David Raff & Company https://draffco.com CPA-Financial Solutions Sat, 10 Nov 2018 17:09:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Focusing on what is important during a family health issue https://draffco.com/focusing-on-what-is-important-during-a-family-health-issue/ https://draffco.com/focusing-on-what-is-important-during-a-family-health-issue/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 17:09:19 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=764 A serious health issue for a member of your family can help put focus on what is important and what is not important. I have been living with that scenario for almost three years as my wife and I have traveled through this journey together.

I always thought I was pretty good at setting priorities. I had all the latest technology tools. I read article after article on how to improve my workflow and efficiency. The truth is all the tools and tricks in the world don’t matter much when your attention is focused on prayer and healing for someone you love.

When you own a business your customers or clients may care about your personal situation. However they do come to see you for the service you provide or the product you sell and if you cannot continue to provide the service or sell the product they will look elsewhere. The challenge is not allowing any personal issues you have interfere with your ability to service our customers or clients.

To my wife’s credit she insisted that I carry on with the business and make sure that appointments were maintained and I continue to interact with clients as I always do. Fortunately the tremendous team at our Redlands CPA firm also maintained that same level of personal service and care during this difficult time.

Now that we are on the other side of the serious stages of the health issue. The lesson learned is that balancing a personal crisis and workflow can be accomplished. The key is having support both within family and company that are willing to accept responsibility to allow you can focus on what’s important. You must have confidence in those around you and be willing to delegate so you can spend what limited time you have on what is important. Thanks to that wonderful support I can continue to focus on what is important and make my Life Less Taxing.

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Work for the endorphins https://draffco.com/work-for-the-endorphins/ https://draffco.com/work-for-the-endorphins/#respond Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:42:55 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=585 Want the key to making your career enjoyable.  Don’t work for the money….work for the endorphins!

In our Redlands CPA firm, clients come to us from throughout the Inland Empire and beyond as their accountants.  That may be the outside view of what we do and the end product of our work is in most cases a tax return, financial accounting or consultation in those areas.  However, the inside view of what we do is to provide a solution to whatever our client needs.  That may in our area of expertise or by use of our connections we can find a solution for a client even if the topic has nothing to do with anything related to accounting or finances.

Whether it is taking away the uncertainty of their tax liability, providing them financial information to more effectively manage their business, or find a connection for a possible job opportunity for them, there is no better feeling than to solve a problem for a client.  

I am not a scientist or chemist so forgive me in advance for my novice description. Endorphins are the “happy hormome” inside your body and are best known for the rush most people get after exercise.  That same “endorphin rush” can happen at work.  

Ever have a day when you felt things everything fell into place at work?  Clients or customers are happy….co-workers are happy and you are happy.  We are blessed at our company to have many opportunities to experience such a rush.

If you put your efforts into identifying the triggers that give you that endorphin rush no matter what your career role, the money will follow from good reviews, promotions and increases in your compensation.  It’s a perfect situation…be happy and be compensated better for what drives that happiness.  If you keep your happiness ahead of your wallet you will find your Life Less Taxing.

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Your impact may never be known https://draffco.com/your-impact-may-never-be-known/ https://draffco.com/your-impact-may-never-be-known/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:07:28 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=580 When I was growing up in Arcadia, California, I remember enjoying ice skating at the Pasadena Ice Skating Center. 


I relived a great memory of that time yesterday when I listened to the Barbara Striesand song “Stoney End”.  I remember skating at the rink to that song. I thought about the ice rink employee who made the choice of playing that song at that time and passed on a thank you for bringing back a great memory. We never met but probably without trying that ice rink employee made a very positive impact on me.

I believe my staff and I make a very positive impact at our Redlands CPA firm. Beyond our work I appreciate how well we treat anyone who walks in the door, calls or emails. Even if we don’t do business or have any future contact with any particular individual, I want anyone to have a positive memory when they think of David Raff & Company.

You never know what impact you will have with someone in business or in life. Treat everyone well and do your best everyday. Without trying someday you will put a smile on someone’s face and make their Life Less Taxing.

