With Jason Blumer
The first episode of The Unique CPA in 2024, Episode 137, features Jason Blumer of Blumer CPAs, Thriveal, and Deeper Weekend. Jason started Thriveal to support accounting firm owners by building a community and resources for them to seek support. As he tells Randy, this led to Deeper Weekend, his exclusive annual conference for around a hundred accounting firm owners. The event fosters peer learning and relationships through workshops and socializing, with the fundamental idea behind it being that people have had successes and mistakes before you and there are always things to discover by building connections with them.
Today, our guest is Jason Blumer. Jason is partner with the CPA firm of Blumer CPAs—I think I got that right. He’ll correct me if I’m wrong.
Alright, so I got it right, we got confirmation. Jason is also the brains behind—and he’ll correct me if I’m wrong there, too—Thriveal.
Which is a community of professionals that we’ll expand on that as we go today. He is also the host of the Thrivecast Podcast, which before we started recording, I told him well, you’re the grandfather of accounting podcasts, because it’s been around since 2011. Now I’m not saying Jason is old, because we’ve already determined that I am older than Jason. But that podcast has been around for quite a long time. And you host, you have another Businessology podcast as well?
Yeah, that one’s been around about 10 years, or no, 11 years, I think. So yeah, a long time.
So you’ve been doing this awhile. Well, and in addition, he speaks, he writes, he entertains, he just about, you know, song and dance. He does a little bit of everything. Jason, welcome to The Unique CPA.
Cool! Well, Randy, I had to hit you up on email to see if I can be on your show. I had to first invite you to my show—you’ve been on my show, so I had to get on yours, too. So I really appreciate you having me, man.
Yeah, no, believe me, and I think I told you this when we recorded on yours, I think I started searching you out about five years ago. I was gonna say stalking, but I technically haven’t stalked you.
Okay, you haven’t been to my house?
I have not! I mean, not that you know, I mean.
Right. I don’t know.
So that one window you have down on the right hand corner there, where, you keep—oh no, wait.
I need to close that one?
You should keep that—the privacy is not the greatest. I have not been to your, as clarification, I have not been there. So I think we’re in store for a few laughs today, which will be fun.
Alright, so I did a quick intro there. Again, I actually did try to reach out to you about five years ago, because I saw what you’re doing with Thriveal and I was really interested to see what was going on there. And then when you reached out to me a few weeks, a month ago, I was so excited because it was like alright, now we can connect. I want to see what’s going on.
Before we talk about Thriveal, let’s talk about a little bit—why don’t you give us a little more background, but I specifically want to know more about your firm because your firm seems to be doing a lot of things that I love to talk about: niche, certain pricing policies, you know, I’m guessing you’ve got a work-life balance plan in place. So give us a little background on Blumer CPAs.
Yeah. Well, so Blumer CPAs, my dad started it in ’97. And he started it just as a small firm, and he wanted it to stay small, and then I came in in 2003 from another firm that I quit, because they you know, I called ‘em a bunch of old fogies, and I left, and I thought I can run a firm better than you old people. But I couldn’t. Turns out I was wrong. So in 2003, I started leaving the firm that my dad had started, and he’s long since retired. So I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve started companies that have failed, some companies too, in the past with other partners and, you know, gone into debt, done wrong things.
And so I kind of had a similar turn around in Blumer, too. And so my partner Julie came in about 10 years ago. And, you know, we had to turn it around. But, you know, we, at the same time, we were solidly, you know, leaning into a niche with digital agencies all over the U.S. And, you know, about 10 years ago, after reading Ron Baker’s book, I was hanging out with him and VeraSage probably 12 years ago.
Yeah, just went to some of his various, you know, VeraSage events, many, many years ago, and just, you know, came to believe that time billing was wrong. We just deleted our time and billing system, turned the keys into the landlord and you know, got rid of our lease 10 years ago, and just everybody went home.
