New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the whole work-life balance. At NJ Mom, we want to highlight these extraordinary women building NJ businesses and learn the secret to their success.
Financial Therapist & NJ Mom: Sara Laufer
NJ Mom, Sara Laufer, the owner of a CPA and Tax Business called Laufer CPA, based out of Weehawken has been busy building her business and brand here in New Jersey. NJ Mom had the opportunity to ask Sara a few questions about her business and herself; here’s what she had to share.
NJ MOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Sara: I have my own CPA/Tax business. I offer very personalized tax and accounting services to individuals and small businesses. As a tax professional, you really become closely intertwined in your clients financial picture — I feel like their financial therapist! You know if they’re married or divorced, you know how many kids, how much they spend on childcare and/or tuition, their income, their financial investment picture, how much their home is valued for, how much they donate to charities, etc. You know how their businesses are doing year after year and how they spend their money to grow their businesses. I use all of this information to really dig deep in my relationship with my clients to ensure I can give them the best advice and ensure they are able to get the maximum tax refund permissible by law for their situations.
I am their trusted advisor!
There are a slew of tax businesses out there, but very few of them are able to spend the time to connect with their clients and do more than just a tax return. My goal is to really help them throughout the year with all of their financial, accounting and tax concerns.
About half of my clients are women with their own businesses — it is so inspiring to work with all of these women (and moms!) who have such amazing ideas and have put them into action!
NJ MOM: How did you come up with the idea for your business? What inspired you?
Sara: I received my CPA license right after college and worked in the crazy NYC corporate finance and accounting world. I loved my experience during those 12 years…working my way up the corporate ladder, business travel, board meetings, long hours and a successful career. But I just felt something was missing. I started this side business as a small little project to see if I would enjoy it. Well, year after year, it kept growing and I fell in love with the concept that I’m actually helping people directly. Most people shudder at the idea of taxes — but to me it’s just a big giant puzzle and I love putting all the pieces together! As my client base grew, each client brought a new challenge, and I loved researching their issues and providing answers and a game plan.
After I had my first child, I went back to work and I realized that I needed to have more balance in my life. So that’s when I left the corporate world and focused on my own business! I now work crazy hours for 3 months a year and am able to manage a reasonable schedule the rest of the year. And I also now have 2 kids!
NJ MOM: What is your background in taxes?
Sara: I’ve always been a math and puzzle solving girl. In high school, I would sit at the kitchen table and cry if I had to write a paper, but I would have no issue solving a 2 hour AP calculus problem. I went to Bucknell University and loved the accounting courses that I was required to take for my business degree — so I decided to pursue further and majored in Accounting. A year after graduation, I received my CPA license. Since then, annually I’m required to do 40 hrs/year of continuing education to keep my license active. I’m happy to report (and so are my parents!) that I’ve used and applied my education in my everyday career.
NJ MOM: Who is your role model?
Sara: I know this is a standard answer, but I’d have to say my parents. They have always been my #1 supporters and fans (and my husband fits in that category too!). My dad always had his own business and I grew up watching up him enjoy the luxuries and endure the stresses of it. My mom has always worked, but always in part time flexible capacity. This meant that my parents were able to come to all of my events, games and we were able to have family dinners every night. I’ve combined both of their career ideals into my business! And I definitely have my moms multi-tasking skills and my dads work ethic — work hard, play hard!
NJ MOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Sara: As mentioned above… Work hard, play hard. With my business, it’s so cyclical. I have to put in very long days for a few months of the year. I make sacrifices during those months with my family so that I can work. But then you have to let go and enjoy every minute of free time with your family. Whether it’s a sunny day with the kids in your neighborhood playground, family vacations, nights out with your husband, family parties, girls weekends with your friends….we work hard for a reason — so go enjoy that hard earned money and live, love, and play!
NJ MOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Sara: We live in Weehawken — which is right next to Hoboken along the Hudson River. Walking or biking along our waterfront feels like a vacation. The view of NYC is glorious, the walkway is full of young families, and the restaurants along the water are vibrant and fun. I feel so lucky to have this in my “backyard”. We love to vacation at the Shore in the summer. Pre-children we always used to go to Avalon. Now with the kids in tow, we spend a lot of time in LBI and Ocean City. We love the beach!
NJ MOM: What are your favorite businesses in NJ?
NJ MOM: What are your favorite things to do in NJ?
Sara: Anything I can do with my family and kids is my favorite! So give me a day at the beach and watch my kids play in the sand and jump the waves…or a day at the Liberty Science Center so they can explore…or just hopping on the ferry to NYC to go look at the “huge towers” and all the “yellow taxis and city buses”. These little things bring huge smiles to my kids faces and make the happiest momma ever!
NJ MOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in NJ?
I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my husband.
He has to step up to the plate so much during tax season to help with both our children and household responsibilities. A special shoutout to my mom, my aunt and all of our babysitters who also help us out tremendously. Having a support network is so important when launching your business (whether it’s from your husband, parents or friends!). Oh, and also, stay on top of your finances and your taxes. There are so many transactions that happen in your life that impact your financial and tax situation — and you don’t want to wait until you file your taxes to know how it will impact you. Stay on top of it. Stay on the good side of the IRS. Lastly, find an honest, trustworthy and communicative tax advisor to help you through these challenges.
To learn more about how Sara can help you manage and grow your NJ business, taxes and family’s financial portfolio, visit laufercpa.com.