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Treat EVERYONE with respect https://draffco.com/treat-everyone-with-respect/ https://draffco.com/treat-everyone-with-respect/#respond Sun, 15 Feb 2015 16:50:33 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=572 everyone-is-important

Such a straightforward statement.  Who would disagree? If so why do so many business owners and representatives ignore this concept?

In our Redlands CPA firm we get calls and emails from all types of sources.  Current clients, potential clients and potential employees, sales solicitations, individuals supporting local charities throughout the Inland Empire and beyond contact us via phone, email or our website. I am going to carve out spam emails from the following statement only because responding to spam email has computer virus implications, but everyone deserves a response.

Treating everyone with respect is the right thing to do.  Someone from our firm always responds to anyone who provides us a resume to thank them and let them know where things stand.  I am especially amazed at how young people who are new to the professional job market are treated and have my own story to tell.

When I was a junior in college, I applied for a marketing internship with Savin Copier Company in Los Angeles.  I was excited to earn an interview. I dressed in my best (and only) suit, arrived early for the interview and thought everything went well.  I waited for word if I received the position.  When I didn’t hear anything for about a week, I left a phone message for my contact at the company.  That was over 30 years ago and I am still waiting for a response.  I guess I didn’t get the job.  What I will say is that I will NEVER do business with Savin Copier Company. Moral to the story is that you never know how you treat people today will come around for you and your business later.

We can’t hire everyone, we can’t do business with everyone and we can’t support every charity that contacts our business.  We can make sure they know why or where they stand and do it with appreciation for their effort.  To do so both in your business life and your personal life will make your Life Less Taxing.


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Teaching and Learning https://draffco.com/teaching-and-learning/ https://draffco.com/teaching-and-learning/#respond Sat, 29 Nov 2014 21:03:14 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=542 I have the honor to teach as an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands School of Business. Go Bulldogs!


I have had some our my friends and business acquaintances ask me why I am taking the time to be an adjunct professor.  It’s certainly not for the pay compared to what I can make spending those same hours at our Redlands CPA firm. When I teach an accounting or finance class, I find that I am not just educating the students but I am getting an education myself.  I did not realize at first was the benefit that our firm clients get from that additional education.

Here’s an example of how that has worked. You have to prepare to teach a class each week and be knowledgeable of the topics to be discussed.  One week in my most recent class we discussed how to compute internal rate of return.  We developed spreadsheets using examples from the text.  While those concepts and the spreadsheets were still fresh in my mind , I had a client come in with a question on whether he should purchase and finance a solar system for his home.  There can be significant tax benefits (a 30% Federal tax credit) for the purchase of solar energy systems.  He asked me with the value of the credit and the cost of his down payment and financing what the internal rate of return would be on his investment.  I was able to bring up a sample spreadsheet I used in class, drop his numbers in and make the computation in a couple minutes for him. Had I not taught the course I would have had to complete that project after the meeting and I know it would have taken me a ton more time to create and properly prepare the computation for the client.

I also find that I learn from my students directly as well.  I learn technology tips which have spiced up my presentations.  I have a better understanding of the skill sets and expectation of college graduates (our future employees).  I learn from my working students how businesses operate at different levels which is great information to apply for our clients. I especially admire the working adults who come to class in the evening after a full day at their job.  I am not doing my job if they leave class feeling their time was not well spent.

I firmly believe that my experience teaching is only an example of opportunities we all have in life.  We raise children, we lend a hand to family and friends, we supervise staff, we support our community.  Taking any of these teaching experiences as opportunities to learn will make your life more fulfilling and your Life Less Taxing.


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Best financial advice for individuals https://draffco.com/best-financial-advice-for-individuals/ https://draffco.com/best-financial-advice-for-individuals/#respond Tue, 11 Nov 2014 03:12:53 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=537 We have owned and operated our Redlands CPA firm now for over 24 years.  Over that period of time we have met with hundreds of individual tax clients and prepared thousands of individual tax returns.  Our goal from that process properly report but at the same time help our clients pay as little tax as legally possible and supportable. I am definitely biased but I believe my great staff and I do a very good job at advising clients on their taxes.