And it didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, but we learned a lot and we’re solidly a virtual firm now, and you know, we’re hiring four people and you know, it’s people we may not meet until the next retreat. It’s just all cool stuff. Stuff that a lot of firm owners do now—they don’t even think about it. But it was stuff scared the crap out of me when I did it.
And t didn’t go well, because I didn’t know what I was doing. But now I know!
But you’re a pioneer, you led it. And now you educate on it, too! I’m assuming you’re talking about these kinds of things. And what, you have a handful of conferences. One, what was the one through Thriveal—Deeper Weekend or something?
Yeah, Deeper Weekend is our main conference—we do that the last week of October. And then we do a lot for our Thriveal members. So there’s a lot of things that happen privately, which, you know, there’s a number of communities around, a number of great communities, and privately, we’re in there teaching the members, coaching them, we’re going to community groups every month, we have events for them that they’ll fly in for. So there’s a lot of private-related things that my partner and I do for our members to support them, to help them entrepreneurally.
And you know, a lot of what we’re teaching them or telling them are the, you know, mistakes we’re making in our own firm and things we’re trying, and they just have questions. It’s like, well, what happened when you did that? And we’re like, here’s what we wish we would have known, you know? You’re just teaching out of your own experience. It’s kind of what we do now.
So you share in the knowledge, the good and the bad that you’ve learned, and let’s avoid the bad and you’re gonna do that.
Well, let’s dig deeper into the firm, because I do want to get into Thriveal. Because this is what originally intrigued me. But I want to dig deeper into the firm because you just said a lot of things there, like 12 years ago, you were already looking at new pricing policies, you know, through Ron Baker, which was huge. Literally, timesheets were gone 12 years ago, or when did you start that?
Yeah. Probably a decade ago, we deleted the time and billing system, probably.
And so I assume it’s evolved over time, or whatever you implemented 12 years ago, you’re still doing today?
Oh, no, no, yeah, we just, you know, it came out of a belief. It’s like, alright, tracking time is pretty foolish, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
And I didn’t know what to do after that. So I just deleted them and tried to figure it out. You know, and I don’t remember the journeys we went through. But eventually, we had to come to front pricing. There was no way to build a client, so you had to just agree up front, will you pay me this? And so through that came a lot of strategy. So that was the one thing we had to figure out is, well, how are we going to make money if we’re not tracking time? And that was the first hurdle. And I didn’t know to solve that—I just knew time tracking was going to lead us down a wrong road, and I didn’t want what the profession had been getting from that time tracking for so long. So I went ahead and got rid of that. And then that’s evolved, it’s evolved, you know, to be pretty sophisticated now in the firm.
Yeah. Do you call it three tier pricing? Because I know this, there was three different options when I looked at your website, or how do you define today’s pricing model you’re using?
Yeah, yeah, we’ve always done three options: we do a high, like, every dollar that comes in the firm has been sold through a high, middle, low option. So every single dollar. We can do projects, or we’ll do recurring, we do a lot of recurring work, obviously, as a firm, you know, high level, advisory recurring work. And so all of it, we pitch every bit of it to a client upfront, through value conversations, you know, and it takes about a month to start a new relationship with the client—month, month and a half. Sometimes it’s slower than we want it to be, so sometimes we’ll speed up the steps in our onboarding. But we always do a high, middle, low, because we’ve seen a lot of value in the power of anchoring at that high option.
And three options really pushes us into having to be creative, right? So if a client says, here’s what I need, we always give them three versions of what they need. And it puts us in a place to have to be creative, so we’re often selling things clients never asked to purchase from us, which we believe is a really strong part to being a strong pricer, and an innovator. You should always be selling things to clients they don’t know to ask you to purchase, basically.
We’re the leader, we’re the advisor. So we kind of tell them, here’s probably the way we need to serve you.
And I like the fact that you’re calling yourself the advisor rather than the reporter, because I think too many people still are in that reporter mode: “Let’s just report what happened financially tax-wise for the last year,” instead of “Let’s affect that bottom line.”
