Spotlight on Success: Paul Long’s Secret? A Good Pair of Shoes and a Great Accountant

September 30, 2021
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Paul Long is a speaker, author, podcaster, and self-proclaimed master of shenanigans from Osawatomie, Kansas.

He started his career at an insurance underwriter’s call center straight out of college with a business degree. Customers would call, most often with a complaint, and he was the first point of contact.

“I had to find a way to challenge monotony,” Long said. “I enjoyed the puzzle aspect and hopefully brought a smile to their day.”

Leadership eventually recognized that approach and asked Long to lead its culture change by working with a consulting firm, which eventually offered Long a position with their team. While he took the leap, it didn’t come without struggles.

“We operated in the red, had lots of credit card debt, and wasn’t sure we’d make it through,” Long said, “but I was more in control of my outcomes, and I was free-minded to take control of my situation.”

He ultimately returned to the insurance company to lead its culture change efforts in Portland, Oregon. While Long said he had everything society said would make him happy (money, value, and opportunity), he still wasn’t fulfilled. He gave his notice, flew back to Kansas, and invested into the pursuit of “fundamism” to create his self-named motivational speaking firm.

After studying fellow speaker Keith Harrell’s success, Long challenged himself again. He gave his first keynote to about 100 attendees at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in Lawrence, Kansas, in 2017 and now travels the world delivering keynotes and training for companies from the Fortune 500 to local entities, government agencies, and trade associations.

But Long is a sole entrepreneur speaker first and financial manager second.

A Need for More Financial Literacy

“When I was consulting, someone told me you spend money on a good pair of shoes and a great accountant,” Long said.

He spent seven years with his original accountant but started to realize a change was due when reaching out to his tax accountant became one of his most significant stressors. Communication, connection, and accessibility were top of mind when Long went shopping for a new accountant.

Long knew the basic rules of small business management, keeping receipts for seven years and such, but while he knows his intentions are good, he admits he’s not as financially literate as he’d like.

“As an independent business owner, I’m not fearful of much in life,” Long said. “But I don’t like being ignorant in certain spaces. That’s magnified by the fact if I’m not great at it or if it takes me away from the things I’m good at, I’m going to put my efforts somewhere. For example, I’m not going to educate myself on tax law.”

Long’s previous accountant would automatically extend his tax returns, something Long didn’t want as he’s motivated to get out from under debt and have peace of mind to know how much money he has or owes and pay it immediately. So he connected with Goering & Granatino.

“That’s something that Frank and Amber immediately started doing,” Long said. “They identified I had a tax liability and said, ‘Oh, side note, we need to change the way you’re paying yourself because it creates more liability.”

Finding Peace of Mind

After a two-year process to work through his headspace, Long officially transferred his accounting to Goering & Granatino in 2020. If Goering & Granatino team has done anything for Long, he says, it’s that they’ve completely alleviated the fear of the tax process.

“The Goering & Granatino team is responsive, and they always have someone to answer a call or email if you have something pressing and informative,” Long said. “They also educate, even on issues they don’t have to do.”

Take Long’s QuickBooks process. While Long is a keynote speaker by trade, he also has other sources of revenue, such as his recently published book, a workbook for clients, T-shirts, and his Fundamism University. He says while he doesn’t always know what to do, the Goering & Granatino team provides advice and guidance on entering data in addition to handling the regular transactions, payroll, and all IRS notices.

Goering & Granatino’s connection to the community is equally important to Long.

“Being a staple in the community is not just serving those you work for, but those who need your help,” Long said. “I’m emotionally connected to a pediatric cancer nonprofit, Noah’s Bandage Project, and Goering & Granatino haven’t just become volunteers; they provide accounting support as needed. And it’s not the only philanthropic cause they get behind.”

Long, who’s spoken to engineers, funeral home directors, C-suite professionals, bankers, retirement professionals, and now CPAs, says that while accountants have a reputation for being dry and laser-focused, the Goering & Granatino team breaks that mold.

“They have connected with me personally and professionally in a way I didn’t see or believe was possible from a CPA firm,” he said.