Title: “Behind the Scenes: The Enrolled Agent’s Guide to Financial Success”
We have our CFO Series for this episode of the Profit First for the REI podcast!
Alexis Sidney, a seasoned Chief Financial Officer, joined us in the show as she shared how she made an impact as a fractional CFO.
How CFOs make a difference? How did they make an impact? Listen as she answers these questions. Alexis also talks about the struggles that they see daily. Enjoy the show!
[01:00] Introducing Alexis Sidney
[03:10] What does she do as an EA?
[06:37] Interesting part of the CFO Role
[08:15] Different types of struggle people encounter
[15:56] Benefits of Profit First for Alexis as CFO
[19:40] Pros of working with a CFO
[23:48] Alexis’ advice for real estate investors
[26:48] Connect with Alexis and Simple CFO
[06:52] “There was something more just behind a profit and loss report… those number means something.”
[12:55] “It does take time for people to trust you, and you can’t overwhelm them by forcing them… just assure them.”
[20:12] “Working with a CFO allows you to have that person on your shoulder.”
Connect with Alexis:
Tired of living deal to deal?
If you are a real estate investor or business owner who is tired of living deal to deal and want to double your profits, head over here to book your no-obligation discovery call with me. Either myself or someone from my team will hop on a short call with you to get clear on your business goals, remove any obstacles holding you back, and map out a game plan to help you finally start keeping more of the money you work so hard to make. – David
I introduced to Profit First when Covid first happened. And I was like, what is this profit first? What is it? So, you know, I got the book, I read it and I was like, okay, cool. So funny story is I tried to implement it on my own, just going off of the book and I was like, okay, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this,
This. If you’re a real estate investor who’s sick and tired of living deal to deal, then welcome home. Hear from everyday real estate investors just like you, and discover how they’ve completely transformed their business by taking a profit First approach. This is the profit first for R e I podcast, where we believe revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. It’s time to start making profit a habit in your business. So here’s your host, David Richter.
This is a completely different episode than if you’ve listened to all the episodes so far, or most of them that we actually interview one of our CFOs. And I’m going to do that with a couple of the different CFOs that we have. But today’s Alexis, Cindy, she’s an incredible, she’s an enrolled agent. So she has tax work in her background, but now she’s making an impact as a fractional C F O. So we talk about how do we make a difference? How do you make an impact? Where do you come from? The struggles that we see on a daily basis. People that are, she talks about a lot of the emotional things that go, people go through with money. This is just a really good episode. If you wanna kick back and say, okay, what do I need to do? What are the first steps?
’cause She kind of outlined some of the first steps that you can take as well too. Thank you so much for listening. I know that this episode can be a benefit to you and put you on the right path. Thank you again, have a great rest of your day. Hey everyone, I am super excited about this episode ’cause it’s different than what you’ve heard before. We have had, I think over 180 people on the episode so far, but I haven’t introduced you to some of the team members that work with simple C F O and fractional CFOs in general. Like, what the heck is that? Why do we do what we do? Who are we? Like, all that type of stuff. But I have Alexis, Cindy in the studio today, which we’re just doing it on this recording device here. But that’s where I have Alexis, I’m super excited. She’s A C F O with us. She’s worked with several of our clients. She’s an amazing human being. Alexis, thank you for being on the podcast today.
Thank you for having me. David. What an opportunity to be here,
Right? And I want to, if you’re a listener from this episode, I want you to get why, not only why do we do what we do, but how does it make an impact on people? And then why do we do it? Like what is there, what’s the reasoning behind becoming a fractional C F O versus just a bookkeeper or C P a, or you’ll find out what an EA is too, ’cause Alexis has that in her and her history and then what she does as well too. So that’s where we’re gonna talk about some of that stuff. But I also wanna talk about working with clients and like some of the concerns on both sides, but then some of the wins and like what are we doing like to make sure that people are winning. So just a really interesting episode. I’m talking way too much. I usually don’t talk this much and just dive into questions. So Alexis, let’s get into it. What is your, your background is in the finance space, correct? You have the EA and can you tell people what EA is and like the acronym, what it’s for and what it stands for and like what that does? And just a little bit of your background so people can get to know you.