Yeah, we love to advise. And you know, the hard thing when you grow a firm will be about 15 this year—not a huge firm, you know. But when you have that many people you have to step into more of a leadership role. So you’re training technical people to be advisors, which is hard. It’s hard enough for you as the technical owner to become an advisor. It’s even harder to train and teach other people how to advise on a recurring basis. But we love that challenge, and it really forces us to invest in our team to help them learn how to advise and speak in meetings and things like that.
And the nice thing about advisory in general is I think it’s easier to show the value of what you’re bringing to them too. So I assume you find that as well.
Oh, totally. With advising, you do a lot of consulting and coaching. Those are just things you can sell, you know, in our world. And it really does—there’s a lot of power in it changing entrepreneurs’ lives. And that’s what we do, you know—one thing we did not long ago, well, yeah, about a decade ago, too, is we only serve entrepreneurs. So we’ll only contract in the name of a business. So we have some parameters. We’ll only sign a contract with a business, so we won’t work with individuals. They have to enter into a 12, you know, sometimes 12 to 16 month contract. So we ask for committed relationships up front, and then we have to draft our prices, so we never invoice clients, we take our money instead of request our money.
And it’s just taken years to get there, but those are just some of the barriers to entry, we say, for our clients. And we know not all clients want to work with us in that way. It just means they’re not a right client, and that’s not bad.
There’s another firm that can serve them. It’s just not how we’re going to do it. And it creates a lot more order in a firm, you know, a lot more predictable cash flow. And it’s just a more enjoyable way that we want to operate. So we do it.
Yeah. So far, everything you’re saying is like everything that I love about people when they build their businesses. And it doesn’t happen overnight. And for you, it didn’t happen overnight.
No, no, a lot of mistakes, man.
Yep. So let’s talk about the one thing that you talked about before with advisory, but also that you do have a niche: digital agencies. I don’t know if there’s multiple niches. Was this something intentionally that happened or it was just organic? “Hey, we just kept getting clients in this area?”
Yeah, you probably know this, as well as I do, Randy—a niche can find you a lot of times, if you serve a group of people, more will refer in the same kind of industry. And so you’ll end up having a lot of the similar niche. And that happened to us with creative digital agencies—we just aligned well with them. We’d like to serve them and the way they like to receive service, which is kind of what we call alignment. But at some point, if a niche is to be powerful, and you leverage it for, you know, expertise-type pricing, which is typically pricing, you know, three, four, and five times higher than what they’re paying somewhere else, if you want to get into that, a niche does have to be very intentional.
At some point, you gotta switch into intention, because growth in a firm is all about being intentional. And so you have to go, “Alright, we’re going to do that, we’re not going to do anything else, and we’re going to put it on our website, we’re going to go to creative conferences, we’re going to try to see if they’ll let us speak there”—you start to do things on purpose. And you know, we did that probably eight years ago, as we started getting a few clients, and they started referring more to us. We said, you know, we’re going in, we’re going all the way in. We did it. And there’s a lot of power in narrowing into a market to niche.
Oh, that’s why I am such a fan of that. Well, yeah, I mean, we’re a niche service, you know, through specialty. You service a niche industry, and then within there you even, I mean, you dig into a hey, you have to commit 12 to 16 months, hey, you have to be, we’re not taking individuals. So I love that.
I think people get afraid, ascared—ascared? That’s not a word.
They do get afraid.
They get ascared.
They do get ascared!
