September 15, 2021
Remember when our worlds existed without technology in the palms of our hands?
When I started preparing taxes 43 years ago, we took pencil to paper and did everything by hand. When the numbers on a form changed, you had to erase (not CTRL + Z) and start over. It wasn’t until the late 80’s when we got our first desktop computer.
I was working for Paul Dargis at the time. While the technology made quite the difference, it goes without saying there was a significant learning curve. Now, we don’t think about backing up our data, but then, not doing so was one of the biggest mistakes you could make. I assure you that you only made the mistake once because something was bound to happen, like losing power, and you’d have to start over from scratch. Suffice it to say, you would back-up excessively to avoid the extra work.
With all of the new technology, access to software has become instantaneous and has allowed me to serve 900 clients. They all have varying degrees of expertise so they are challenging in their own ways. Some of the more sophisticated can be rigorous while the novices understand the basics. Regardless of the competence level, I pride myself in trying to teach something to all of my clients so they are more informed. Communication with clients and recognizing their needs is crucial. I believe that is what has afforded me to develop and maintain the wonderful relationships I’ve built throughout my career.
I consider myself a regular guy who's been inspired by some remarkable people. When Paul Dargis took me under his wing when I was just a 21 year old kid fresh out of college, I was motivated to make him proud and learn as much as I could from him. I worked for him for 10 years before becoming a partner in the business for 10 years. When I went out on my own 23 years ago, I became good friends with a local attorney, Bill Kany, when I joined Rotary. We’d often make referrals to one another, and I always looked up to him because of his knowledge, good-nature and work ethic.
This spring will be my 44th year preparing taxes. Don’t do the math, I’m not getting any younger. As I watched my boys JJ and Bobby grow up, I consider myself fortunate to have had a career where I could be involved in their sports seasons. You never know what your kids are going to do when they “grow up”, but I could not be more proud that both boys are UMaine Orono graduates and are CPA’s at Baker, Newman and Noyes.
Starting my own business, I didn’t think my sons would come into it someday. If the boys thought it made sense for them, it would be nice to carry on the name, and maybe my clients would allow me to retire. I’m not sure what will happen, but should the opportunity arise that they take over, it would be as good as it gets.
- Bob Begin, Begin & Associates, PA