August 29, 2022

Episode #47: Larry Marietta – Marietta CPAs

Larry Marietta was born in Terre Haute, IN and graduated college from Indiana State University (Go Sycamores!!!!). After graduating, he moved to Indianapolis and struck out on his own to start Marietta CPAs. A few years later, it was apparent he had a knack for advising business owners as the business grew and he moved it out of his house and into the first office. Twenty-five years later, the firm has grown to nearly 20 staff and serves thousands of clients. Larry is an active participant in the community serving on various boards, presenting technical topics to his peers, and attending his children’s sports activities.

At the most basic level, Marietta CPAs provides accounting, payroll and tax services to businesses and individuals, but the real value is in the advice. Marietta CPAs prides itself in the following core values: they are advisors, reputation is everything, they are engaged participants in their clients’ endeavors, they are committed to their team, and they embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Combined, these core values allow them to support their clients to make better business decisions and strategically lower the overall tax cost of running a business.

Transcript

hello this is coach tim campsall and i’m your host for the self made as a myth make a difference together show where we’re interviewing successful business owners to hear their stories to building their business and because we know that success in business doesn’t happen in isolation we are recognizing the people who have helped us along the way and i’m excited to have a fellow business owner from indiana with us today uh my guest traveled around the country as a kid playing chess and his team uh won a couple of national titles he enjoys spending time with his family and bow hunting and check this out he cut down a bunch of poplar trees on a lot that him and his wife own sent it to a sawmill and built themselves a log cabin it’s my pleasure to welcome larry to the show today hello larry hey tim how you doing today i’m awesome thank you for asking how about yourself for having me oh it’s a it’s my pleasure well hey let’s let’s start with having you introduce yourself tell us a little bit about your personal story like uh where you were born where you live and about your family yeah so i grew up in terre haute indiana went to indiana state got out of college you know moved indianapolis pecking around for things to do and ended up uh opening an accounting firm we’ve been doing that for going on about 25 years now awesome and what do you what do you enjoy doing in your personal time you know i’m a crazy buck hunter right i like to bow hunt and chase big bucks that’s my real passionate hobby and then you know i got two of two kids two little girls or in all kinds of activities and we are constantly traveling around doing those things it’s all good fantastic so is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today you know i don’t know if it’s a one that they like to tell about me but it’s one about my professional career right so when i first started you know you’re learning how to do the job and all of a sudden you know six months later we get this nasty penalty notice on this tax return i was working with working on and i’m like holy moly man that that penalty is like more than i’m making a whole week you know so i was real nervous and i’m like what are you gonna do and there was this lawyer in the office and he’s like well are you a professional person and i’m like well of course i am you know you kind of puff your chest out yeah i’m a professional guys well then get over it because that’s not going to be the last one you’re going to be a professional person you’re going to get more in one of those right indeed and he was correct right 25 years later i’m certain of it fair enough right well we were just joking offline about uh little oops that i had in a another interview where i forgot to press the record button so yep yep mistakes happen all the time right they do the key is recovering from them that’s the most important key that there is getting on the other side of it and keeping going yes so larry tell us about how the business came about and at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business you know that’s a great question i mean in reality what happened was is that i got out of college i needed to make money i needed to pay my bills i got a job i started collecting clients on the side and pretty soon the clients on the side kind of get started getting in the way of the job and after a couple years they’re like hey you just need to jump and go get out on your own and so i did that and i worked out in my house for a couple of years long before covet ever showed up decided that i hated working out in my house and i would never do it again and finally went and teamed up with the lawyer a couple lawyers and some financial planners and jumped and got in office and haven’t looked back right so you started with me and now there’s like you know 16 of us so it’s going pretty well that’s awesome congratulations so tell us a little bit more about your company well i mean we’re a cpa firm right we do the basics as i call it the blocking and tackling stuff right you write payroll checks for businesses you uh prepare financial statements most of our clients use quickbooks or some version of one of the quickbook versions and do a lot of tax work right tax prep tax planning irs you get a notice everybody’s afraid of the irs i don’t happen to be afraid of the irs they have to follow the same rules that we do so we just go get a copy of the internal audit revenue manual and make sure that they are following the rules that they’re supposed to follow right so it’s it’s fun stuff you’d be it is amazing what you learn about and i’m sure you know this right but it’s it’s amazing what you learn about uh uh what people do and they’re making a lot of money doing it right so it’s like holy moly you do what yeah okay fine i need to be doing that yeah yes uh the other side too and i’m sure equally you hear that you see this all the time too is we also understand we get to see the inside scoop on right that that you know all business owners are generally the same in terms of right they’re small business owners i mean they’re they’re doing you know the best they can but there’s a lot of things that they don’t know right and and that’s why they use somebody like you to help them figure that out so that they don’t have to be burdened by it absolutely right well and the thing that i’ve learned about that over time is you know generally everybody’s smart you know you can figure things out but in the end especially in our profession you just don’t want to have to go wade through all those things and try to keep up with it right because i’ve had a lot of people tell me hey i read the manual and this is what it says and i’m like well that might be what it says but that’s not how it gets applied

