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The journey from new CPA to business owner

Written on Sep 6, 2018

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

After earning her CPA, Janeen Smith-Hughes had no intention of coasting through her career. Her next challenge would be running her own business.

janeen-smith-hughes“It’s something I’ve always wanted but wasn’t sure how I would make it happen,” she said. “Part of my motivation back then was that I knew I could own a piece of a public accounting firm.”

After spending time in public accounting, Smith-Hughes this spring started her own business called Simplicity Accounting, where she works directly with small businesses that are brand-new or growing exceptionally fast.

She said an interesting transition has been determining her schedule. It can be tricky to decide when to stop working and relax, because clients might ask to have a phone call at 9 p.m.

“It’s a unique challenge because you realize how much you know and can offer,” she said. “But you also realize you can’t do everything and you can’t be everything for everybody.”

When it comes to managing time, Smith-Hughes said she’s learning to say “no” to certain things to focus on the areas she can do well. Meanwhile, she’s expanding her knowledge base by attending trainings and conferences, because whether it be on the business or in the business, the work never stops for an entrepreneur.

“So many things are happening in the industry and they are transformative,” she said. “I can do so much of this by myself because I automate a lot.”

She earned her CPA last year and said it’s been a “game-changer” when meeting with potential clients.

“When I say I’m a CPA, it’s instant credibility,” she said.

She’s also aware of the opportunities owning your own business can have for women, and is passionate about using her own skill set to help female entrepreneurs.

“For women, owning your own business in accounting is a really good long-term career option,” Smith-Hughes said. “It’s something you can make good money at, you can control your schedule, you can work with who you want to work with and get that feeling of helping and giving back.”

Smith-Hughes said she’s looking forward to growing her business and making a difference in the lives of her clients.

“I’m excited about everything,” she said. “I’m excited to have my kids see me do so many different things and get to know the small business owners of central Ohio, especially women and people of color. A lot of times this is dream fulfillment of the business owner, bringing their dreams to life.”

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