Shelton & Associates: From traditional CPA firm to entrepreneurs

Wayne Shelton and Ryan Conn of Shelton & Associates, CPA, PLLC are having too much fun to slow down. While fun might not be the first adjective you think of when it comes to your CPA, these entrepreneurs have it figured out.

By shifting their mindset, narrowing their focus, and empowering others, they’ve created a business that allows them, and everyone in it, to truly enjoy what they do.

Not your typical accountant.

Ryan Conn isn’t a trained accountant. Coming from a law enforcement background, one might wonder how that translates into the world of numbers.  

During his 12 years as a police officer, Ryan spent time developing his leadership skills. He mentored and trained adults, led teams, and shared his expertise with others. His willingness to learn and ability to see the big picture put him in the perfect place to shake things up.

Seeing the need.

Wayne Shelton wasn’t where he wanted to be. He wanted more as an CPA firm owner: to grow his business. He was looking to the future and realized that he didn’t have the tools to put principles into practice.

“My office was a train wreck. We had people going 18 different directions.”

He needed a partner with the expertise he was lacking. Ryan, his son-in-law, had the training and skills that could make a difference and change the future for his accounting firm.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

This mindset could have kept Wayne locked into his former business model. But, he realized that he had a need – a leadership need. This drove him to seek out a professional that could fill that void.  

“You can’t know everything, you know. And I was just so burnt out with trying to manage the leadership thing.”

Wayne brought Ryan on as a partner and they were able to put his leadership training to use, transforming their business in just 3 years.

Play to your strengths.

Ryan was determined to learn every aspect of the business. He immersed himself in everything from menial tasks to business strategy in order to understand how to best serve the people that matter- team members and clients.

Wayne was the expert on all things accounting related.  He knew tax compliance and strategy as well as the advice that would make the biggest difference for small businesses.

Ryan was able to see the pattern – the pieces that could be replicated from client to client. From there it was a matter of knowing which piece would best fit each situation.

Combining expertise with vision and systems gave them a roadmap to success.

Empowering others.

Together, Wayne and Ryan created a space that allows their employees to step up and be involved in all aspects of the business. They no longer have someone only enter data or sit in the back room to run reports because they don’t have enough experience.

“We start empowering them. They take ownership of their situation. They take ownership of their clients. They get excited. Like, I get to do the bigger work, the bigger stuff, and I’m also getting to see the results as well.”

Smaller focus = better results.

Their focus now can be summed up in one word: relationships.

Instead of focusing a little on everything and sprinkling advice, they chose to become experts in giving clients the combination of tax and business advisory services they need. A personal plan for their clients, paired with training and education, frees up the client to do what they do best: build their business.

With a laser focus, the entire firm’s team is easily aligned with the same vision and mission: build relationships with clients to allow them to succeed.

Look forward and embrace change to execute your vision.

Wayne Shelton had a firm that was just fine, but he had a vision for more. He took a leap. Now his vision is being realized because he found an expert, empowered those around him, and focused on building relationships. Now, Wayne and Ryan both are having fun building the business.  

Running a business doesn’t have to run your life. Without a business partner who holds you accountable, it’s easy to be so busy ‘doing’ business that you don’t have the right strategy to grow your business. Accountants who are business strategists, like Harper & Company CPAs Plus, empower entrepreneurs to build the lifestyle they envision.

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