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Behind the List with Tubiello-Harr & Associates LLC

'Addressing tax savings ideas and strategies throughout the year'

Loretta Tubiello-Harr, principal of Tubiello-Harr & Associates LLC in Coopersburg, says that approximately 60 percent of the firm's annual revenue is generated in the busy season from January through April. - (Photo / Christopher Holland)

Owning and operating a business is no easy feat.

Managing operating costs, retaining good employees and many other factors are vital to success. And with all of the dollars flowing in and out daily, and with the importance of long-term financial planning, it’s imperative to have an accountant.

Throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley, there are accounting and tax-preparation firms equipped with the resources to help your business thrive.

One firm that has a strong presence in the region is Tubiello-Harr & Associates LLC in Coopersburg.

Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Loretta Tubiello-Harr, principal of the firm.

Lehigh Valley Business: What is your guiding philosophy as a business leader?

Loretta Tubiello-Harr: I have many, but the one I follow most ardently is integrity. I think it is important to think, feel, say and do in the same manner. Other philosophies, not in any particular order, are to proactively anticipate the future (strategic planning), create a clear vision, and listen rather than do the talking. I believe teamwork is paramount in decision making, two wrongs don’t make a right, hire someone smarter than yourself, share your knowledge, and keep everyone informed. Never say “I can’t”, instead say “I choose not to” and take responsibility for your own actions. Do it right or don’t do it at all – quality is king, give employees the necessary tools to do their jobs to the best of their ability, and have the courage to take risks to gain opportunity. I have a magnet on the refrigerator at the office that says “Leap and the net will appear.” Lastly, I believe success is your own journey.

LVB: What is the best piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

Tubiello-Harr: I was contemplating on whether I should major in business or accounting in college and a professor summed it up quite well: “You can always go in business if you are an accountant, but you can’t be an accountant if you are in business.” Hence, I became an accounting major and the rest is history.

LVB: If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

Tubiello-Harr: That is an easy one to answer. Public accounting is deadline driven. In my practice, those deadlines center around tax return deadlines. Our time frame to complete returns continues to get pressed with a shorter and shorter window for varied reasons. It would be a dream come true if the filing deadlines were spread throughout the year, rather than the majority in the March/April timeframe. Staff are stressed with heavy workloads and work long hours during the busy season. By the time it is over we are mentally exhausted. I also think more people would enter the public accounting field if the deadlines were not so compressed.

LVB: What motivates you to get out of bed every morning to go to work?

Tubiello-Harr: My practice focuses on supporting closely held businesses in a CFO advisory capacity. Our client base is not industry specific. I like the variety of work and the opportunity to service various industries and assist them in resolving issues. There is never a dull day and we continue to be personally challenged with new issues daily. My practice is a higher-end tax practice so we work diligently to address tax-saving ideas and strategies throughout the year. With the recent tax reform, our challenges are greater this year than last.

LVB: Tax season is right around the corner. How does your firm prepare for the workload ahead and how much of your business is related to taxes?

Tubiello-Harr: The professional staff prepare by taking a variety of continuing education courses beginning immediately after April through the fall to brush up on tax law changes. We prepare many interim tax plans so the clients have an opportunity to implement a tax strategy before year end and to mitigate any surprises for us during the tax season. Clients begin receiving year-end information from us by the end of October and through January, including a tax-planning publication. In January, we have an internal annual tax season procedural meeting to work on universal policies and procedures to follow for all clients. Approximately 60 percent of annual revenue is generated in the busy season from January through April. This gives you a real indication of how compressed the work load is for us.

LVB: What are some of your personal interests outside of the workplace?

Tubiello-Harr: Spending time with family and friends, traveling, bicycling, hiking, outdoor concerts, and spending time in Cape May. Anything outdoors and I’m game.

Christopher Holland
Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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