2020 was a strange tax season for all accountants but especially for someone like John Caton, CPA, who had 49 years of comparison! To celebrate 50 years working in Clark County, we chatted with John who joined the Integrated Tax Services team in 2013 after he found retirement wasn’t for him.
What inspired your lifetime career in tax and accounting?
Accounting was not my first profession of choice, nor my second. I entered college with a dream to work at NASA. When I realized no one wanted to be my lab partner because of my creative results, I switched to a history major with a minor in secondary education – thinking I’d be a high school teacher. But I questioned things too often and was politely asked to go visit the career guidance office.
All my assessments pointed in the direction of accounting and finance, so I enrolled in an entry-level accounting course. After completing the final exam in an hour (versus three) and only missing one question, I knew I had found my place.
Tell us about the serendipitous event that helped you start your own firm.
In 1974, after working at a large firm, I left to work for a gentleman who owned several businesses. We had different opinions of what financial standards looked like, and after a particularly unpleasant conversation, I quit.
As I stood in the parking lot thinking about how I was going to explain my early arrival home to my wife (in the middle of a recession with a mortgage to pay and a 2-month-old son to support) I noticed a truck with its hood up. I went to help, and the driver turned out to be the owner of a company. He said he wasn’t happy with his accountant, and his company ended up being my first client.
Relationships are key. That business was still my client when I sold my firm in 2010.
Has 2020 has been the most interesting of your professional career?
Absolutely! The working conditions and suspense element were intriguing to say the least. Working remotely from your colleagues is challenging. Email does not make up for the ability to poke your head in someone’s office and untangle a problem together. Plus, the tax rules changed frequently, so each day presented a new challenge.
Learn more about Integrated Tax Services at www.its-taxes.com