Sure, sure. So again, I’m Alexis Sydney and I am an ea, I’m an enrolled agent. I’m licensed to practice by the I R Ss. So I went through some rigorous exams, studying all of that great stuff to be able to hold that credential. And what it does allow me to do is to be able to represent clients if they have tax issues, troubles, you know, all of that stuff. I can go to war bat to bat with the i r s with you regarding nice. Anything I can also, you know, just get information on you without having to go through hoops and hurdles. So having that EA is really designated behind taxes and just all of the education that you can get. We have to stay up to date with continuous education hours to keep the credential. So I did that because of course I’ve been doing taxes for about 19 years now.
I know I look young. I started in college and you know, I started with it being a side hustle. I had a friend that had many offices all over and I was just like, I wanna make some money. So I got into taxes and I’m still in it. So I’ve went through, you know, many years of taxes and taxes and that’s pretty much all I focused on. But as I got older and started, you know, being in the industry a lot and dealing with small business owners, I saw that there was a need to be able to bring more value to the clients that I served. Yep. And really bring additional service in addition to tax prep. So that opened a door for me to be able to start offering accounting services or just doing things where I’m doing coaching.
I even in the game, I went and got my real estate license and insurance as well. So, you know, those are key components and things that all clients need regardless of what industry they’re in. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But I just wanted myself to be that one-stop shop for my clients where even if I wasn’t, you know, doing a lot of insurance or things I knew enough where I can talk to them about it and not be in any kind of violation with the state of Georgia, which I’m in but just getting them to the right people, even if it’s through strategic partnerships or whatnot. Yeah. so, you know, that’s me. That’s what I do. Awesome. and I love it. <Laugh>.
No, that’s, that’s great stuff because a lot of people don’t <laugh>. This is why if you’re listening, like if you, you, you’ve listened to a lot of real estate investors in the entrepreneur side of that part, but now you get to hear from someone who’s actually taken the test has, you know, does the continuous things you don’t have to do so you can be doing the deals and that type of stuff. And then what I love what you said, Alexis was providing more value to people. Like it’s not just about the taxes, it’s about okay, how are they doing in their business? Which I feel like is a big part of the fractional C F O part. And if you’ve never heard of fractional C F O, that’s a part-time and for a fraction of the cost of a full-time chief financial officer. But Alexis on that side, why did you get into the C F O role and like why did you want to start down that path? ’cause It sounds like you’ve done a lot of stuff on the tax side. You’ve done some on the accounting side as well too, like the actual, you know, bookkeeping and that, you know, and stuff that comes with all of that. So what interested you about the C F O role?
Yeah, so I always knew like there is more and you know, as I continued to work with businesses and their level were increasing or they wanted to take their business to the next level, I knew that there was something more just behind a profit and loss report or doing categorization work. Like those numbers mean something. And you know, business owners, they have goals, they have dreams and all of that needs to be connected. The dots have to be connected for them. And I think that’s where the C F O, the fractional service allows you to do that with clients. It allows you to not only take, you know, the numbers ’cause you have to have the numbers, but make sense out of the numbers. Let the numbers tell a story. And if they’re not telling that story that you want to tell, how do we get there and incorporate your real dreams, your goals, your vision, your future, your, all of that stuff gets to play in it. So I love the C F O world because it allows you to do that. It allows you to take it to that next level so that you can have the business that you want and desire.