Because, man, “I’m going to turn down a client that wants to pay me X dollars, because they’re not in my niche? You know, I service digital agencies, but this Burger King needs help. And then why am I not gonna go help this Burger King?” Well, because one, it’s just not the expertise you have as a firm. When you’re niching, I assume that—I’m not going to put words in your mouth, but I will multiple times probably—I’ll try not to. But when you have this niche, I mean, and you alluded to it, you just become passionate about that. And hopefully it’s a niche you’re passionate about. But in addition, you just get so knowledgeable because you’re working with the same type of client, every client is unique, but you get this reputation as, hey, if you want somebody that’s going to be on your team, to help you grow, to help you be profitable, whatever it is, you gotta go to Jason, because he’s the guy that helps digital agencies, or Jason’s firm, which I assume you find that.
Oh, yeah, yeah. And so, you know, this long into podcasting, you know, we get a lot of referrals from our podcast. And even the market is somewhat educated on our firm. A lot of them know not to come to us—a lot of them are fearful of coming to us. They know they’ll have to pay higher prices. So there’s a niching and expertise-type representation of yourself to a market like through a podcast that really sets people up to know they’re going to have to pay you more. So they kind of come in the door with an understanding thing of having to pay you more.
But on the other side of that is they demand pretty high service too. Which we want—our firm, you know, our team, wants that responsibility. But those are things we don’t we didn’t realize early on when we started niching and thinking, you know, we’re awesome. And clients come in, and they’re like, “Well, if you’re so awesome, you’re going to be three times better than the last firm.” And it’s like, okay, so we had to learn how to do that, not just ask for more money—we had to be really better at our service.
So there’s a lot of internal project management, service-related principles we talk about, boot camps we run our team through, you know, three to six month training programs for new team members. You have to really level up your team if you’re going to represent yourself as a niche provider and an expert. Those go hand in hand, and that’s probably stuff we didn’t realize. We just niched, started charging more, and the market starts to demand more from you, which they should if they’re paying more, and it all makes you better. It does make you a better firm when the market’s requiring more from you. So it’s awesome.
Yep. And when you’re concentrating on one area, you can dig so deep, whether it’s, you know, there’s probably specific tax laws, they’re gonna affect your industry more than others. And now you know them and you’re the expert. Yeah, I’m a big fan of that.
So, and you mentioned that your fees can be maybe three times, four times higher than others, that your clients demand more for these fees, too. But they also know you’re the expert. Have you found overall by becoming this niche, higher value service, being able to bill more—has that reduced the time? Do you have a better overall firm work life balance because of that?
Yeah, you can define a lot of that. It’s, you know, for the firm owners—firm owners work pretty hard. If you’re an entrepreneur, you gotta work pretty hard. I think a lot of the work life balance, the things we talk about is really doing that better for your team.
And that is true. So when you have a really well intentioned firm, you can really define and package your role to be a 40-to-45 hour a week role very easily. You don’t, like, you can say to a team member, “Hey, this is going to be a 40 hour week job,” and it doesn’t surprise them and become a 60 hour a week job, because you’ve planned it out, you know exactly what kind of firm you have, what the role does in that firm.
Now, I work more than 40 hours a week, and I would imagine most any entrepreneur that runs—now, of course, I run two full time businesses, so. Thriveal is a full time business, I’m the CEO there, and Blumer is a full time business, I’m the CEO there, so I don’t work 40 hours a week. But I know what it takes, and I love it. This is kind of my mission, and this is what I do. Our team did not sign up for that. They signed up for 40-to-45 hour week jobs, and that’s what they have. So it’s all really ordered.
I used to run in a very chaotic way because I was just a very distracted entrepreneur, lack of focus, you know. And a lot of people who follow us know how committed we are to calendar work blocking, and how deep that methodology is that we teach our Thriveal members.
Really! I didn’t know you went over this too. This is something I talk about in a lot of my presentations as well.
Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
I’m no expert, I just talk based on what I’ve learned from other people, so I’m gonna learn more from you today on this, and we’ll expand that into my presentations.
So now I want to expand, or I want to transition into Thriveal. Because we just talked about what you’ve done, how you built this business, how you trial and error learned things along the way and over time, become this niche, become this three tiered pricing, become this, people know they’re not going to come in and work 80 hours a week when they’re coming in with you. And so now I assume this knowledge that you’ve gained is one of the reasons that Thriveal came about, because you think, aha, we can do this, now let’s go share this with others?