That being said the best advice I give to our individual clients has very little to do with tax planning.  When I have the opportunity I suggest that clients do what they can to reduce their debt.


I have heard other financial advisors suggest clients increase their home mortgage or use home equity financing to pay off credit card debt.  Good short term answer….in most cases a bad long term answer.  Yes you are lowering your tax rate and you may be creating a tax deductible interest cost whereas personal credit card debt is normally not tax deductible.  I have seen cases where the clients have used this strategy and then run up their credit card debt again.  Financial discipline is needed to avoid that trap.

Here are three steps to help reduce your debt:

1.  Make paying off your credit card bill in full each month a priority.

2.  Once credit cards are paid off in full each month, then take excess cash and apply additional principal payments to your highest rate debt obligation.

3. Then take the excess cash and apply additional payments to your home mortgage debt.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to reduce and eliminate the burden of debt even if it does not help lower your tax liability.  Taxes are one function of your overall finances and should not be the primary emphasis of your planning.  When you are ready to retire would you rather be able to do so comfortably without ongoing debt payments or say “look how much tax I saved on the way”.  The ironic truth is that making sure your overall financial picture strong and focusing less about saving taxes will make your Life Less Taxing.

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The internal negotiation https://draffco.com/the-internal-negotiation/ https://draffco.com/the-internal-negotiation/#respond Sat, 09 Aug 2014 16:54:47 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=517 Some decisions you make are easy….some decisions you make are hard.  I found myself recently in an internal negotiation over a decision I had to make.


In our Redlands CPA firm my staff and I utilize our experience for the tax consulting and tax preparation services we provide.  We make decisions we feel are in the best interest of our clients and within the law when we advise on how to save taxes or properly report items on tax forms.  Those decisions are made with “our head”.  In business our head can take the lead in almost all decisions we make. Our heart can and should also play into the decision process at times.

In life other “interested parties” may have to come to the table and be part of an internal negotiation.  Along with your head (“It makes sense or does not make sense to do this”), your heart (“I feel it’s the right thing to do or not”), your faith (“God wants me to do this or not”) and your health (“My physical well being allows me or does not allow me to do this”) all may have a say in your decision.

I want to be a professional hockey player for the Los Angeles Kings.  Here’s how my internal negotiation would work.

My head says “Although the money would be good, your CPA firm provides you a great living and lifestyle.  Travel with an NHL team would take you away from your family, church and all the things you love. I say no.”

My heart says “You love the team and the sport.  You can lift the Stanley Cup if the team’s success continues with your help. I say yes and Go Kings!”

God says to me “Faith in your favorite sports team is good but it does not support your ministry on this earth.  I have to say no on this one.”

My health says “ARE YOU KIDDING?  You are too old and the risk of injury to me is huge.  I SAY NO NO NO!”

Hence as a result of this internal negotiation..I do not play for the Los Angeles Kings.  My heart does want the team to still call if they need me!

In business it may be OK to let your head rule most of the time, but in life recognize all parties at the table of your internal negotiation and you will have a Life Less Taxing.

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How deep are your roots? https://draffco.com/how-deep-are-your-roots/ https://draffco.com/how-deep-are-your-roots/#respond Sun, 13 Jul 2014 22:36:17 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=512 Today I was inspired by the sermon at our church that discussed how a seed grows if it falls in shallow ground, is surrounded by thorns or is planted in deep soil.

Plant roots

Along with the clear faith based message, I thought about how the message applies to other aspects of life….including employment applications.  How deep are your roots?

In our Redlands CPA firm, we have the opportunity to review resumes for employment candidates from throughout the Inland Empire and beyond.  I find it interesting what you learn about a person through a resume.

