• Career Center
     

    Ask the Expert : Newly Self-Employed 

    Tiffany Couch, CFE, CPE/CFF  

    Principal   

    Acuity Group PLLC   

    Vancouver, Washington, USA   

    couch-profile 

    Tiffany Couch, CPA/CFF, CFE, has more than 13 years of experience in the field of accounting. Her expertise is in matters involving fraud investigation, forensic accounting, contract and regulatory compliance, internal control risk assessment and complex litigation. Couch's company, Acuity Group, is a three-time winner of the Vancouver Business Journal's annual Business Growth Awards. Acuity was awarded the 2007 Start-Up Business of the Year; and the 2008 and 2009 Fastest Growing Business in the 1-5 year category.


    What is one thing you wished you would have known when you started your own business?  

    That owning your own business is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, conserve cash at every opportunity.


    How did you know that making the move to self-employment was the right one?  

    When I realized that my personal and professional values, and the type of personalized service that I wanted to provide my clients, would never align with a large or regional firm who was more concerned with the bottom line.


    Do you find it challenging being your own boss? Why or why not?   

    The only challenge is cash flow. When you are your own boss, you have to pay everyone else first and there is no guaranteed paycheck every two weeks.


    How do you build a solid client base?  

    Building a solid client base does not happen over time. This happens one client at a time; one engagement at a time. Be impeccable with your word and actions each and every time – it's the best marketing you will ever do.


    Are there online resources, organizations or affiliations that you find valuable as a small business owner?  

    I am a member of our local CPA society chapter and chamber of commerce. I find that in this business, the personal connections count. It is too easy to isolate yourself; so I make it a priority to "get out there." I am also a Rotarian. This has been a great way for me to get involved in my community and give back.


    What is the most beneficial aspect of being self-employed to you?  

    The personal connection I have with my clients. There is a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that the personal service I have provided has served to guide my clients through a very stressful and emotional time for them. They would have never gotten that level of attention with a bigger firm.


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