Interview: After serving in the military for years, the army veteran returned home with a burning desire to make a difference in the world. She started her own business, putting her leadership skills and determination to work. Despite facing challenges and setbacks along the way, she persisted, always remembering the discipline and perseverance she learned during her time in the service.
Unstoppable Force: Chrystine Lorraine an Army Veteran Turn Entrepreneur
Today, her company is thriving and she’s proud to have built something that not only supports her family but also provides jobs and opportunities for others. She’s living proof that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
We have interacted with Chrystine Lorraine to learn more about her newly launched startup namely called ezvaluetax. Let you read the conversation below:
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Exclusive Interview with Christine Lorraine an Army Veteran Turn Entrepreneur
Hello Chrystine Lorraine, we are very grateful to introduce you to our exclusive interview series for BgsRaw website. I hope you’ll enjoy answering our ques:
Q. Before starting let us about your background and journey.
I am a retired army veteran with a distinguished career in the military and a successful transition to the business world. After serving in the US Army, I continued my education and eventually earned an MBA, hold a six sigma green belt (CSSGB), Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP), and Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications while working in various accounting, leadership, and human resources positions before starting a tax preparation and bookkeeping business. With my strong business background and expertise, I provide top-notch services to my clients and have established a reputation for excellence in the industry.
Q. As you mentioned that you have served in the military, why did you quit there?
Unfortunately, my military career was cut short due to a work injury that I sustained. As a result, I was required to medically retire from my position. While it was not the outcome I had hoped for, I am grateful for the time I spent serving my country and the valuable experiences and skills that I gained during my service.
Q. What led you to start your own business?
Starting your own business can be an incredibly empowering and rewarding experience, especially if you feel like your skills are not being fully utilized in a corporate environment or that you don’t fully belong there.
For me, the decision to start my own business comes from a deep desire to create something of my own, to use my skills and talents in a way that feels meaningful and fulfilling, and to build a life and career on my own terms. It has been a way to take control of my own destiny, pursue my passions and interests, and create a sense of purpose and meaning in my work.
My advice to others is If you’ve ever felt like your skills and talents were not being fully recognized or utilized in a corporate setting, or that you didn’t quite fit in with the culture or values of the organization, starting your own business can be a way to break free of those limitations and create something truly unique and meaningful. By charting your own course, pursuing your own vision, and building a team that shares your values and goals, you can create a business that is truly your own and that reflects your own unique talents and passions.
So, if you’re considering starting your own business, don’t be afraid to take the leap and pursue your dreams. Remember that with hard work, dedication, and a clear vision, you can create something truly extraordinary, and build a life and career that is deeply fulfilling and rewarding.
Q. Actually many of us and new business owners do not know about tax deductions, So if you can tell us in which form and how the tax is deducted, and what needs to be done if any tax is being deducted?
Tax deduction refers to the process of subtracting a certain amount of tax from an individual’s income or payment before they receive it. The amount of tax deducted depends on the individual’s income, tax rate, and other factors.
The form and method of tax deduction can vary depending on the type of tax being deducted. Here are some common examples:
Income tax: Most employers deduct income tax from their employee’s paychecks before they are paid. This is usually done using a tax withholding form like a W-4 in the United States. The employer calculates the amount of tax to be withheld based on the employee’s income and other information provided on the form.
Sales tax: Sales tax is typically deducted at the time of purchase. When you buy something, the seller adds the appropriate sales tax to the total price of the item, and you pay the full amount at the point of sale.
Property tax: Property tax is usually assessed by the local government and is based on the value of the property. The tax is then deducted by the government from the owner’s income, or in some cases, added to the property owner’s mortgage payments.
If tax is being deducted from your income or payments, you should receive a tax form such as a W-2 (in the case of income tax), which shows how much tax has been deducted over the course of a year. You may also receive a tax statement for other types of taxes.
It is important to review your tax forms carefully to ensure that the amount of tax deducted is accurate. If you believe there is an error, you should contact the relevant tax authority or your employer to rectify the mistake.
In some cases, you may be entitled to claim deductions or credits on your tax return that could reduce the amount of tax you owe or increase your tax refund. It’s important to keep good records and work with a qualified tax professional if you have any questions or concerns about your tax situation.
Q. What are the most common types of tax forms you have experience preparing? How do you stay up-to-date with changes in tax laws and regulations?