Yeah, I love that. It’s absolutely great. It’s that forward facing, where are we going instead of just like, okay, here’s the stuff that’s happened, which is you have to have both. But then it’s like, what do you do with that? I love how you said that. It’s, again, you gotta turn the numbers into something else. Okay. So then tell me this, since you’ve gone into that role, what struggles do you see that a lot of the business owners having on the financial side? Do you see some struggles that pop up that are pretty normal for a lot of people and maybe they just don’t know it’s normal? <Laugh>,
<Laugh>? I’m laughing. It depends. <Laugh>. Yeah. I see so many struggles. You know, and it depends on the level of business owner, like where they are. That makes sense. Like the struggles are so different. You know, I, I was speaking with the business owner I believe over the weekend and you know, their struggle was, they’re not even doing financials, but they have all these goals and dreams and you know, they wanna do this, they wanna do that. And for me, I’m like, will you just take advantage of this service? ’cause You will get all of that. You’ll get that clarity. I see that a lot of business owners are out there their own. They’re not connected to the right people. You know, they may be embarrassed about their financial situation. So they don’t have the inner level conversations with their friends.
You know, they’re ashamed with their finances, they’re embarrassed that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but you know, they’re the business owner. They have this, you know, prestige that they have to follow. So I see a lot of that when I’m working with clients and you know, that’s where, you know, we can comment as CFOs and make a difference for them. But like I said, I see, you know, people and it’s like, okay, you are making all of this money. Like, gosh, I wish I, I’m making that kind of money. <Laugh> nice and I’m so impressed. But then it’s like, where is it <laugh>? And I see a lot of that also. So that’s where too, as CFOs we come in and we get clarity around where their money is going so that they have a plan and it’s not their money doing what it wants to do, but them telling where their money, where to go and having control over it.
No, that’s really good. And I feel like you hit the nail on the head there a lot, especially when you said embarrassed and ashamed. ’cause I feel like a lot of people think they should know. But I mean, have you seen this? I mean, a lot of people aren’t taught this stuff. No, there’s not really taught anywhere. Do you see a taught places
<Laugh>? We’re we’re teaching it, but <laugh>, right. We’re
Teaching it. There you go. That’s about it that I see. Oh man, awesome. So I love that. The embarrassed, the ashamed not connected. That was good. And then no financials, man, that’s a big one too. They have all these goals and dreams, but no financials to know, are we on track for that or does it just apply in the sky type thing? Ah, man, see that a ton. So I think that was really good. And then you obviously, where is all the money? Like you’re making all this money, where’d it go? Like we gotta dig in and find that. Now. I, I see that where a lot of people get to that level. They start doing six figures then into the seven figures and it’s like, oh shoot, more money has just escaped me. Where did it go? Right, <laugh>. So no, I, I a hundred percent agree. Those are some of the biggest struggles that I see as well too. Okay. Well then you’ve worked with clients like with your own and like with through simple C F O. How is it working with people? Like are people usually open to receiving what you’re trying to give them? Do they resist it? Is it their walk of life and like the role of A C F O being that type of leader? How is it actually working with people on this role?
Well, you know, it’s definitely, it’s a fun experience, I would say. Yeah. I think when they get to the level where they know like, okay, I’m gonna make this investment. Yeah. For me, I haven’t had any resistance with the clients. They’re like open, like, okay, I need your help. I know I’m at a place where I don’t wanna fail and I just need whatever you can give me to help me, you know, get to where I wanna be. So, luckily for me, I haven’t had any resistance when it comes to working with clients, especially on the simple C f O side. However, <laugh> some of my clients, when I try to work with them and implement, you know, some of the strategies or whatnot, I get a lot of resistance. Especially when it comes to implementing the Profit First model for some people, people because they’re like all these accounts, why do I need this <laugh>?
I can do this, you know, I understand what you’re saying, but I’m just gonna do it with my one account for now and I’ll tell you. And so it’s like, you know, for me just being the one that’s, you know, in control and not allowing the client, ’cause it’s like, you made the investment to work with me. You want me to be your C F O? So just building that trust. And you know, it, it’s okay. You may get a by with it a few times. Like, okay, I’m not gonna do it. Or push me off the next meeting, the next meeting, the next meeting. And then it’s like, did you get those accounts set up? And they’re like so, you know, for me being in that role, I, I do know that it does take time for people to trust you.
