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The NASE Presents $30,000 Achievement Award To Member

Friday, October 30, 2009
Startup Accounting Firm Receives Third Annual Award
By Kristi Gunster

A year ago, Maryland CPA Tiffany Washington would never have dreamed that she would be adding $30,000 to her own business’s ledgers. But thanks to the NASE’s 2009 Achievement Award, that’s exactly what she’s doing.

It all started in October 2008 when Washington received a $3,000 NASE Business Development Grant. She used the funds to purchase tax preparation software, office equipment and supplies for her then 1-year-old startup business, Washington Accounting Services. The grant money also helped her move out of a home office and into an office building, a space more favorable for meeting with clients.

Less than six months later, by the end of the tax season, Washington had quadrupled her income from the previous year.

The NASE recognized the productive ways Washington used her grant funds to grow her startup business. And to help her accounting firm continue its expansion, the association presented her with the $30,000 Achievement Award.

Launching A Business
It was early into her short career in the accounting service industry when Washington, 25, recognized that she was fulfilled by helping people. But because her corporate job more often involved helping major corporations, she began working with small businesses part time on the side.

“As I started seeing the impact I could have with these small-business owners, I realized I could become one myself and be able to do what I really love,” she says.

She was contemplating taking the leap of faith to leave her job and start her own business when her corporate position was downsized.

Like thousands of others who lost their jobs in the economic downturn, Washington became an entrepreneur out of necessity. She responded positively to the event, and she says she believes her downsizing was destiny.

As soon as she started her accounting business, Washington joined the NASE. Making smart business decisions, which included applying for an NASE Business Development Grant, she created the successful and fulfilling career that she had imagined for herself.

Her aptly named Washington Accounting Services—a play on her last name, her 30-mile proximity to the nation’s capital and even her new business street address—now serves a client base made up of more than 80 percent sole proprietors.

Putting The Award To Work
Washington received her award during a ceremony at the NASE’s Washington, D.C., office. She was accompanied by her new assistant, parents, grandmothers and 3-year-old son, Jaden.

Washington has big plans for the award money she received.

She says she’ll invest in creating an accounting and tax education seminar series for current and potential clients, as well as make improvements to her Web site and marketing efforts. Now that she has the capital required, she also plans to explore options to begin bidding on government accounting contracts.

“The NASE Business Development Grant gave me confidence to pursue larger goals and take my business further,” Washington says. “Now with this unbelievable NASE Achievement Award, the possibilities are just endless.”

Freelancer Kristi Gunster relies completely on her CPA to navigate her small business's finances. Contact her at Kristi@GunsterCommunications.com.

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