A resume provides a potential employer a picture of your life.  On one page you have an opportunity to describe yourself in the best light to obtain a career.  What is surprising to me is how many applicants don’t recognize that they have one brief shot to make a first impression.  What do you have in your resume that will attract a employer to hire you?  Let me tell you it is not stating how hard working and loyal you are.  I will assume that you are hard working and I will assume that every applicant who provides me with a resume is hard working as well.  As for loyalty, I can’t tell you how many times we have seen resumes of applicants proclaiming their dedication to a job and their job history shows they haven’t worked at any job longer than one year.  If the work experience on your resume currently looks choppy, time to settle into a career and establish some roots.  Not much different that building credit for your finances.

As an employer, here is what I want to see to help distinguish you from the few, dozen or possibly hundreds of resumes that may be competing for a specific employment opportunity.  How long have you worked for prior employers? Are you active in your community? Is your family important to you? Have you established “roots” in the past that provide me insight that you will establish roots with us as well?

On a more personal note, have you provided a cover letter that describes why this career is a match for you and for me as your potential employer?  A cover letter provides a chance to expand the message you want to come across to who you may be working for.  I may like your work experience and education but that won’t be enough to get you hired.  I need to know why you want a career with us and why I should hire you. I need to know how you will fit in with our team and how you will interact with clients. I need to get as good a sense as I can that you are looking for a career and not just a job or paycheck. I need to get a sense for the depth of your roots.

Without giving forethought into the employment application process I think you are probably just on a fishing expedition with the hope to land a job.  Hard to do without bait!

If you are interested in a career and not just a job, add some depth to your roots.  If you are looking for a career, I wish you well on your employment search and a Life Less Taxing.


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What makes us different helps make us successful https://draffco.com/what-makes-us-different-helps-make-us-successful/ https://draffco.com/what-makes-us-different-helps-make-us-successful/#respond Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:35:52 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=500 We all have idiosyncrasies….strange habits that make us unique.  Here’s one of mine.


I have an aversion to pink paper clips.  I don’t know where it came from and I cannot explain it.  I am not making a political statement.  It’s not a macho thing.  I just have to say it’s me. Maybe I’ll outgrow it.  I know I hated peaches until I turned about age 25 and now like them.  Who knows if my feeling about pink paper clips will change the same way.

On rare occasions clients of our Redlands CPA firm will bring in their tax or accounting documents with a pink paper clip.  First time I made comment about the ugly thing attached to the documents I almost lost a client.  For a while I made no comment and quietly disposed of the clip like an intruder to my office as soon as my client left.  Now I can talk about my pink paper clip issues openly with some clients who would appreciate the humor of the situation.

Showing a glimpse of your human side in a professional setting can help solidify your relationships with your clients and customers.  This approach will only work if you only do this occasionally in the right setting and if you can provide integrity and quality in your product or services.  You don’t want to come off as too quirky so the professional level of your work will take a backseat in your client or customer’s eyes.  You want to make sure that your client or customer is the focus of your meetings and not your unique traits.

Bottom line,…it’s easier to be yourself in both your business and personal relationships than to put up a front to try to meet a client or customer’s expectations.  You may find that the people you do business with appreciate you more and you will have a Life Less Taxing.






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Leave nothing on the table https://draffco.com/leave-nothing-on-the-table/ https://draffco.com/leave-nothing-on-the-table/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2014 23:29:19 +0000 https://draffco.com/?p=491 The first day of a new year is known for resolutions….what about inspirations?


Ever heard of the phrase “leave nothing on the table“?    The idea is that if you give each day everything you have to give, you will go to sleep each night with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Does your job provide you enough challenge and satisfaction?  Are you giving enough attention to your family, friends and community?  Are you exercising hard enough and eating well enough to keep your body in optimal health?

2014 is a new year and a great opportunity to answer these questions for yourself.  Don’t make resolutions….like diets they are by nature subject to failure.  Make subtle or if necessary broader changes in your life that can answer the above questions yes!  By leaving nothing on the table you will find your Life Less Taxing.

For more reading, here are some stories on leaving nothing on the table.  Copy and paste the links below in your browser to read.




Have a happy and prosperous new year!





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