Tuesday – Geoff is a zombie CPA

Well yes, it was difficult to raise myself this morning, but we have to help people and drink coffee.  We set out back into the French Quarter for breakfast at the Café du Monde.  The world famous beignets and coffee helped make the sunshine feel even nicer.  We were guided expertly through the Quarter by Bill Norris, tour guide and resident.  His enthusiasm and knowledge was brilliant – the area become more than a simple postcard.  We were also able to tour the areas, such as the 9th Ward, where there was extensive destruction.


It’s difficult to encapsulate what was in front of us – grids of cement foundations, half rebuilt residences once glorious depictions of Creole architecture, boarded up two stories looking vacantly at the sun, modern marvels developed by Brad Pitt’s team and simple empty lots with burnt out grass covering the graves of a once vital neighborhood.   In a way it felt like the people were tending a dead garden, still, three years after Katrina.  The expectation is that it could be a ten year project to fully rebuild.  Unfortunately, where people have done a great job of rebuilding in sparse patches, across the street is their neighbor’s house boarded up and rotting.  You can only imagine the negative motivation of watching life around you rot.


As we drove by one house there was a fellow sitting on the front stoop just waiting.  It’s uncertain to me whether he was waiting for the boarded up house to fall down or for someone to walk down the street with hammer and nails.  We’re privileged to work with and learn about Operation Hope.  All these free resources available to small businesses and so many stand on the sidelines waiting for their opportunity to pass by.


Collectively, as a group, we were really churning out great meetings with clients.  Tom Pender, our esteemed leader from North Carolina describes this as a non-linear mission; The Horror.  Accountants that work in paths like this get deep into the jungle and don’t come back.  You know what, though?  When you’re not concerned about billable hours, the blood of our public accounting existence, it becomes easier to just listen to your client’s story and propose one improvement.  We can’t fix all of the problems that these people bring in their dusty boxes.  For the most part we’ve found clients who are on the right track; we just need to be a sounding board and bring them some focus.  The most difficult part, from my perspective, is showing up in the morning not knowing who you’re going to meet with or what problems may need to be resolved.  Non-linear. 


When I was starting out in public accounting I prayed for the day when I could get past doing input work and looking everything up and I could just answer a client question with a clear, concise answer.  That took a while to get to that point, but now with experience it gets better every time.  An opportunity like this stretches your abilities, but it’s a great feeling.  There is a whole team of people here stretching at the same time and the synergies are pretty awesome.


Speaking of great, we got back out into the city for dinner to the Crescent City Brew House.  It was a long day where I pushed my body and mind enough to deserve an early cash out.  Some folks went to the casinos to further their “stretching,” but I was satisfied that my bed sufficiently missed me.


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