well that’s only half the story right so you know i’ve got a i’ve got a few battle scars to get my way through whatever those uh situations are right so yeah so larry share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it when maybe you didn’t think that you could and the impact that person had on you you know i was very fortunate right my stepfather owned a cpa firm in terre haute and right before i got out of college he sold it and so here he is he said he ran a firm for you know 20 plus years and i was looking for something to do and he’s like come on we’ll go we’ll go open up a practice and you know so that’s your first job right and so you you get all this knowledge and all this background information that a lot of people wouldn’t have yeah and you know when i decided to jump he’s like go for it you know i’ll help you we’ll you know tell you things tell you where to go find things with that a lot of people starting out wouldn’t have that advantage and it really really put me on solid footing on a technical basis and then and then after that scenarios just keep popping up you find a new client new new set of facts new set of tax code right and so uh i was very very lucky and it’s worked out very well and because one of the one of the coolest most amazing thing is after sitting here for 25 years is people still walk through my front door and talk to me about a tax issue that i’ve never heard of before so then you’re like all right i’ll go figure it out right you’re gonna pull the code out you read it there you go yeah there’s a lot of pieces of that code i don’t know anything about and what’s your father-in-law’s name uh geralt awesome uh what’s your biggest learning as a business owner over the last number of years oh my gosh man i mean that’s such a hard question i guess the real issue is is that overall it’s specific to my business uh only is i started by myself now there’s a lot of us you’ve had to reinvent yourself because you’re constantly learning a new job so you grow you hire somebody you give away part of your job now you got to go figure out what your new job is and that is that’s been hard for me that’s been a real struggle and you know i’m i’m okay at technology everybody else in my office is generally a lot better than i am mostly because they’ll put the time in to figure it out and i just talk on the phone all day right so you know but that’s been you know that’s been a tough thing because i always have to figure out my new job and then you got to go figure out how to do that job and so along the way you’re going to stumble and make mistakes and make good decisions and all those things but you just it’s like anything being an entrepreneur you just have to get up and keep going right don’t get stuck as i say i like that get up and keep going because inevitably and we talked about this already a little bit earlier is we’re going to make mistakes right we’re going to make our mistakes and so it’s a matter of realizing that that’s just part of the game right the most important thing on that and i’m a firm believer in this is that making mistakes is just part of it and if you think that making the mistake is like oh my gosh i made a mistake i’m a failure no failing is part of succeeding and when you change your mindset think about it that way all of a sudden doors open up that you didn’t see before and you look at things in different ways and really what happens is you end up making better decisions and therefore you become more successful yes yeah you mentioned mindset it’s you know about 90 of whether we’re gonna be successful or not is all the the stories we tell in our head right whether we oh yeah believe we are and whether we’re willing to persevere and try again and ready to get up and keep going and yeah you know what’s funny about that is and you know you know tony and tony sent out some thing one time and he had some guy who’s over there just talking about he’s the coach and he kept saying i’m a champion i’m a champion i’m a champion you know like i’ve borrowed that and i tell my girls right go look in the mirror every day and tell yourself you’re a champion and your day will go better yeah

in fact there’s been multiple studies that says that the way that you spend the first 59 minutes of your day is going to dictate how your day goes i would totally agree with that so if you get up and you do your your prayer or meditation or exercise right and get your mind ready it’s just like playing sports right you do the pre-game every morning before you go out into the office and you’re going to crush it absolutely right and it’s it’s so important you can tell hey i had a great day today it started like you said in the first five minutes of the day right if you kick the bed when you get out of bed it might wobble or go the wrong way right yeah yeah part of that is when you do to kick the bed you’re like hey i got to figure out how to not let this ruin my day yeah yeah yes so for everyone listening the thing you shouldn’t do when you roll out of bed is check your email and see all the problems that you’re facing right when you get absolutely i totally agree with that i do not do that right i am not one of those guys so larry we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of your biggest challenges and a fellow business owner that came alongside you and helped you get through that you know there’s so many of them right i mean i’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of really good people that come to me you know i guess really if you back up for a second my biggest challenge on that topic is i’m the advisor everybody comes to me and says hey this is my problem these are my facts what do i do about it right i haven’t been as good about having that person for me right so more than one time i have found myself looking at the mirror thinking about whatever my problem is thinking what in the hell did i tell somebody else that had this problem

sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t work out right yeah but you know you just you got to go out and you got to talk to your clients and you see what they’re doing see what they’re living through they all come up with good ideas yeah right the best one was was a tax related issue and he’s like you know he had a really really good year he owed a ton of tax and he’s like look i got to keep what was left i need to make more money right and i’m like wow everybody wants to pay no tax and you’re over there telling me you want to pay a lot more taxes you get to keep what’s left that is a different a definitely different mindset and then i’ve learned to think it is the correct mindset right so yes it’s i’ve been lucky that way it’s kind of it’s the difference between in what we would say owning a job versus owning a business right if you own a business you want to have profit because you need to you know you may need to get a loan right you may need to invest in future growth if if you just own yourself a job then you don’t want to pay any taxes because you want to you know you want to keep it all that’s correct right and and one of the things too it’s specific to my trade as well is which tax do you want to pay because you’re going to pay one right so now we can start influencing hey i want to pay that one i don’t want to pay that one over there yes and all of a sudden you can be successful in how you become an advisor in my specific profession yes and that’s why we go to people like you instead of trying to figure out on our own because you’ve done it 100 times a day so you already you already you’re quicker to get the answer than us trying to you know read that stupid manual and numbers ourselves right well we have we have debates inside of our office like okay hey we all read whatever that section is what does it say because we all come up with different answers we kind of generally fishing in the same pond but you know it’s like okay what does that really say i’m not so sure sometimes right so larry if i ask you to pick three people um in your business owner journey that you’re most grateful for being there for you to help with your business growth who are those three people and how they help you yeah for sure the first one is gerald right he set me on the right path he uh he was a very very good mentor right and mentors are very important in terms of just life in general and if you want to go be a business person you know because you have to learn how to make decisions with incomplete information and recover through making bad ones right so he was very good at helping me do that you know of course my mom and my brother were very supportive because starting a accounting firm working out of your house is kind of a large uh endeavor right and it’s a little bit uh a little bit out there as far as you know not a lot of entrepreneurs and my family right so i became one and then definitely my wife right because she supports me every day right she puts up with all my shenanigans especially on april the 16th when i’m like i’m so sick of this i’m gonna go find something new to do yeah and about july i’m like hey i’m gonna buy that practice over there right so you know it’s just it’s just all of one side and then yeah well let’s give a shout out to your wife what’s her name michelle yeah hi michelle yeah all right so um larry as you think about the next three to five years what are the biggest challenges you see that you’re gonna face to reach your goals and who are the types of people you’re going to need to overcome those and that is a great question right i mean right now i have the philosophy that says there’s more 70 year old accounting guys that want to get out of the business than there are 50 year old accounting guys that want to grow right i’m 55 and i’ve got an 11 year old a 13 year old my way maggie hi molly and maggie and you know they’re they’ve got a few years so i’m looking at saying hey i’m gonna go for it here for another 12 15 years yeah so you’re gonna have to figure out how to incorporate all the new technology and everybody’s having staffing constraints but you have to learn how to process and be efficient in whatever you’re doing in order to grow right that’s where i go back to the comment before about i keep reinventing my job right i mean 20 years ago the filing system was on my full floor there’s a bunch of pocket folders and now it’s all in the cloud right you have to go hunting something you have to log into some place to find it right so it’s really going to be about processes and systems and deciding what market you want to be in because you know it sounds like hey tax whatever but there’s so many subsets of all kinds of different things and you just have to be focused and get lucky and hire good people and have good people working with you and more importantly too have good clients right because if i got to beat you over the head every time it’s like hey this just isn’t a good fit man you know and you just need to go find somebody that matches your personality style better you know so that’d be that’d be my best guess and we’re over here we’re gonna go for it right so good for you i’m hungry my staff is hungry we’re gonna we’re gonna ramp it up that’s awesome i forgot to ask earlier do you focus uh more on personal or business or both you know you really do the primary probably is the business side you know but business owners they’ll have an s corporation for the business they’ll have an llc partnership for the building then they they have a 1040 and their kids have 1040s so ultimately you’re you’re doing the business guy stuff but we do i do just as many single 1040s that are just you know somebody has a job or they’ve got a couple of rental properties or whatever all that stuff is it’s a fair cross section i would say but it’s amazing how interconnected all the activities are sure in terms of just the different levels of service that they need they’re all very similar and once you get a lot of knowledge about it hey it’s easy to spread it out over a broader base sure yeah and the other thing that i would assume is that um like any outsourced activity because this is what you guys do you can do it so much