Well… not exactly.
I wish I was more intentional. I wish I had a story. The story was, really, I was probably on Twitter, let’s see, 2008 probably and started meeting a couple of—
Wait. It existed back then?!
Yeah, I think it did! So yeah, I was meeting people that were doing different—there were like three or four CPAs, you know, a handful of CPAs. That’s how Jody Padar and I met, just, we’ve been friends for good Lord, for so many years. We met on Twitter, we started helping each other with our firms.
And we call each other, yeah.
“The Radical CPA,” right? So Jody, I think probably lives 10 minutes away from me—I’m in the Chicago suburbs—and we have never met.
She’s in the Chicago suburbs, man. And so we were doing this on social media, which was all really brand new. And then we started meeting other people, and then we’d go to conferences and groups would form of, you know, 10 to 12 people. And I’m like, you know, what we need a more formalized community together. And I launched a community—created a landing page, put a video out. And you know, the website broke, you know, so if people were coming to the thing, it like, shut down for some reason. I can’t remember all of that.
And just the community formed out of that, because I really wanted to be with people. I wanted to run a firm with other people running firms—that’s what I wanted. I didn’t know, I wasn’t trying to build a community. It was free! We weren’t charging anything.
Yeah, I mean, I didn’t know. And then we had to find a place to convene online. So I used LinkedIn groups for a while. Then we had to move to a more private platform. Then they started asking for coaching and education and programs, and I’m like, “Okay, let me go make something up and see if we can do this.” Listen, I didn’t play in any of that. So Thriveal is truly just formed out of its own. Now, it’s very intentional, it has programs, it has, you know, membership levels, I have a role. There’s a bunch of team that do things. And it, just like any entrepreneurial endeavor,, it forms over time, and you get better and you learn more about what people need? And our whole goal is to serve people—to take care of entrepreneurs that run firms. And that’s what we do. We take care of them.
So when you say firms, is it all accounting firms or like…?
Yeah, firms all over the U.S. and Canada, mostly the U.S. Basically, we’re a community for entrepreneurs that happen to run accounting firms.
That’s right. I have seen that.
Yeah. And so that’s what we do in our firm, too. Our firm, we serve entrepreneurs that run digital agencies. Because being an entrepreneur is not the easiest choice path people make in their life. And they figure that out, you know, three, five years in and they go, “Oh, this is hard.” It’s like, it is hard.
This is not one of the easy choices of life. So we’re part of the care and the support of the entrepreneurial community. We do it for agencies—we have events for agencies and things like that coaching programmes for our clients and Blumer. And we do a lot of the same things in Thriveal, too, because entrepreneurs need support. That’s what they need.
Yep. And so you are a true entrepreneur, because what you just said is that you saw a need, and you decided to do it.
Nothing wrong with not being an entrepreneur, right? That’s the only difference. Non-entrepreneurs in my mind, see the need, and figure someone else will fill it, or I don’t want to deal with it. The entrepreneur sees the need, and says, “Hey, let’s give this a try.”
That’s right. We like to say entrepreneurs, they exploit value.
Which sounds bad, but it’s not—they see value not being met, and they go exploit the fact that that’s not being created anywhere or filled. And they go, I’m gonna fill that spot, and they do it. And they realize it’s not easy to do that, and so I think entrepreneurs need support. I think they need to be with like minded people doing what they’re doing, because they, a lot of times, you can think I am crazy—I am out of my mind for doing this. What the hell am I doing, doing this every day? And so we have to remind them, that’s because you impact a lot of people’s lives. You change people’s lives, your clients, the people you’re with, your team. So it is extremely valuable. Of course, Randy, you and I know, the accounting profession, it is so valuable for our economy, it’s just the foundation. And the entrepreneurs who run those companies need a lot of our care and support and I love them. So I want to help them.