And you can’t overwhelm them by forcing them, like you’re gonna beat ’em up if they don’t do something. But just really assuring them like, every time that you don’t meet your goal, let’s bring this to the forefront. And understanding like what is the challenge behind you not doing what you need to do? Like what is the problem? Because it may be something, you know, small to me, but huge to them. But just understanding with them and working with them, you know, on that level and just building that trust and, you know, that friend, I don’t wanna say friendship, like we’re going to hang out, but you know, just that friendship and the time that we spend together, just knowing like, you know, I’m, I’m here to support you. I’m not trying to judge you. I, I want this to work. And just being that confidant with them to help them overcome, you know, whatever struggles they may be having.
Yeah. Well that’s really good. ’cause That’s good. Especially on our side. We don’t take bonehead people. Like if we do, we kick ’em right out. Like for the, at least the client part. So it’s good there that you’re not getting a lot of resistance from that side, but it is a lot of like, okay, we know we need it at this point. Like they don’t wanna scale into oblivion, into bankruptcy, and they want, you know, the people that, that are helping them focus on what they’re actually good at. So, and I, I love that because I feel if, do you feel this way that you’re making an impact not just on their business but their life? Like, would you say that, that when you help them on the financial side, that that’s a byproduct?
Well, definitely it is because, you know, this is, they do business to, you know, generate the lifestyle they want, or at least most people do. And, you know, it can be a struggle, especially if the business isn’t going right and you gotta attitude walking around and then your family <laugh> has to deal with it or they’re not getting the best you. So we definitely have a, a impact on them and their lives and, you know, how can show up better for their families and be that person that they wanna be. So, you know, it’s so impactful to that level.
I love that. That’s, I mean, that’s why we do what we do. That’s why I wanted Alexis on here. That’s why I wanna do a mini series of just interviewing some of the CFOs because that’s what we’re really trying to do. We’re really trying to help, if you’re a listener, that’s why we do this podcast. <Laugh>, like I’ve given you what, 180 examples or something so far of like people in the Profit First world or just the importance of keeping the money you’re making now. It’s like, I wanna make sure you have some resources here too. These are some of the people that we work with that we wanna empower to make an impact on you and making sure that you’re getting to where you really want to be. So it’s like, I wanna make sure that we’re doing everything in our power here and that’s why we have Alexis on. And this has been awesome. I really like this. Like it’s been, this is a breath of fresh air talking with you, Alexis. So, okay. You talk about Profit First and some of the resistance opening up the accounts. What do you see the benefits of Profit First and working with people and what that system can help people do, especially since it’s the Profit First Aria podcast?
Oh yeah, definitely. So Profit First is amazing. I was, I introduced to Profit First when Covid first happened and I was like, what is this profit first? What is it? So, you know, I got the book, I read it and I was like, okay, cool. So funny story is I tried to implement it on my own, just going off of the book. And I was like, okay, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this. And then I was like, I knew there was more however I wanted to be able to provide the service. ’cause Again, I felt like there was something needed to be able to give someone something tangible as I was going into C F O services and giving clients advisory services and I’m that tangible person, like, you know, coming from Tax, it’s like I give you a tax return, you pay me, you get a return <laugh>, right?
Yeah. So with the cfo it’s like, well, what am I giving them? Like I just was like, okay, I can really talk to somebody and that’s giving them something and they’re gonna pay. And yes it is, but I still felt like there was some sort of framework or something that was needed to help bring clarity. And that’s what Profit First did. For me, it allowed me to learn the concept and the model to be able to bring financial clarity to people. And I always tell my clients like, you know, if you’re operating your business with one account, you know, how do you have clarity? Because I knew when <laugh>, you know, I was doing it, or even in my personal life, I had one checking account and you know, the young me would go out on the weekends and spend, spend, spend.
And then I’m like, oh crap, you know, when it’s Monday and I gotta sit down and pay bills, I’m like, whoa, maybe I should have moved my party money to another account. So I, I love the system because it’s almost like, you know, an envelope, an electronic envelope system that just really gives you the clarity you, so you can put your money where it needs to go. You can open your bank account at one time and say, Hey, I know what I have available to do what I need to do based on these buckets. So the system is awesome. I, I love it. And I feel like, you know, the clients that we work with and serve, they love it too because they’re wanting to know how to get clarity as well and how to organize their money so that they’re accounted for everything that’s going on within their business operations.
