Cary CPA firm Smith & Smith was founded in 1995 by Bob Smith, and for a time, it was a one-man shop.
That’s certainly changed over the past 20 years as the firm has grown to add nearly every family member.
Smith & Smith handles small business accounting and payroll as well as personal and corporate tax returns. There are three CPAs and one accountant on staff.
“He had a vision of having his sons come into business with him,” said Becca Smith, Bob’s daughter-in-law and the director of marketing. “When I started dating his son, Blake, Bob offered me a job. I was his first full-time employee.”
Blake joined the family business in 2005, after graduating from East Carolina University.
“I like to say I hired Blake,” Becca jokes. “I like to say they all work for me.”
The youngest Smith son, Cam, came on board two years later.
“It was kind of a plan,” Becca said. “There were four of us. But when we were ready to hire again, we had run out of sons to hire. Bob came to work one day and said he had the perfect employee. He said ‘How about Mom?’”
Sharon Smith was a longtime English teacher at Cary High School, but couldn’t pass up the chance to work alongside her sons. She does data entry and takes care of the group.
“We like having her here because she buys the snacks and groceries,” Becca said.
In 2012, the Smiths brought in CPA Alicia Angell as their first non-family hire.
“It was a change for us to hire somebody outside of the family, but she knows all the family jokes now,” Becca said. “It was an adjustment in the beginning, but she’s a great fit. If we could, we would clone her.”
The Smiths don’t limit their time together to office hours. They live in the same neighborhood and have dinner together once a week. They even vacation together, leaving Angell to man the office for a week while they are at the beach.
“It works for us,” Becca said. “I know it doesn’t work for every family.
“It’s been an humbling experience to have such a great relationship with them and also be able to work with them and see them every day. We don’t have written rules. We just treat each other with respect. Before my mother-in-law leaves every day, she stops by every office to say goodbye and to tell them she loves them.”
Community service is an integral part of the firm as is the relationship with clients.
“We have a marketing blog unique to our firm that we use to promote our clients and send out tax information,” Becca said. “It’s important to us to see our clients grow because as they grow, we’re going to grow.”
There are untold advantages to having a family business, she said, including flexibility and understanding concerning schedules. The most challenging time of the year is tax season, when it’s common for the Smiths to put in 17- and 18-hour days. “Because it’s family, we can bring our kids in to have dinner with Dad. That’s a hard time of year and tensions can run high, but we know we’re all in it together.
“We take pride in being a true family practice,” Becca said. “We’re kind of expanding now, and we’re probably going to hire by the end of the year, so we’ve been looking through the family tree.”
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About Smith & Smith CPA
Location: 1150 Executive Circle, Suite 5, Cary
Contact: 919-380-0600, email@example.com, www.smithandsmithcpa.com
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday; extended hours during tax season