Wishing 2021 will be full of the blessings for which everyone is hoping.
There is no way to sugar-coat it; it has been a very unusual year – and no one has remained unaffected by it. We are no exception.
As many of you know, at the beginning of 2020 we finally moved to a larger – 2000 square-foot office. The additional space was needed to accommodate our growing practice – and to treat our associates and clients with the grace they deserved. (The prior office was acquired 10 years ago, where for the first year I was in it by myself!)
Ironically, just then the pandemic hit, sending many people (including most of our associates and clients) home! For the first two days of the Governor’s “Shelter-in-Place” order, our entire office (myself included) went home – not really knowing what to expect.
Unbeknownst to any of us at the time, our system was not designed for so many of us remoting in from offsite. So, we experienced an IT crash, requiring an expensive upgrade! We did what we needed to do to strengthen our technology, along with making it secure against malware attacks which were rampant at the time. We were able to continue our work better than before.
Then I realized our profession was considered “essential” and therefore exempt from the Governor’s shut-down order. Further, I learned that our building had remained open, giving me the option of continued commuting.
Commuting I did, alone for the first few weeks, and then with one fearless associate (Robert) joining me. It was just Robert and I at the office for several months, with everyone else working remotely.
Then came the many (valid) concerns and questions from worried clients: What did it mean that the tax season was extended to mid-July? When were their stimulus payments coming? Did they qualify for one of the COVID loans/grants? If so, could we help them apply/apply for them? Did they qualify for unemployment benefits if they were independent contractors? How could they get through to the EDD? And many, many more…
The trials kept coming… Needless to say, no one was prepared for them. At some points, I felt I was in an adventure/horror movie, with wave after wave of terror hitting us. Each time, though, like the heroes that they were, our associates effectively shielded the firm with resoluteness that I honestly did not know they possessed! I cannot find the words to describe how proud I am of our team.
I got to learn, in its purest sense, the meaning of the idiom: What does not kill you makes you stronger.
Believe it or not, we finished the year as our strongest year ever! We broke our own previous earning and growth records! So much for singing the blues about 2020!
Now, let us talk about the future!
Speaking of moving, we may soon move again to another “property”! Look for an announcement in this arena towards mid-year.
As many of you know, we perform several functions: in effect being several firms in one. Broadly categorizing: We have four segments: Tax, Business Valuation, Wealth Management, and (wide and varied) Accounting Services. Tax remains our constitution. Our fastest growing, though, is Wealth Management. (Look for some exciting news in this department to spring up in 2021!)
To prepare for our projected and continued growth, we started interviewing for fresh talents. This is perhaps the best place to introduce/welcome our newest associate: Elisa Rosas! (Look for other introductions soon!)
As we continue to grow, look for us becoming more departmentalized. Our strategy has been to hire fresh talent and grow them in-house (Milton and Arneil being our two such outstanding examples). Now, however, we can recruit more mid-career professionals – which should further strengthen our workforce.
Also big with us this year will be an online/social-media presence. (Have you checked out our newly redone website? Try mofradfinancialsolutions.com!) For a couple of years now, I have been posting practical/useful articles about taxes, retirement, and other related topics – regularly (via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – “Friend” us if you have not already!). Most of these are re-posts (not written by me), but they really do provide useful information that we deem essential for our clientele. (I also do write my own articles, although they have been few and far-between, finding time-to-write proving to be a major barrier! My recent writings can be found on our blog (attached to our website.))
The COVID Pandemic, tragic as it has been, has taught us valuable lessons. For me personally, I have learned how much of my pre-COVID lifestyle was unnecessary extravagances. We as humans truly need little to get by and be fulfilled. Thanks to a lack of social functions, I have significantly increased my physical training since pre-COVID, making me a fitter person. The funds that would have been spent in pursuit of business trips, conferences, business functions and events (all were still attended via Zoom!) were invested into further growth for the firm. On the personal side, I have been earmarking a larger portion of my monthly salary to boost my retirement account – than I have been able to in a long time. This recalls another adage: Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise. With all due respect to the wise person who phrased this, I want to suggest a variation: Going through a life-crisis makes a person….
We are excited (not just saying this, but genuinely excited!) about the many moving parts that are anticipated to land us at a better position soon. We are open for business, able to assist our valued clients better than ever before. We want to take this opportunity to also welcome our new clients! It is for/because of all of you that we are here!
Honored to be of service,
Claire, Elisa, Robert, Milton, Arneil, and Ed