Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Saturday, November 23, 2013


It’s been awhile since I’ve wrote anything on my blog.  Last year my wife and I moved to Tennessee in a not-so-remote part of the country.  It was only a few miles outside the city limits of Oakland but one would think it was in an isolated part of the Amazon with the cell phone reception we got.  Not only that, no cable or internet was available either.  Apparently the Verizon dude hasn’t reached that area yet.

A few months later we moved into an apartment in a suburb right outside of Memphis.  We finally were back in the land of technology. J  However, in between that time I found myself busy with a new career…sort of. 

I actually started on the career path for accounting right out of high school.  It was the one thing I thought I was good at.  That was before Quickbooks and other accounting software became popular.  I was doing well in school but didn’t have the drive to continue.  So I ended up joining the Navy.

Somewhere around 15 years later I decided I would go back to school with encouragement from my wife.  A lot has changed since then, technology for example.  Though accounting is still basically the same with debits and credits, computers have changed the way information is kept and used.  And though I’m no expert, I think politics and taxes have changed the landscape as well.  Accounting seems to be a slightly different animal.

I’m not a big fan of college.  It has its place and I recognize that.  But I don’t think it’s for everyone.  I know society wants us to be well rounded and blah blah blah, but if Environmental Science or Calculus is not going to help me in my chosen career path then why bother?  And I know that I have not used any of that useless trivia since I was forced to take those courses.

Due to a lack of interest I pursued an associate’s degree.  That I figured was the path of least resistance.  That and I only had enough stamina to work and attend night classes for four years before I decided that pursuing a bachelor’s degree would be too much.

From blue collar work in factories I entered the white collar work of accounting. 

Well…actually no.  I ended up working in an office for nearly 4 ½ years entering commissions for insurance agents.  Not exactly the experience I was looking for but it paid the bills.

When my wife and I moved to Tennessee I thought this would be my chance to really get into accounting.  It took a couple months but I was eventually hired by an accounting firm as a bookkeeper.  Again, I had no real experience other than dabbling a little in Quickbooks entering receipts and payments.  Within the first 90 days of the job I wasn’t receiving any training but was given write ups to do for clients.  Write ups?  Ummm, not what I learned in college.

Maybe it was because it was tax season but for some reason no one was ever available to help me.  I was told I was hired because I had an associate’s degree.  I’m not sure, but in other professions it appears to me that often times the real world doesn’t quite match up to the education you get in college.  Along with that frustration and some personal issues that I was going through at the time I thought it was time for me to move on.  I didn’t have a good exit plan so as a result I one day looked up from my computer and said I quit.  I was actually packing up my things and walking out the door when my employer stopped me.

Though I liked accounting, I never really had an interest in taxes.  But lo and behold, as I was about to quit a job, my employer gave me an opportunity to train in tax preparation.  He directed me to Eva Rosenberg, aka TaxMama.  He signed me up to take one of her online courses that specifically trains one to become an Enrolled Agent.  Enrolled Agent? you ask.  I know, I had never heard of this before either.  Apparently the Internal Revenue Service has introduced a position that allows a person to represent taxpayers before the IRS that is not a CPA or attorney.

So for the past 6 months I have been learning, studying and taking tests to qualify for this new career.  As of last week I passed Part 3 of the Special Enrollment Exam the IRS requires and I now qualify for the title Enrolled Agent (EA for short).  However, I still must pass a background check before they’ll issue me an enrollment card, or Treasury card as it’s commonly referred to.

Before you think that I work for the IRS, I don’t.  I represent taxpayers.  My goal is to help people the way my employer does.  People get into financial trouble and often fall behind with their taxes.  That’s where tax resolution comes into play and where people often need the most help.  Hopefully that’s where God will use me to help others.

All that to say that I have been extremely busy and why I haven’t been writing on my blog.  Even now I’m not sure how often I’ll have time to write.  Though I think I prefer writing about Jesus, faith and Christianity over anything else, if I want to make a living I need to do something that will bring in a paycheck.  And I don’t write well enough that anyone will ever pay me for it.

I will say this…even though preparing taxes would not have been my first choice I believe I have been given a tremendous opportunity.  At one point I was going to quit my job but God gave me favor with my employer.  For reasons I can’t explain, my employer encouraged me and paved the way for this training.  Now I’ve succeeded in passing all the tests to qualify as an EA.  That too is quite a feat given the complexity of the tax laws and how difficult the tests were.  I am extremely grateful to God.  Not only was I undeserving but I was also defeated.  It really is like God to take the weak things of this world to confound the wise.