Her passion for “passing on the knowledge” has helped her business—and many other owners.
Pam Greene has been learning Spanish.
“I’m trying to pick it up a little bit,” she says, in an effort to better serve her clients at Amcom Tax and Accounting in Klamath Falls, Oregon. “But I’ve learned it’s more than just (studying). You’ve really got to get immersed in it.”
Half of her customers are Hispanic, she says. So while she practices her language skills, she has a full-time Spanish interpreter at the office to ensure quality service. “They’ll feel more confident speaking to someone who speaks their language,” she says.
A Path to Ownership
Before Pam Greene became a business owner—and started taking spanish classes to help her business—she worked at a tax consulting office. Entrepreneurship was nothing new to her, though: She’s been self-employed for more than 20 years, working with her husband who owns a farm in the basin.
“We’ve been self-employed forever,” says Greene, who oversaw the bookkeeping and tax accounting for the family farm.
And she knows firsthand the aggravating experience of trying to figure out the complicated tax system.
“When I hear about tax breaks for corporations, I think, ‘We’re small corporations, too. It’s not the same thing,’” she says. “I don’t think people understand the amount of taxes small businesses pay in the first place.”
About three years ago, Greene and a co-worker decided to buy out a local practice to start their own tax accounting firm.
“It’s trust that you sell,” she says. “Our clientele trusts us and are spreading the word.”
It seems to be paying off: Greene says that 2015 has been her busiest year yet.
Her success comes amidst Oregon’s tough business climate—and one that’s mostly run by Portland, too, she says. To boot: Oregon’s minimum wage is the second highest in the country, and the state recently passed a mandatory sick leave law.
Labor of Love
Greene, who also serves on the Leadership Council for NFIB/Oregon, says passing on the knowledge about the tax system is more than a job; it’s a passion.
“If I can help somebody understand [the system], then they have a better chance at succeeding in business,” she says. “I see so many go into their first year without making any estimates. So at the end of the first year, they learn they owe so much in taxes.”
Greene would advise business owners to seek out good planning tools and to keep good records beyond just what’s necessary come tax season. Consider that greater financial organization and having the right tools “not only saves time, but it can lead to smarter business decisions,” Greene says.