At EZ Value Tax the most common tax form we prepare is Form 1040. Which is the standard individual income tax return form that most taxpayers use to report their income, deductions, and credits. It is used to report wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividends, capital gains, and other sources of income.
As a tax preparer, it’s important to stay up to date on changes to tax laws and regulations to ensure that you’re providing accurate and effective advice to your clients. Here are some ways I stay informed:
- Attend training and education programs
- Read tax publications and newsletters
- Utilize online resources like the IRS website
- Use tax preparation software that is updated regularly to reflect changes in tax laws and regulations and can provide alerts when changes are made.
- Consult with other tax experts.
Q. Can you describe your bookkeeping process? How do you ensure accuracy and completeness in financial records?
Bookkeeping is the process of recording and organizing a company’s financial transactions. The purpose of bookkeeping is to keep track of the company’s income and expenses, which helps to provide a clear picture of its financial health.
The bookkeeping process typically involves the following steps:
- Recording financial transactions
- Organizing financial transactions
- Maintaining ledgers
- Preparing financial statements
- Reconciling accounts
- Closing the books
By following the above steps, you can maintain accurate and organized financial records for the company. This helps to ensure that the company’s financial position is clear and provides a foundation for effective financial management and decision-making.
Q. How do you handle a situation where a client has incomplete or inaccurate financial information? Can you give an example of a time when you had to work with a client to correct errors in their financial records?
Handling a situation where a client has incomplete or inaccurate financial information can be challenging, but there are several steps we take to address the issue and ensure that we are able to provide accurate advice and guidance. Here are the steps:
Communicate clearly: Start by communicating clearly with the client about the importance of accurate financial information and explain how it impacts your ability to provide effective advice. Be honest about the potential risks and consequences of working with incomplete or inaccurate information.
Gather additional information: Try to gather as much additional information as possible to fill in the gaps or correct any inaccuracies. This might involve requesting bank statements, previous years’ tax documents, or other financial records.
Document your interactions: Keep a detailed record of all interactions with the client, including any requests for additional information. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re able to track any changes or updates to the client’s information.
By following these steps, we effectively handle a situation where a client has incomplete or inaccurate financial information and ensure that we are able to provide effective advice and guidance based on the best available data.
An example of a situation where would have to work with a client to correct errors in their financial records would be if the client requests for us to file their tax return, and the preparer notices that there are some errors in the financial records provided by the client. Specifically, the client has included several deductions that are not supported by the documentation they provided, and there are some discrepancies in their reported income.
In this situation, the tax preparer would need to work with the client to correct the errors and ensure that the tax return is accurate and complete. This might include requesting additional documentation. For example, they might ask for receipts, invoices, or other proof of expenses. The tax preparer would need to review the client’s income sources and identify any discrepancies between the reported income and the actual income earned. This might involve comparing the client’s records to bank statements, pay stubs, or other sources. Based on the additional information gathered, the tax preparer would need to adjust the tax return to reflect the accurate income and deductions. This might involve removing some deductions or adding others that were overlooked by the client.
Throughout the process, we educate the client about the importance of accurate financial records and the potential risks of filing an inaccurate tax return.
Q. How do you prioritize and manage your workload during the busy tax season?
Managing and prioritizing your workload during a peak tax season can be challenging, but there are several strategies I use to stay on top of my responsibilities and maintain my productivity. Here are some tips:
- Set clear goals and deadlines.
- Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them based on their level of importance and urgency.
- Use calendar and scheduling software to keep you organized.
- Delegate or outsource tasks.
- Keep your workspace organized and minimize distractions to help you stay focused and productive.
- Communicate with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Q. So let us know about your own future goals and plans.
I am committed to expanding my reach, increasing business revenue, and building a sustainable enterprise. My future plans are to continually learn and develop my skills will help me stay ahead of the curve, adapt to changing market conditions, and make informed decisions.
Additionally, as an entrepreneur, it’s important to focus on personal growth and development. I would like to improve on key traits like resilience, creativity, and strategic thinking, as well as build a strong network of industry contacts and mentors.
Q. So how much is it profitable to be a tax professional in 2023 in terms of earning money? Adding one more question here; How much money can be earned in a financial year becoming a tax pro?
