It’s What You Keep

 

Larry Kessler Financial Services is an example of how to create an accounting firm built on friendships, trust, and fair dealings. 

“I don’t advertise,” he says. “I focus on giving each client a better job than they have ever seen, combined with the best service I can give.  I now handle second and third-generation clients, the children and grandchildren of clients I have had from my early days.” 

His tax partner of choice is Drake Software. 

“I started with Drake in 2009 because a colleague was using the software and absolutely raved about the customer support,” said Kessler.  “I had other software but was helping him out with some of his returns on his Drake software and I was hooked.  And now, I’m the one telling other tax professionals how great Drake Software is.” 

Kessler didn’t set out to become an accountant.  In fact, two years into a pre-medicine curriculum at Brooklyn College, he realized that he wouldn’t have the financial resources to attend medical school. 

He switched his major to accounting and completed all the courses in his final two years of college.  The real education came at the suggestion of his professor of federal tax law, who suggested that if the class wanted to really understand tax law they should work as a seasonal tax preparer.  Kessler walked across the street and accepted a job with H&R Block. 

“I started doing tax returns for friends and relatives, and eventually became their accountant,” he says.  “Back in 1978, there were few computer programs, or computers for that matter, and all the tax returns were done by hand.  I learned more by actually doing tax returns than I think I ever could have learned just by reading about how to do them.” 

 “By 1982 I was working full time for an accounting firm, and also serving my own set of clients.  I had a lot of respect for the senior partner of that firm, so when my practice started getting busy I was open and honest with him and we agreed to a part time working relationship.  When it was time for me to completely break out on my own, instead of quitting and letting any of his clients come to me, I approached him and told him that these clients would prefer to stay with me, but that I would prefer to purchase them from him and not just take them away.” 

“To this day, I still have some of those clients, and because I did the right thing, I have maintained a friendship with the senior partner in that firm.” 

Working from his offices on Long Island and midtown Manhattan, Kessler is an enrolled agent, privileged to represent clients before the IRS.  He provides over 100 business clients and 300-400 individual clients with accounting, tax, financial planning, and wealth management services. 

Kessler grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, was co-captain of the swimming and wrestling teams at Sheepshead Bay High School, and earned his accounting degree at Brooklyn College.  He is still an avid swimmer and Master Scuba Diver Trainer and has made multiple dives to the wreck of the Andrea Doria off the coast of Massachusetts.  Active in his Temple and community, he also frequents late night blues clubs in the New York City area.  He is so well known in the blues clubs as the accountant for many famous musicians and is often considered part of the band without having to actually play an instrument.

GiantStride

“For a very long time, my main office was a room in my home, whether it was the second bedroom in my Brooklyn apartment, or the massive construction project that added a real office to the back of my Lido Beach home,” he says.  “But in the past three or four years, I have added on a new part of the practice with partners in a midtown Manhattan office where we specialize in financial planning and investment management.” 

 “As business grows, you have to find better and more efficient ways of handling things while maintaining the expected level of excellence that is your trademark.  I don’t really want to be a ‘tax mill’ and do 3,000 tax returns. I have become a boutique type operation where every number placed on a tax return is carefully considered and analyzed for accuracy.  Final diagnostics are done on every tax return to make sure that they are accurate and make sense,” he adds. 

Kessler says that there is no such thing as a typical day.  During tax season, his days can be 20 hours long and seven days per week.  When it is not tax season, he schedules meetings with clients in NYC spaced strategically enough to get in up to 8 miles of walking in a day.  He makes sure to schedule lunch or dinner plans with clients, to keep in touch and make sure that all their needs are met.  Every client, he asserts, is unique and deserves the time. 

“The numbers in the boxes all look the same on a tax return,” he says, “but behind those numbers are people running businesses.  That’s why you never sacrifice quality for quantity.  I don’t rush through tax returns just to get them done, as it is always better to do it right, than to do it right now.  On the back of my business card is printed ‘The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.’  Someone else will always do the job for less, but quality rises to the top.”