Man, you and I, we may be the same person I think.
But you’re older than me, Randy. Didn’t we determine that?
So as a backup, or as information, I called Jason old on his podcast, unintentionally.
On my own podcast, Randy. And we’re setting it straight on yours that you’re older than I am.
We found out today I’m at least eight years older than you, it sounds like.
That’s right. We’ll let people guess.
Yeah, I mean, looking, I figured you’re older, but—we can cut that out.
No, I’m wiser, right? You’re like, “You look wise.”
Yeah. Well, you probably are wiser than me.
Because you at least, with your firm, you figured it out, you know, quicker than I did. When I had my accounting firm, it took a long time to figure it out, and by the time I started to get the inkling of figuring it out, I merged my firm in with someone else and started Tri-Merit, which was niche, state and tax but niche and that was me figuring it out.
Well no, see, that’s you figuring it out. It’s brilliant. And what one thing entrepreneurs do is they’d compare a lot so they compare their firm or what they’re going through to other people, but they don’t have the full context of that comparison. So we always tell our Thriveal members: Do not compare. And we say we’re not a best practices community, meaning we don’t just tell them, “here’s how you run a firm.” No, we try to figure out what is right for you, what are your goals, you know, your firm’s not gonna look the same as somebody else’s. We’re trying to learn principles from each other—stop trying to make your firm what somebody else has built, or supposedly what you think they’ve built, because we see just the happy part of firm building on social media. We don’t see the dark periods and the down times, which I’ve had many, many, many down times. It’s a very difficult job to be an entrepreneur. So there are ups and downs.
Yeah. I’ve had plenty of those downs, too. I’ve started multiple businesses. But man, I’ve been riding a fun high for quite a few years now, and it’s been fun.
So the things you’ve just said, and I think you and I talked about this, we have a conference coming up this year, It’s Bridging the Gap. And then we define a few things: between generations, Bridging the Gap, you know, to good mental health, good physical health, Bridging the Gap to finding your success.
And that’s what you were just saying, Don’t compare!
You know, your success is completely different than someone else’s, and let’s define what you want out of your business. And, you know, do you want to work 20 hours a week and serve, you know, 10 clients? Do you want to work 80 hours a week—which I hope you don’t—and serve 100 clients, whatever it is. So I agree completely on that.
Well, and the reason we say that, especially for firms, firms are their service organizations. So service organizations, we say, are very intimate, right? So they’re built on relationships. So relationships with your partner, relationships with team, relationships with clients. Everything is built on a relationship. So a firm is a very, it is a real depiction of a firm owner’s life. So what that firm owner believes, their mission, their core values, are going to be reflected in this kind of intimate organization. And that also means every firm will look different—none of them will be the same. They’ll all have different goals, they’ll want to grow faster or slower. Some need to be a lifestyle firm, some have a family need they’re trying to meet with their firm. Somebody else, they’re single, and they’re trying to blow their firm up, I mean, make it large.
It just, it’s such an intimate organization, you cannot compare it. So you’ve got to figure out what you’re trying to do with the conference, which is what is your success that you’re trying to create in your life. And that’s the thing people don’t know. They’re trying to build what they think somebody else thinks they should be building, and they don’t have the license and freedom to go stop building what somebody else has—be as small as you want, or be as big as you want. That’s your decision, and people aren’t going to agree with you, and that’s okay. We’re not here to agree with each other. We’re here to build what we’re supposed to be building in this world.
And you are going to be so much happier if you do it that way.
Rather than try to do somebody else’s firm. Let’s do your own firm.
That’s it. Yeah, totally, you’ll be much happier.
Well, the thing though, that scares people, and I kind of mentioned this before is that, hey, you’re starting a firm, and let’s say I want to just deal with digital agencies—man, it’s so hard to turn away somebody else that wants to come in. And so that is so scary for entrepreneurs, because I just need the revenue now. I don’t know if you talk about that in your Thriveal events?
