MEET Brian

It’s always a little awkward talking about myself but I do get questioned about my experience and how long I’ve been practicing.  I’ve been doing tax work in some capacity for close to twenty years but it’s always interesting to look back and see “how I got here.”

First off the boring stuff.  I decided I wanted to be a CPA before I even knew what a CPA did.  I was told you had to be good at math (which I was and since I have taught my son a trick or two with his math home work, still am good at the subject) and that they made good money.  Not a very noble start but when you’re a kid, who doesn’t like money.  It seemed my career track turned out to be a good one because when I took a couple of high school courses in accounting, I hit them both out of the park.    On my last final exam, I was asked if I wanted to take it a day earlier.  I did and without studying, scored a 49 out of 50 (I don’t remember what I got wrong), and beat the teacher who routinely took the test to see how challenging they were.  An interesting fact about that class was I had access to the best computer in the school.  It was the only computer in any classroom with a hard drive and it clocked in at 25 mb.

Late in 1989 I started college at MSU and a little more than five years later, I graduated with both my B.A. and M.B.A. in Accounting (the MBA had an emphasis in tax).  This usually throws people off because both diplomas have the same date (UM fans joke that MSU had a two for one special that year).  MSU offered a five year program just for accounting students where you didn’t have to take several classes that overlapped (so you weren’t required to take basic marketing at both the undergraduate level because most of the subject matter was covered in the graduate level course) so you could finish both degrees in five years.

I started my “career” on January 31, 1995 in the tax department at KPMG, one of the Big Four (it was the Big Six when I was there) accounting firms.  After three and a half years at KPMG I moved on and from there spent time in a variety of different roles for a variety of different companies.  I worked for small manufacturing firms, big auto suppliers (Delphi in their hey day) and my last job was in the tax department at the Taubman Company where I picked up some of my real estate experience.  Through all of those jobs, having my own private practice was at least in the back of my head and I was finally able to make the leap right after New Year in 2007.

Since I left my last job, I’ve devoted myself to my clients.  There were times where I had downtime and picked up some contract work here and there (my last on site contract job was doing payroll for ThyssenKrupp) but as of late that’s been few and far between.  I have a wide variety of clients now with a heavy dose of real estate investors although I have clients in several other industries as well.

Fun Facts

This is the “lighter side” of my biography and in a lot of ways, this part is much more interesting.  Some interesting highlights and facts include:

I went to speech therapy for several years (kindergarten through seventh grade) for a stutter.  It still crops up now and then but in a lot of ways, my “listen first, talk second” approach serves me well both in my accounting practice and in life.

I’m a big baseball fan.  For a long period of time I wrote about the Detroit Tigers on my own blog (Tigerblog), I wrote a weekly column on the business of baseball at the Hardball Times and my writing has been in over a dozen books (it gets old but it was neat at first seeing my name in a book at Borders or Barnes and Noble).  The highlight of it all was getting to interview Ernie Harwell on the phone.

I’m a single dad and I have my son, Devin, half the time.  In a lot of ways it’s like leading two lives.  There are the times when he’s home and then there are the times when he’s not home (which is when I get most of my work done).  It makes it interesting to schedule my time but the way I do things in my practice are usually done to be able to spend as much time as I possibly can with him.

I like to read…..a lot.  My son asked me how many books I’ve read not too long ago and I figure it’s around 2,500 books give or take a couple of hundred.  While I’m sure there are people out there that have read more than that, the only person I know who’s read more books than I have is my uncle.

I both collect and play (when I have the time and when I can find someone to sit with me) war games.  My son’s favorite game right now is Middle Earth Quest and he’s taken to all things related to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit.  One of the things on my bucket list is to learn how to play Advanced Squad Leader so I can teach my son. I ‘m also a big Star Wars fan and have seen the movies more times than I can remember.

A few months after my 40th birthday I trained for and ran a half marathon.  The run was in October and prior to that August, I had never ran more than eight miles before in my life.  Since then, I’ve ran more than eight miles only once.  I’d like to run/walk a full marathon but our big one here in Detroit is in October and with the September 15th deadline, I haven’t found the time to train enough to do it.

I’m pretty involved at my son’s school.  I’m the PTA Treasurer and I also run the Math Pentathlon program.  It’s nice having the teachers and administrative staff know who you are at the school. UPDATE – My son switched schools because his mom moved. I’m no longer doing either of these but I’m finding new ways to help out at his new school.

Brian Borawski