The Arizona Republic
Tax Goddess helping out the little guy
By Georgann Yara
For years, handling billiondollar accounts for international conglomerates had been certified personal accountant Shauna Wekherlien’s job.
But when the owner of Tax Goddess Business Services started her own business and decided to focus on serving small-business owners in 2004, that is when she found her career.
Since then, Wekherlien’s passion has been helping the little guy that pulls in a fraction of what her former clients generated and guiding them through the complicated and overwhelming tax maze.
“When you have a large company, you can get help from large (accounting) firms. But I found that the small-business owners didn’t have good, strong advice. There was no one who could take their hand and walk them through the process,” the Scottsdale business owner said.
Eight years ago, Wekherlien started with 15 clients, mostly friends and family members, and was working out of her home. Quickly she realized that number needed to increase. She asked her clients for help, hoping to get up to 75. Within three months, she had 120 and was able to hire a staff member and eventually move into an office.
Today, Wekherlien has 1,500 clients in 49 states and abroad in China, Brazil, Canada and other countries. They range from medium-size businesses that pull in $20 million a year to momand-pop operations that make $25,000 annually.
She has experienced doubledigit growth every year, she said. And although small businesses are not expanding as quickly as they may have prior to the recession, she said her cli- ents are growing and, because they are small, they are nimble enough to make adjustments when needed.
Word of mouth has been the best advertising. Wekherlien added a Costa Rican client when a domestic client expanded his business into the Central American nation and referred a neighboring wine bar owner.
“I’ve been very blessed, very lucky,” she said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our country, and I feel fortunate to be working with them.”
In addition to having the tax- required him to get some help with accounting and bookkeeping.
He said the personalized attention, knowledge and expertise he gets from Wekherlien and her staff has made him a client ever since.
“When I talk to Shauna or her staff, they understand my business and they see me as an individual,” Miles said. “She keeps me updated on what’s going on and new ways of helping my business be in compliance. She’s always looking out for me.”
When Dave Barnhart launched Business Blogging Pros LLCIN 2006, he was doing his own taxes. But after experiencing explosive growth in 2008, the Phoenix business owner said he needed a real professional.
Since then, Barnhart said Wekherlien has been proactive in handling various tax and financial situations, including filing extension paperwork before Barnhart had asked.
“Shauna makes sure I’m crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s throughout the year,” he said. “You have no idea how wonderful of a feeling it is to have Shauna in your corner while I’m running my business seven days a week.”