The earning potential of a tax professional can vary based on many factors, including their level of education, experience, and certification, the size and location of the firm they work for, and the specific role and responsibilities they have within the company.
That being said, tax professionals generally earn a competitive salary and have opportunities for career advancement and growth.
Keep in mind that most tax businesses have another service they offer outside of tax season, which can also be lucrative for a tax professional.
Q. You have a business venture, tell us when did you establish ‘ezvaluetax’.
EZ Value Tax has been years in the making. It started as a side gig that grew over the years as customers return year after year and new customers increased. I incorporated in 2022 and took it from a side gig to a sustainable business.
Q. What was the turnover of your business for last year
EZ Value Tax has had zero turnover since the business was created. Finding the right team members and working daily to nurture those relationships has created a working environment where the team members are valued and want to work at EZ Value Tax.
Q. What is your success mantra in life?
My two success-in-life mantras are:
“I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.” This mantra helpsme cultivate a growth mindset and believe in my own potential to achieve my goals.
“Progress, not perfection.” This mantra helps me focus on making incremental progress toward my goals, rather than getting bogged down in the pursuit of perfection.
Q. What is the hardship you face while the tax works?
Being a tax preparer can be a challenging and demanding profession, with a number of potential hardships that come with the job. The main challenge is high pressure and tight deadlines. Tax season can be incredibly stressful, with high pressure to get returns filed accurately and on time. This can lead to long hours and a high-stress work environment. Keeping up with the complexity of tax laws and regulations, being liable for errors, and managing client expectations can add to the challenges. Tax preparation work is highly seasonal, which means that tax preparers may have long periods of downtime followed by extremely busy periods during tax season.
Despite these challenges, many tax preparers find the work rewarding and fulfilling. By providing valuable services to clients and helping them navigate complex tax laws and regulations, tax preparers can make a meaningful difference in their clients’ lives. Additionally, the demand for tax preparation services means that there is a steady stream of work for those who are dedicated to the profession.
Q. Tell us about your struggles.
As a small business, the struggles are different than what the larger companies are going through at this moment. I have limited financial resources, which can make it difficult to invest in the tools and resources needed for growth. It’s also a struggle to compete with larger, more established companies that have more resources and a larger customer base.Marketing is difficult as I have a limited marketing budgetand lack the expertise needed to create marketing campaigns.
For me to succeed I have to be agile, creative, and resourceful in order to overcome these challenges and succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
Q. Which are the popular personality or brands you have worked for? How was the experience?
I do not work with personality brands. My customers are individuals/families and small businesses that enjoy working with a person instead of a big box company that is impersonal.
Q. What would be your suggestion for aspiring tax professionals?
Now is the time to take the leap and begin your tax journey. Over the last 3 years, around 30,000 tax professionals have retired or left the field so there are numerous opportunities for growth and development.
Q. Any messages you want to convey to our readers?
As an entrepreneur, taking the leap to start your own business can be one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. It can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone and take on the risks and uncertainties of starting a business, but with the right mindset and approach, it can be an incredibly fulfilling and transformative experience.
Here are a few messages that I would share with others who are considering taking the leap as an entrepreneur:
- Believe in yourself: Starting a business takes a lot of self-confidence and belief in your own abilities. remember that you have the skills, knowledge, and passion to make your business a success.
- Embrace failure: Failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey, and it’s important to embrace it as a learning experience rather than a setback. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things, and be willing to pivot or change course if necessary.
- Build a strong network: Surround yourself with mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs who can offer guidance and support along the way. Building a strong network can be a key factor in your success as an entrepreneur.
- Focus on your vision: Keep your vision and goals in mind as you build your business, and stay focused on the things that matter most. Don’t get sidetracked by distractions or setbacks, and stay committed to your long-term goals.
- Take care of yourself: Starting a business can be stressful and all-consuming, so it’s important to take care of yourself along the way. Make time for self-care, exercise, and other activities that bring you joy and help you stay centered.
Remember that entrepreneurship is a journey, and it’s okay to take it one step at a time. By focusing on your goals, building a strong network, and staying committed to your vision, you can create a successful and fulfilling business that reflects your unique talents and passions.
If you’re interested in having your taxes done or need bookkeeping services, please feel free to reach out via email. I’d be happy to discuss your needs and provide a quote for services. You can reach me at [email protected]. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!
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