Yeah, oh yeah. We have whole, you know, decks talking about the economics of niching, and, you know, how to do it. And, and we find niching is valuable after you’ve really, you got to set your firm up to kind of produce cash flow so that it can support you full on. So we find the first few years people are not niching and that’s okay. They’re trying to build a cash flow organization that supports their family, or supports whatever their goal is, and once they get that figured out, then they can take the risk to niche because niching is a risk, right? It’s taking the risk to start saying no to revenue. And that’s because you believe the yes is bigger, that the yes I can say to better revenue is the risk I want to take. And you really have to have an expert positioning to be able to pull that yes off. So the no is a risk, and you just want to make sure your your firm is cash flowing that lets you risk that.
And I made all the mistakes, wrong. I did it all wrong.
You did alright! So let’s dig deeper. Because you said the biggest of your conferences is this Deeper Weekend you do, so kind of give us just the stage of what this is, you know, from day one, that moment you arrive to the moment you leave, what’s in between?
Yeah. So it was built around our community. So it kind of started—this is our 12th year. So you know, probably about, you know, 70% of our community comes to this event. So it’s a really intimate event. And it’s the the thing about Deepa weekend is that it’s only for firm entrepreneurs. So we only invite firm owners, that’s a big deal. And so now you’re in this room with every single other person, and they own a firm. And that’s what we care about—community. Like minded community that teaches us. And so we cap it to, we want about 100 entrepreneurs coming, and that’s it. We don’t want this to be some, you know, 5,000 person conference—it’s always been small.
And so we do a little teaching, but everybody breaks out and they do a lot of work on their firm together, we’ll push them into groups. And then we have just, you know, dinners and parties every night. Not crazy parties—it’s parties for them to be together.
Just the conversation, you know, that’s what they say—that’s the best part of the conference they invest to come. And just seeing, just being in groups with other entrepreneurs that are also doing what they’re doing—they learn and grow so much together. So we create a lot of space to do that. A lot of great food—like Greenville, South Carolina is a beautiful downtown area, and so we take them to just amazing venues, they just feel, it’s just so enjoyable to go to these places. Great food, great drinks, and really, they enjoy each other. So that’s our goal with a little bit of education sprinkled in there, too.
Right. Education, but community is huge, relationship building, huge, knowledge sharing between attendees in my mind is huge.
That’s right, yeah.
And just building that community, but I’ve talked to so many people that talk about conferences they’ve gone to and how much that has meant to them personally and their business because of all the things they learned. I’m actually very fortunate to be a part of a group called The Accountants Cornerstone Foundation, which is a scholarship group. We give scholarships to individuals that can’t afford to attend a conference.
So their first conference, yeah, this is, we just started it up this year, but it’ll allow people that just don’t have the means, or they work for someone that maybe it’s not the entrepreneur themselves, but it’s somebody that’s got that mindset that wants to go to a conference, they want to learn more, they want to build these relationships, but they just aren’t able to do it financially.
So pretty exciting, because these things are so important. Thriveal, that’s such an important thing for entrepreneurs.
And your conference, yeah.
We’re hoping it is—that’s our goal of it, to create a community of people that can help each other. I don’t know if I fit the requirement or not, but at some point in time, I would love to come to you to Deeper Weekend.
Of course you do, yeah, you’re an entrepreneur, Randy—we invite entrepreneurs to our conference.
Yeah, but I don’t do anything anymore. I just do this. I just talk now, other people run the firm.
Yeah, you’ve been through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, so you know what it takes. So like, I would want somebody like you there, because I know somebody will run into you and talk to you. And I know what kind of person you are. And you’ll encourage that entrepreneur that came—their life will be changed, they’ll go build their firm better, because they came and ran into you. That’s the stuff we know happens.
