA. An attorney, who has since become a business partner and dose friend, jokingly asked me if there was room for two of us in Baxter Springs. I said, "We'll see." A few years later, that attorney became my client, and my practice thrived.

My practice fluctuates in size, according to the clientele I serve. I've had up to eight employees. Currently, I have an accountant and an administrative assistant. Although I provide all types of accounting services, including doing tax returns for my former high school teachers (which is always interesting; they never forget anything), I specialize in outside controllerships to small family-owned businesses. That's where my job gets interesting. …

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