faster and more efficiently and accurate than anyone could try to do it on their own right you would think so right i mean uh uh you know when somebody you know because i mean think this is a funny this is a funny right i own an accounting firm and i don’t know how to use quickbooks and all of our clients use quickbooks but what i do know that they don’t know is i know what debits and credits are and i know where they go sure so what happens is that they get their quickbook file all jacked up because they get their debits and credits backwards and then they really really need me and then i can become very uh very uh efficient at resolving those problems right yes and the other thing i would assume is that you’re able to or your team is able to get in there and fix it on a somewhat of a consistent basis whether that’s monthly or quarterly so that it’s not as big as a problem right for the business owner at the end of the year well there’s two things about that right one is you know if you if you take your rent as an example if you take your rent expense put it in the utility category it’s still an allowable expense because it was for business it’s just for management information purposes your your data is all jacked up right right and so what we’ve learned is you know my philosophy on this has evolved over the last 20 years right i used to be okay let’s do it quarterly we’ll stay current we’ll plan into the fourth quarter and now with quickbooks you know as when i started quickbooks was just starting and i was like oh my god they’re going to put me out of business and in reality nobody knows debits and credits so it’s been like one of the best things that’s ever happened and they’re much better at marketing than i’ll ever be right right but when you do your work and you should do it i i’m a the firm belief at this moment you do your accounting work every month we touch it we make sure it reconciles we make sure it ties out because then what really happens at that moment is you have live information that is accurate and then you can make better decisions and figure out how to minimize your tax right because normally what happens is most business owners use quickbooks they keep their books on the accrual basis but they file their taxes on the cash basis because i don’t want to pay tax on money they haven’t collected yet so then there’s a multiple step process to convert it from accrual to cash they don’t know how to do that but i do and so when we keep the books current you’re like hey it’s fourth quarter what do i need to do you give me a set of data i can start rattling off things due to minimize the tax liability or defer it or whatever we need to do and then you’re really effective at doing your job and your client gets the best bang for their buck right because i have to do that work whether i do it at 12 months in july of this year from last year yeah i’m doing it in the current year you get the live information i still have to go through and do all the work yes fair enough so um jim rohn one of my favorite authors says we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with so larry as you think about that and what advice do you have for business owners who are trying to do it on their own you know you can’t right you can’t do it on your own i mean you need you have to build yourself a network of advisors for yourself because like we were talking earlier i mean my challenge has been i’m the advisor and who do i go to right so over time you know there’s certain people that i know are good at what they do not necessarily business owners other things but they they give you perspectives and sometimes they lay the law down and say oh you know what you need to quit quit hedging and just go for it or don’t go for it whatever it is right but they’re gonna push you around and get you out of your comfort zone because the thing that i found about being an advisor is the people that i’m talking to i get them out of their comfort zone yes and nobody that works for them will ever do that right so you have to go out and build a network of people that can help you learn how to grow right make the space you know that’s that’s what i use make the space yes yeah i love that there um there’s a saying that everything that that individually we want out of life and everything that we want in our business is on the other side of our comfort zone yeah i agree with that right i mean of all the times in my life when i had you know now i’m pretty uh methodical about going through the decision-making process evaluating all the stuff and i’m very accountant-like on that because yeah i’m an entrepreneur that happens to be a cpa not the other way around right so i’m pretty good i’ll lay it all out there but in the end you got to walk up to the edge jump yeah and that’s hard yes right that’s hard because everybody forgets the risk element of calibrating all their decision-making processes together and that’s where they don’t jump yes including me right i mean we all have our own things and to your point it’s it’s helpful to be able to bounce that off of other people and hear their perspective because then it’s like oh yeah you know what when i think about it that way kind of does make sense like why am i holding myself back yeah and other people have been successful in other endeavors right so they know what they did and how they work through things and if you’re stuck you know one of my biggest pet peeves is don’t get stuck right you have to be moving because that light that light that’s coming at you it’s a train right and so just don’t get stuck right just hurry up and make a new decision you won’t know if it’s a good decision or a bad decision until time passes but it is a self-proving process if you keep making decisions that don’t work but you keep making decisions eventually you’re going to get one that sticks right yeah and that’s the hard part because people keep thinking oh i made a bad decision i made so what yeah that decision is gone yeah right make a new one yes that’s how you become successful as far as i’m concerned yeah i’ve made thousands of horrible decisions but i made one better one i have one better one i’m going to keep doing that too yeah

