Accountants & Bookkeepers Giving Back to the Community

Giving back to the community is something Hector Garcia takes very seriously. Hector, a user of Intuit® Tax Online and an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor®, owns his own firm in Miami. He regularly presents live and online education in QuickBooks®, QuickBooks Online and several other areas, and co-hosts the very popular QB PowerHour with Michelle Long.

Here is what Hector had to say about charity, volunteerism and the spirit of “giving back.”

Intuit: What kinds of community service/volunteer work do you do? Get specific on the various activities?

Hector: Right now I’m focusing on giving a Small Business Workshop at Florida International University’s Law School. This is a nonprofit center dedicated to helping low income entrepreneurs get their legal, accounting and business advice from faculty, students and alumni.  We do things like help them prepare business plans, complete grants requests and organize their books, and typically get people with some crazy ideas about how to get rich based on urban myths or just the misinformation of the media.  We also get people with really good fundamental ideas to provide value-added good to society through their businesses, but lack the simple expertise requires to set up their corporate entity, file their tax return or even hire their first employee.

Intuit: How do you believe philanthropic work benefits an accountant and his or her practice? How does it make them better at what they do?

Hector: Philanthropic work, and specifically probono work, helps the accountant get perspective about the true needs of people that cannot afford our services, and gives them tons of perspective on how valuable the work is.  It also deepens the accountant’s connection with how valuable the work is to the overall economy. You may not get paid with the desired currency at the moment, but there is a hidden goodwill you will build through time that somehow comes back to benefit yourself as a professional or your practice. I actually met an IRS agent that came to give a seminar on self-employment; then, a few years later, he was the assigned revenue officer to one of my client’s audit … without getting into too much detail, that audit went VERY smoothly.

Intuit: Why is it important to give back to the community?

Hector: It is important to give back to the community because we are part of an ecosystem. It cannot just be all about the billable hours and what our clients’ are willing pay; we should be looking at putting ours skills to work for some important causes. In my specific case, when I help a “less privileged” entrepreneur get his or her head wrapped around the reality of their business idea, it could mean that I prevented them from losing their investment or give them in the right direction to become successful.

Intuit: What is your advice to an accountant who says, “I don’t have enough time to volunteer.”

Hector: I honestly don’t ever have time to volunteer, but I try to dedicate at least a few hours a month to any noble cause where my very specific skills are the most valuable. Although giving back should never be about getting something in return, I usually do … I have found clients that are friends or friends of the people that I have helped; and also built some great partnerships with other “philanthropists” I stumble upon helping the same people I was helping.