We’re doing some of that. But we’re running the conference and teaching, and so they’re all caring for one another, and that’s the beautiful part. It’s the group that is there to serve.
That is awesome.
Yep, it is for sure. Alright. So before or I mean, a couple more things before we wrap up. This is a question that—I assume that you’ve listened to all the episodes of The Unique CPA.
So you know what’s coming—you probably don’t—but one question I always ask everybody, and I think it goes along with what we’re saying is that, you know, there’s more to life than your definition of your role and your business. There are the things you do outside of work. There’s the passions you have. So when you’re not being CEO of two different businesses, and running all these events, what’s your fun stuff? What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Yeah. I, you know, love to travel, love to be with my family. Music is a huge part of my life. So I’ve been in rock bands for, you know, growing up, I was in the studio, toured a little bit.
Yeah. And just, you know, particular parts of music are a big, emotional part of, you know, ways to support me during hard times. So music’s big. And I play guitar, I play bass, you know, those things are a huge part of my life. So that a huge part—huge, huge part. I’ll travel to rock concerts, you know, in Canada, just by myself.
To visit the bands that I love. It’s a big part what I love.
You’re not kidding. This is a huge part.
It is big, yeah.
Last question then. So if people want to find out more about you, about the firm, about Thriveal, about Deeper Weekend, where would they look?
Yeah, so if you want to find anything about being cared for as an accounting firm entrepreneur, you can go to Thriveal.com, T-H-R-I-V-E-A-L, the word “Thrive” with “A-L” on the end, dot com. Because the other URL was not available, you know, 15 years ago when I got it, ‘cause I would have dropped the A, but it was, so I had to get the one with E-A-L and everybody says “thriv-ee-al.” That’s not how you pronounce it. But anyway,
Well, I was even pronouncing it wrong. Because to me, it was “thrive-eal.”
Yeah! And everybody says, you know, but hey, I don’t blame ‘em. That’s how it’s spelt. Anyway, it’s Thriveal, the word “thrive,” “A-L,” dot com. And then a lot of people follow me on LinkedIn, you know, just hook up with me on LinkedIn, too.
And that’s one thing I wanted to talk about. So we’re gonna have to expand on that. How the heck do you get 600,000 connections on LinkedIn, you can’t even hit accept that many times! How does that happen?
Well, those are followers. So I have over 600,000 followers. So those are people who haven’t connected with me, but they follow my page. So you can come follow me, or connect with me. So my connections are probably, I don’t know, 6,000 people, maybe something like that?
Well, I just sent you a connection request today. So I’m like on pins and needles waiting for that acceptance.
Okay, we’ll see. We’ll see, Randy.
I might not make the cut? I didn’t see the “Follow Me” button. So I’ll go back and at least do the follow and then I’ll wait patiently.
Yeah, listen, I’ll let you follow for a little while. And then we’ll see if we can connect. Here, publicly I’m saying, I will accept your request, Randy.
This is good, because this has been five years in the making for this to happen for me.
Well, Jason, this has been a lot of fun. I appreciate you being on this show. And I’m hoping at some point this year, we’re going to cross paths somewhere and meet in person.
Yes. I can’t wait. So Randy, thanks for having me, man. I really appreciate all that you do for the profession. So thank you.
Well, right back at you. Like I said, You’ve been I think you’ve been doing more for the professional longer than I have. So I appreciate that.
Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
About the Guest
Jason Blumer, CPA, is the CEO of Blumer & Associates, a CPA firm working virtually, and focused on various verticals, such as design, web, marketing, and agency niches. Blumer & Associates facilitates business transformation in people’s firms, agencies, and companies through onsite consulting and business coaching.
Jason also runs Thriveal.com, a consultancy and membership organization created to educate and care for accounting firm entrepreneurs. Thriveal consults with accounting firms that are looking to grow, change, and build teams.
Jason founded and hosts two podcasts, which have both been on the air since 2011, the ThriveCast and the Businessology Show.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.