our founder says that he he never fails he either learns or he succeeds so i like mindset that’s a great perspective right yeah same concept right i mean you just you can’t look at it as failing or breaking or whatever it’s just really about hey okay i took all the information i had i calibrated it i decided it worked it didn’t work yeah yeah it didn’t work it’s a learning curve right then just make a new one right that way you don’t get hit by the train yeah the one thing my coaches me all the time is she’ll challenge me so tim do you want to plan for success or plan for failure yeah right that’s it oh so doing nothing right doing nothing is planning for failure so make a decision and go yes we don’t know if it’s going to be exactly right but it’s better than just sitting there waiting for the business to fail or you know you think about that right so back to my log cabin story right because there’s a long story that goes into that but at some point in time somebody said to me why are you doing that right and i’m like well you know it’s actually like one of the hardest things i think i could take on that i might not actually succeed right so we’re really talking about getting me out of my comfort zone and trying really hard and seeing if you can make it work and now i’m on the other side of that and i go sit down in there look around like oh you know what this is like really awesome right it’s really cool so yeah you get a lot of satisfaction out of stretching yourself and getting out of your comfort zone right so yes and then each time we step out of our comfort zone then our comfort zone expands right oh for sure and we get more well you raise the bar then right you gotta i mean the one thing i’ve learned about goals in my whole life is you know you write them down you put them in your pocket you look at them every day they take five years to get to and all every time you got there and the thing that pisses you off the most is you just didn’t raise the bar high enough yeah you would have got there too right yeah so it’s like man you know yeah i i need another five years i share that with the new clients is that you know the the corporate world teaches us to under promise and over deliver right so that when we become business owners we do the same thing we’re conservative with our goals and and we never realize what we could have achieved because of that to your point right we we just didn’t set the bar high enough and and so we don’t know what’s possible well and it’s it’s a weird concept of doing that right because we’ve we’ve recently implemented a management team working our way through and we’re like okay hey we need to set some big goals like big stuff you know and they’re looking at me like i have three heads and i’m crazy i’m like if you don’t raise if you don’t set the limit you’re never gonna get there and if you don’t get there well then you just keep trying yeah right but you got to set that bar high right it’s got to be there i mean to me the goal has to be something that it’s realistic that you might fail yeah yeah right if if it doesn’t scare you it’s not a goal absolutely and and if you already know exactly how you’re going to achieve it it’s not about that’s not it ask right yeah that’s it you that’s why that’s where i go back to my log cabin story right because i mean it’s kind of crazy for an accountant who’s never built a house practically i haven’t cut very many trees down to go do that and now i have a super cool house right it’s a real log cabin so that was a good personal growth experience for me right that is awesome so larry last question here if there was something catastrophic that happened in the business who’s the first person you’d call and what would you want from them oh man that’s depends on what catastrophic definition you’re talking about right of course you got to call your lawyer and tell him because he might have to jump in and go fix something right right now on a business level if something happens we’ve got a management team i’m going to get a hold of all of them and say okay here’s where you’re at this is what we need to do and we need to get in there and go get it done right because right now it’s not about me anymore it’s about everybody else yeah fantastic awesome so um sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people in your business journey who have helped you with your growth if they were all here on the uh the call today what would you want to say to them ah thank you yeah appreciate it right very uh very grateful for all the inputs and putting up with all my shenanigans and my stumblings and my successes right because there’s been all those things all over the place right so just say thank you and you know tell them how grateful i am that they participated awesome uh larry it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today i appreciate the opportunity to have you on the show absolutely i appreciate being here to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to self-made as a myth show with your host coach tim camsell be sure to help us spread this movement by liking us and sharing us on social media and to join our movement go to be mad together dot com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and i’ll see you all next time take care thanks tim see ya