Knoxville, TN CPA and Accounting Firm

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The Most Wise Investment You Can Ever Make

All that we have done, are doing, or will do, is based upon 1 common element. PEOPLE!

Our business, your business, me, you, us, our team, all represent our "Internal people."

WE ARE our Human Resources. We are HUMAN CAPITAL to one another.

Those we serve – our clients, networking partners, government agencies, our community – they represent our "external people”: Our market, our partners in service, our friends, our family. All of these are also our HUMAN CAPITAL. Of course, external people are also made up of competitors; some people who may challenge our existence, or wish to harm us. So, just as there is risk in monetary investing, there is risk in "raising and utilizing" our Human Capital.

As people, we seek a good life which includes a higher quality of life, time to pursue personal interests, enough money to support our lives, education, children, house, and retirement. These desires represent our goals. If we are going to achieve our goals, we must employ our capital (internal and external people) wisely.

Many people accelerate the achievement of their goals by pursuing something called a CAREER. This is just another strategy for "investing" our time in pursuit of a secure, consistent, focused job that will give us a higher return (quality of life, money) on our investment (time, education). Or, put another way, by using a career model, we will submit ourselves to working more closely with people so that we can spend less time to achieve our return (quality of life, money). To reduce it to numbers, if you earn $50 on $1,000 in a year, you made a 5% return. But if you make the same $50 in just 6 months, you made a 10% return (a higher quality of life) more quickly. So in theory, developing a CAREER, allows us to work smarter not harder to achieve our goals (higher quality of life).

Make no mistake, we are all investors. But I believe the most wise investment we will ever make in our lives, is in the form of "Human Capital." We ALL already possess it! Our relationships of all kinds, but especially those relationships with whom we interact on a daily or very regular basis creates the greatest potential for investment. If we "invest" time and effort in working with the stock market, we have an expectation of making a "spot or long term profit." So what would we expect from the "investment" of our time and effort in one another? To profit through the additional development of greater levels of our "human capital." A reinvestment of profits if you will. I maintain that our future will profit to a level that far exceeds the profit (if a profit at all) in regular financial investing. I believe that if we invest our time in dealing with people, for people, both internally and externally, to enhance our careers, we will achieve our goals more quickly, and hopefully more easily.

Our investment in our Internal people takes the form of team building, training, RAFTS, processes, mentorship, management assistance, and leadership. By investing our time in people and in one another, we accelerate our careers and meeting our goals, and achieve a return in the form of a better quality of life. This is wise investing.

But what about the external people? Can we achieve our goals, have a career and truly improve our quality of life without the external people? NO! We must also invest in our external people (our market, our networking partners) to create a collaborative relationship that will produce the results (returns) leading to achievement of our goals by FIRST helping them achieve their goals. To focus one element of the point, in order to achieve a higher quality of life for ourselves, we must GIVE , or PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY for a higher quality of life to our clients, to those we serve. This is also wise investing.

How do we create these collaborative relationships? It is very simple. We give one another, and our clients and others, what they desire and need. We HELP them to achieve their goals. If the external people (clients, network partners, government agents) experience respect, and high level of service from us & our team (and hopefully we exceed expectations) then they will have a greater return on their investment of time and money spent with us. By assuring they receive a return on their investment, we will also receive the maximum return on our investment of our time, and our human capital.

Our goals of a higher quality of life, will be assured if we also assure they too will realize a higher quality of life.

Ultimately, what we must do, in the most simple form, is SERVICE to others. Serving (investing) in each other who are team members, in the external people (clients,network partners, family, the community), which grows our human capital across all areas of our life.

From my personal experience, this is greatest form of investment we can ever make. But the coolest part of it is....the return is not only today, tomorrow, and for our lifetime as we experience a "higher" quality of life...the return is eternal as you have effected lives, souls, and passed on the divine property known as GRACE. That my dear friends, takes the concept of "higher returns" to a whole different level.

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Jeff Lawhorn; CPA
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Snow Daze

Being from the valley we don't get much snow each year.  The East TN Valley that is...  So when we do get some snow, you know like a 1/4 of an inch, just enough to cover the roads everything shuts down.  School is out and getting out of the house in inconceivable ( think Princess Bride here).  We went to the store along with all the rest of Knoxville to get bread, eggs, milk, dog food, and maybe some vanilla flavoring should the snow be big enough and the consistency to make snow cream. Oh, and marshmallow fluff.  So there is absolutely no reason to venture out in any kind of motorized vehicle unless it is fun to ride in the snow...  For me that's a sled.

thinking fast  slowSledding, hot chocolate, chicken noodle and grilled cheese.  These are the cornerstones of a great snow day.  I am sure you noticed that the food is a 3/1 ratio to the action part of the day.  Just last week we got our biggest snow in quite awhile.  I was supposed to fly out of town to our office in Jackson, WY and as fate would have it I was attacked by my wife's SUV in the head and had to go to the emergency room to gorilla glue my head back together.  That was the day the snow started.  As a matter of fact by the time we left the ER the roads were already covered.

So me and mmy head injury made our way to the downstairs couch to relax.  We decided that sledding wouldn't be in my best interest given the circumstances.  With nothing to do but me, my mind began to clear itself.  Not like dripping brains on the floor, just a general easing of having to be responsible for anything at that moment.

