Part 1 of My Conversation with Vera Fischer and the System Execution Podcast

the execution podcast

Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to using processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fischer your host. All businesses, no matter the size, relies on systems. Some of these are physical systems such as a factory. Some are technological like project management software, while others are psychological systems such as checklists and organizational charts.

Many of these systems are going to overlap in your business. Today’s guest, I’m so excited, is Craig Cody and he is a former New York City police officer with 17 years on the force. After he retired from the force, he made the logical next step and turned into a Certified Tax Coach and Certified Public Accountant. Craig is also the founder of his growing CPA firm Craig Cody CPA.

Craig belongs to a select group of tax practitioners throughout the country who undergo extensive training and continuing education on various tax planning systems, techniques and strategies to become, well really remain, certified. With this organization, Craig has been able to co-author an Amazon best seller book “Secrets of a Tax Free Life”. Welcome to System Execution Craig.

Craig Cody: Vera, thank you very much for having me, so excited.

Vera Fischer: Well Craig I am really excited to hear about your experience regarding this tax planning system, but before we get started please tell us how you made the logical jump from police officer to CPA.

Craig Cody: It was interesting you know being part of a very big organization. I think at the time I was part of it there was about 35,000 police officers which is a pretty big size. Now you’re part of a bureaucracy. I got to a point where I no longer wanted to belong to a bureaucracy and wanted to be able to have a little bit more independence. I was lucky. I had a great 17 years. I worked with a lot of great people and did a lot of great things but it was time to move on.

One of my loves was accounting and taxes. Originally thought I was going to work in Wall Street and I just became more and more fascinated with taxes and made the leap and worked for an international company for a number of years and then branched out into my own firm.

I kind of like to tell people because I get asked how do you go from being a cop to being a CPA with a pocket protector. I said, “It’s more exciting to save someone $20,000, $30,000 a year than it is to chase a perp down the streets of Manhattan.”

Vera Fischer: Well I don’t know, some of our listeners may think that chasing somebody down the streets of Manhattan might be pretty exciting, but I’m going to take your word for it. So Craig, let’s get started on this tax planning system. I know that the goal of it is to help your clients save as much money as they can keeping it in their pocket.

Before we started the interview you had mentioned that there’s a lot of systems that are involved in this tax planning process. Why don’t you just start as you would be talking with a client and kind of walk us through that particular system of how you get to saving them so much money.

Craig Cody: Okay, you know the first thing we do and typically we’re dealing with business owners or real estate professionals, people that have real estate because if somebody is just a W-2 employee there’s really not a whole lot we can do for them.

So we’ll be approached by a business owner. Maybe they had a bad year the following year, or the preceding year where they paid a lot or what they thought was a lot in taxes. They went to their accountant or CPA who is typically very good. They put the right numbers in the right boxes, but they’re used to being compliance minded and not being proactive.

They’ll come to us and they’ll say, “I think maybe my accountant isn’t doing everything he can be doing.” We’ll say, “Okay, let us look at your tax returns.” We’ll review their prior year tax returns, the business and personal and we have a system to go through where we look for missed opportunities and mistakes.

More often than not we’ll find a number of missed opportunities. On some occasions we will find a mistake and sometimes we’ll find a better way to do something. We’ll sit down and we’ll say okay we see, we found you; you know $50,000 in missed deductions. That’s going to save you in your tax bracket, you live in New York State, it’s going to save you $20,000. We’ll do a tax plan and help the client implement it and they get to actually keep more of what they make.

Vera Fischer: Craig, so the first thing I’m thinking is the legality of it and I certainly don’t want to offend, but I’d like to understand is it … How is there different ways to do it? I assumed that taxes were just straight forward.

Craig Cody: If you think about it, most people don’t work with their accountants throughout the year and when they do work with their accountants throughout the year, they’re not being very proactive. They’re being more reactive. The accountant is keeping the books. He’s putting the right numbers in the right boxes, but he’s not giving them ideas on what they’re legally allowed to do; the same thing that Donald Trump is allowed to do, the same thing that Warren Buffet is allowed to do and they have huge staffs to take care of that. Most people don’t have anyone doing that.

Then you have the people that really only deal and communicate with their accountant during tax season where the accountant is obviously typically very overburdened and he doesn’t have the time to think and it’s typically too late anyway, of additional strategies you can be using to save yourself taxes.

When we actually do a plan, we actually put together a book, and everything in that plan has the code section and little notes about things you need to make sure that you do correctly, so it is perfectly legal.

Vera Fischer: Craig is this a software thing that you put someone’s tax return through, or is this eyeballs on the tax return?

Craig Cody: It’s eyeballs on the tax return and we have a system that we go through to check for a number of … After doing this for awhile, we know that there are certain things that most people miss and we go through this checklist and we see which of those opportunities they missed. Then we think about it in a broader view what they’re doing, what they’re trying to do, and what maybe tweaks and changes they can make to accomplish them in a more tax efficient manner.

Vera Fischer: Is this system something that you learned through being a Certified Tax Coach, or is this something that you came up with through your experience?

Craig Cody: Oh it’s something that I learned from my experience, but I was able to systemize it being involved with Tax Coach and Certified Tax Coach yes. They helped really put the system together for people like me that think of things from a planning perspective versus a reactive perspective.

Get your copy of my book the 10 Biggest Tax Mistakes That Cost Business Owners Thousands  HERE!

Listen to the full podcast episode here.