 “Our goal is to do the best for our clients’ portfolios with an eye towards the tax implications of everything that they do.  We like to say, ‘It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.’  At the end of the day, getting a client in the highest tax brackets a better rate on his investments in something with no risk that is completely safe and protected is very satisfying for us as tax professionals.” 

“Drake has helped to streamline my tax return preparation and there are still many aspects of Drake’s software products that I haven’t even taken full advantage of.  They provide excellent support, and the support professionals have become both friends and business partners.  I recommend Drake Software often.  I am a big fan and not shy about voicing my opinion.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. I have known Larry Kessler for over 30 years and he has been my accountant for as long. I have sent many friends and relatives to Larry for his services and everyone of them remains a client till today. He is the very best. He is a true believer in the phrase “Why is there never enough time to do a job right, but always enough time to do it over”…. There are no “do-overs” with Larry. He gets it right the first time. If you are looking for a very special accounting service and a very SPECIAL Man, then go see Larry Kessler.

  2. Larry is my lifeline. I started working with him 3 years ago, after being referred to him by my fiance and future father in-law, who have both had a relationship with Larry that spans decades. That in itself speaks volumes. But when I found Larry….I was quite literally found. Tax season was always a very high-strung time for me. I am obsessive and inquisitive and sometimes quite annoying. Since meeting Larry I no longer dread my taxes because I know he will take care of everything for me. He literally absorbs my stress and worries. When I say that I send him emails with endless questions at all hours of the day and night….it’s an understatement. He not only takes the time to clarify everything, but he manages to do so faster than anyone I have ever worked with. He is patient and kind and thorough. And he also maintains the most wonderful sense of humor throughout the entire process. I never feel like I’m just another person in line for his service. His efforts are personal. I genuinely trust him as a person and a professional, and would seek out his advice on any financial matter. I don’t know what I would do without him. I’m a client for life.

  3. Larry has built his business on relationships. He was recommended to me over 14 years ago when I was setting up a mom and pop film production company by a lovely and business savvy French actress/director who had recently launched a theater company with her partner. I knew this woman to be incredibly meticulous, so when she spoke glowingly of Larry and his integrity and willingness to work with people with careers in the arts, I didn’t look any further. Since then, Larry has been one of few constants in a freelance film career that has been anything but linear. He has stuck with me through periods of personal and professional upheaval on my part, somehow remaining calm and personable even when I know he’s functioning on minimal sleep. I don’t know of many people who refer to their accountants as friends, but I think of Larry this way and suspect I’m in very good company. At the same time, I rely on his professionalism and good humor whenever tax deadlines loom on the horizon!

  4. Larry Kessler cares about his clients. He may be dealing with numbers, but a client isn’t one to him. Over the years he has gone out of his way to provide 200% service, while at the same time respecting my financial situation. He is fair and honest, but with his knowledge, still manages to get the best “deal” for his client.

  5. Larry Kessler is absolutely amazing. He is a magical accounting fairy who makes all my problems go away with a little sprinkle of spreadsheet dust. He has been my guide every step of the way, teaching me how to run my business better year by year. I owe a great deal of my success to his wisdom, patience, and late-night emails!

    • Hi Bremda,
      Currently we do not offer EA training. However, we are set to release an Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course (AFTR) for preparers wanting to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) course in the next week or so, and we also offer continuing education for all preparers on our DrakeETC.com site, and via any of our face-to-face training events. If you have any specific questions about training, email Education@DrakeSoftware.com. Thank you for your interest!

  6. Larry has been our company’s saving grace. Not only has he managed to clean up very bad previous accounting practice, but also has done so with keeping us all calm and forward moving. Taking time to educate us as he prepares taxes, as well as countless moments of talking us through processes to make sure they are being set up right now from the start, makes him a honorary team member. We were referred to him by our bookkeeper, who also has been a miracle worker for us. We are now set up for success and growth, and we look forward to many more years with Larry!
    PS. That means at least another 10 years before you can retire or think about it 🙂

Comments are closed.