A Certified Public Accountant with her own firm, Carol King has been working long hours in recent months to meet this year’s tax deadline. During tax season, which runs from February through mid-April, King and her staff at Carol L. King and Associates have done half of the total amount of tax returns they complete in a year.
While working in high gear during tax season, King says she functions as a coach at a football game, making sure that her associates are supported and that they stay focused on the tasks at hand.
“There’s a lot of activity, and you’ve got to make sure all the plays are in place,” she says.
“In a CPA firm, the units of production are people’s brains,” King observes. “They are the equipment.”
Helping clients with their tax returns while paying close attention to tax law and how it affects them is work that King relishes.
“It’s fun—it’s like three-dimensional chess,” she says with a smile.
When it comes to paying taxes people can sometimes forget that essentially they are dealing with law and how it impacts them.
“You have to be able to get through a whole lot of detail,” she says of tax law, which frequently changes.
Preparing tax returns as a CPA is different than working as an accountant, King says.
“I have a higher standard to live up to,” she says.
In recent years King has started offering clients financial planning and advisory services in addition to tax preparation assistance. King says she decided to go in this direction because she saw clients’ needs for financial guidance.
“People are saving for their retirement and have questions,” she says. “We stop and talk with them about retirement funds.”
Other clients who are retired may need help with fund distribution and management, King adds. Services offered include investment counseling, business and tax planning, asset preservation, educational and estate planning and debt management.
While working with clients on their finances and tax issues, King says she asks them what they would like to accomplish.
Unlike traditional wealth management firms that may not take into consideration the tax impacts of investments, King says that as an accountant she has a broader perspective to offer clients so that they can make more informed investment choices.
King’s firm is associated with 1st Global Capital Corporation, a brokerage firm that only deals with CPAs.
Looking to the not-so-distant future, King says that next year will be a real game-changer regarding tax returns because of the new federal laws enacted.
King says she is giving clients tax projections for next year so that they can stay informed.
“It’s very confusing for people right now,” she says of the changes in tax code. “We’re also waiting for the IRS to give us some guidance.”
King says she has worked as an accountant for “a long, long time,” including the firm of friend in Asheville where she was based before starting her own business.
In addition to her years of experience and training as an account, King has a background as an entrepreneur, which began as a youngster.
“My first job was selling greeting cards when I was 10 years old,” she says. “I was going door to door.”
During her career, King has owned a restaurant and a retail shop, as well as pursuing other endeavors. When working with business owners now, King can tell them she has walked in their shoes.
Although she grew up in her mother’s hometown, Baltimore, Maryland, King says her DNA is more in North Carolina, the home state of her father.
She moved to Asheville in 1986 and later attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville to complete her accounting studies before opening her firm.
Carol L. King & Associates is at 40 N. French Broad Ave. For more information visit the website at www.CLKCPA.com or call 828-258-2323.
By Sandra Barnes