It's amazing what happens when the clutter falls away.  Your wife isn't just beautiful anymore.  She's Mrs. Universe.  The kids aren't annoying.  They are fun.  The dogs are as good a cuddle buddy as anything and everything you thought was going right at work could use some thinking.  Some thinking about your thinking as Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach likes to put it.

Because all that thinking you normally do at 110 mph isn't as....what's the word...economically effical... As when you are going at 60mph... Ok you got me I was going a lot slower than that.. The point is: Snow Daze is an opportunity to fine tune some ideas you've been ignoring under the hood lately.  Little noises that could use some fine tuning.

So the next time you get hit with a winter blast, grab some paper and some crayons and get to thinking on your thinking and don't forget the hot chocolate, chicken noodle and grilled cheese.

I hopefully headed into more snow now..

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Jason Lawhorn; CPA,CITP,CVA,MAcc
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On Your Game

I feel certain that most of the world with a writing apparatus is writing about the horribly disappointing Super Bowl game.  I'm not generally a big sports fan.  I don't keep stats or play on fantasy leagues.  But I do come from a college town: Knoxville - home of the Tennessee Volunteers; and most of Knoxville loves to follow Peyton Manning.  I am no exception.  When he is on his game, whether you love or hate him, he is unstoppable.  There is no denying it.  Last night he and most of his team were not on their game, or they were thrown off their game, or, even worse, they threw themselves off of their own game.

I'm going to take the middle-of-the-road approach here and say it was a combination of all three.  What was interesting to watch, as long as I could bear to watch, was just how quickly the morale and energy left the Broncos.  They were so low even Life Alert couldn't pick them up.

So, of course, I immediately start thinking about the office, our T.E.A.M., and our client relationships.  So much so, that I literally couldn't sleep that night.  Which if you know me, you know that sleeplessness is one of my trademarks.  But Sunday night I needed my sleep because I am catching a plane early this morning.  I was annoyed to be awake, to say the least, and there was no way I could have even one more drop of bourbon.  

I am sick with acronymitis.  It isn't widely known and it can be contagious so watch out!  Timely Executed Accountably Managed (TEAM). This is how I imagine our TEAM at Lawhorn in action on game day.  For us that is Monday – Friday, 8am till 5pm, unless you’re talking about me.  I'm more of a 10am till 2am kind of guy with plenty of breaks, bourbon, and exercise in there somewhere.  Regardless, we must function as a TEAM every day and realize results for each other and for our biggest fans, our client/customer relationships.  The way we describe how our TEAM is on its game is to be a ......H.E.R.O. to each other and to our clients. (I told you, I have it bad!)

  • H - Helpful and Happy to Help
  • E- Engaged (you must be connected, if not present, to win…either in person or in the cloud)
  • R- Responsive and Respectful
  • O- Organized and Optimistic

teamherosAnyone can be a HERO at any time.  And focusing on being that HERO for your customers and your TEAM will give you a greater chance of being on your game no matter what you do in life/work.  Peyton and his TEAM had an extraordinarily bad day.  It happens to the best of us and, because we are professionals at what we do, we will pick ourselves up off the field, dust each other off, and move forward to the next challenge.  All while learning a valuable lesson from our defeat.

Whew, that was almost too deep for me... landing gear down.

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Jason Lawhorn; CPA,CITP,CVA,MAcc
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Customer Appreciation Day 2014

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Lawhorn Customer Appreciation Day

Read more about Lawhorn CPA Group's "Tax Day Sweepstakes"
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Inclusion by Default

As I mentioned the last time I wrote, I recently attended the Winning is Everything conference in Las Vegas.  Another theme that came out of this conference, which was a very strong undertone, was to push a culture of inclusion as an important firm initiative for the coming year.  I want to clarify what is meant by a "culture of inclusion."  This means that we should be focusing on the inclusion of women and minorities while recognizing the uniqueness of each individual within the organization.  The message itself was a little too strong and a little too over the top in my opinion.  And if you ask Jeff Lawhorn, he will really give you an earful about just how over the top it was.  He was fighting mad, to say the least.vegas-marketing-speaker-2

So what's the big deal?  Why such a big push on this topic?  Are firms so gender- and race-biased?  That certainly isn't happening at our firm.  The majority of our firm is now made up of women professionals, para-professionals, and administrators.  A third of our partner group is women.  Our partner, Jennifer Chan, immigrated to the U.S. from China, became a U.S. Citizen, got her accounting and masters degrees, sat for and passed the CPA exam, and she has worked herself into the ranks of being a partner over the past 10 years.

The thing is, I don't think it is a big deal.  I wasn't sure why Jeff was so miffed at first, until I thought about what he said.  And while I'm not miffed, I do believe that he had a basis for being a bit bent out of shape.  He's not upset at the idea or practice of inclusion and what it can do for an organization.  He is upset with acting on the idea (or being pushed to act) because it is the politically correct thing to do.  He believes it should be a natural progression of the team.  I agree.   You cannot deny that our profession is coming close to being dominated by women, and we are getting closer every day to the same being true of minorities.  It is something I am truly excited about.  And when we are deciding things about pay and promotion of any individual we will be looking for answers 

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Jason Lawhorn; CPA,CITP,CVA,MAcc
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