Yeah, no, that’s great because how many times does that word pop up, that clarity? You used it earlier, no financials, no clarity, same, same, it sounds like here too. One bank account, no clarity, right? And that’s where a lot of people struggle with that. So I feel like that is definitely a big solution to getting that clarity inside the business, especially around the cash. ’cause I, you see this, I’m sure the cash is one of the biggest things that entrepreneurs think about. Would you agree?
Yes, definitely. It, it, it’s the end all be all <laugh> side.
So that’s where it’s really where the rubber meets the road. That’s why I like this podcast. I like, we’re just trying to get that message out there that there’s a way to actually make sure the cash is working for you and not against you, especially in the real estate world. Do you find that, that a lot of real estate investors struggle with their cash and the cash position and especially if they’re rehabbing, doing things like that too?
Yeah, I, I do. Especially the real estate investors. ’cause What I’m finding is that, you know, they’re in these projects and their thing is, I gotta get this deal closed or exit out of it quickly. Yeah. And a lot of times you, you lose focus on the numbers or what you have to do ’cause you’re trying to get to that mark because okay, this is costing you, you know, you’re have holding costs, you know, all of this stuff that you have going on and you’re just trying to get to that number. So it’s like whatever I need to do to get there, you know? But that’s where we come in at because it’s like, we’re working with you through these processes and we’re like that behind the scenes eyes and ears on your numbers so that you can have that clarity to know like how to navigate through this. So like you’re not losing, but then you have that oversight as if you’re going down that wrong path. Like you have someone there on your side to be like, wait a minute, this may not be the best way to do this. Have you considered X, Y, and Z? Have you looked into this? Maybe this isn’t the proper exit strategy for you. So, you know, working with the C F O allows you to have that, that person on your shoulder <laugh>. Oh,
That’s great. That’s a great analogy there because so many people need that person and they don’t. I, it’s like you get a business coach, well, with you, even you have some of the tax background too. ’cause Not every CFO’s gonna have the ea you know designation or that type of stuff. So like with you, you, you even have some more oomph behind you. You’ve got that, you’ve got the business coaching, you’ve got the C F O role. It’s like you get this all in one with this person that’s on your shoulders saying, Hey, did you think about this? Did you not? So I love how you put it there because it’s more about you present them the options, but do they have the final say on what they do or do you tell them what to do <laugh>? What, what, what’s your approach?
You know, I always give ’em the final say on what they need to do, but just present ’em with the facts. Do you want these numbers or you want these numbers? There you go. You make the decision. And that’s good. The time they go with what I say <laugh>.
Well, it’s good because a lot of people, like you said, especially when we’ve already talked about this, no financials or one bank account, they don’t have that clarity. You provide clarity, you provide that clarity to be able to say, do you want this or do you want this? And I like how you said earlier, it’s more about, you know, like why they started their business. So you could be like, you started for this and here’s the two options that you have and this one will get you closer to it, then this one won’t. Like which one do you want to do? But a lot of people don’t have that. That’s why they’re running around blind. So Yeah. I have you seen that with the people you’ve worked with? It’s almost like a breath of fresh air. Does it feel like, okay, someone’s in the trenches with me helping me know which way I should go because I can’t navigate this whole trench?
Yeah. I, I, it’s a beauty when people really buy into, you know, the model of what we’re doing. It’s beautiful because it allows them to kind of just, you know, put their feelings aside, you know, put their self aside and really focus on their dreams, their goals, and why they got into this and you know, let pride go out the door. Right? ’cause again, we all, we all need help. You know, if we knew how to do it without any help, we would’ve done it. And <laugh>, you know?
But it is beautiful when you see people really like taking charge, really, you know, moving the money, following the plan that you have in place for them. And that, that really excites me because it’s like, okay, they’re, they’re gonna make it <laugh>,
Right? Yeah. That’s good. It’s, see, it’s fun to see when it actually lines up and they’re like, yes, let’s run with it. And then they do and you see them more profitable and it’s like, okay, like finally, like someone’s actually listening here, so, right. No, that’s good because that’s what we talk about. Like that’s why, like I keep saying, we started this to make an impact and that’s the type of impact that you’re able to make. You’re able to see that, okay, they took this advice, they actually had the clarity, they were able to make a better, more informed decision and it got them a better outcome. There’s no feeling like that. So, which is great. I’m, this has been an awesome podcast, so I will, even if you’re listening to this, like, oh my gosh, what is this all about? Like, and you turned me off a long time ago.
I thank you for listening this far because this has been fun for me because this is why we do it. Like, I wanna also make sure we bring amazing people like Alexis Alan to say, okay, this is another person that wants to make an impact and how can I empower her to make an impact, you know, on you as a listener here and then if you work with us as well too. So Alexis, if you had any advice for a person listening to this podcast that wanted to implement Profit first, what in what advice would you give them?
<Laugh>? Well, I would definitely tell ’em to read the book depending on their niche. I know we’re talking with real estate investors but definitely read the Profit First for real estate investors. You know, that book was a game changer for me. I knew about the regular book, but then I was like, lemme read this one. And it was so capture and I remember I, I got it. I read it that whole Saturday. I, I couldn’t take my eyes off and I’m like, I know I read the regular one, but you know the story about the guy Dan in the book, you know, that was so real. <Laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, that’s real talk. It was so real and I’m sure that, you know, many real estate investors can probably relate to that story. So definitely first read the book you know, get you some support because again, it’s one thing to read the book and understand the concept and try to implement it yourself, like I say.
But when you get on the inside and you’re working with someone who’s trained and skilled in really implementing the model for you, you have better results, you have better numbers, you have better overview and then you have that accountability. Mm, yeah. So definitely take that leap and you know, get with someone that can help you really get it going and you know, help you stay accountable through the different timeframes of implementing it. And then also in addition to the profit first, because this is where my tax stuff comes in. Yeah. definitely, you know, partner, have the right people on your team as far as your accountant. ’cause Again, I always say with Profit first, yes we have that bucket for taxes, but do you have a tax plan? You know, <laugh>? Yep. That’s good. ’cause If you have one and you have the right one and you have strategies, you know that money you’re saving may be able to come back to you, you know? Yeah. so I always tell people that. So just make sure you have your money team, I’ll call ’em in place so that your system, your business model can flow smoothly. You have your bookkeeper, you have your tax person, you have your C F O and I think you’ll be good to go.
There you go. This is good stuff, but thank you so much for being on here, Alexis. This has been a lot of fun. And then if you’re listening to this and you’re like, you know what, this sounds good, David. You’ve talked enough and like we’ve talked, we, I’ve heard all your episodes and now this one was definitely awesome as another one. You could work with people like Alexis, you could work with Alexis. We maybe a requester if she has enough openings. But go to simple cfo.com if you wanna stop worrying about the money, if you wanna get profit first implemented, if you wanna learn how to win the money game and like making sure that you’re able to do what you want to do and get the deals in the door, but then actually keep more of what you’re making. That’s what we do.
We want to make that bottom line impact for you. Put more money in your pocket. That’s why this has been, I I’m, I’m just giddy with like, this has been a lot of fun talking with someone that is making an impact, like literally is making an impact with people just like you if you’re listening to this ’cause. So go to simple cfo.com. I, you know what, since this this, this is the first time we’ve done that. You can, you can request Alexis, see if she’s available and see if she could be your C F O as well too. But go there, schedule a call and if this sounds like something that works for you, great. If not, we can at least help you and guide you to the right money people too on your team. I love that what you said, that money team, because if you are not in the position for a part-time c F O, maybe we can get you to the right person. So there we go. Thank you so much for listening. And Alexis, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you for having me.
This episode of the Profit First for r e I podcast is over, but there are plenty more where that came from. Are you ready to learn how David and his team can help implement the Profit First system in your business? Schedule a discovery firstname.lastname@example.org right now. We’ll see you next time on the Profit First for r e I podcast with David Richter.