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Meet Dawn Appling E.A. of ProTouch Finance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Appling E.A.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As far as the beginnings of my fondness for Accounting, (I could say “my love for Accounting”, but those two words in the same sentence creep people out 🙂 ), my beginnings go back to hanging out in my grandmother’s craft store. She held handmade crafts on consignment and sold them. There was the writing of the receipts, item for item, then a percentage of the sale would be allocated to the store and to the makers of the items. After each sale, I would sneak back to the back room where the walls of binders of Accounting for each client were kept, and get in the books calculating the percentages, and recording my results in the books. I’d get in trouble for messing around in the books at such a young age, but my grandma would be surprised at how accurate I was! My first few years of college I started Pre-med, and then at some point I decided I wanted to be a psychologist, but neither profession stuck.

In 2002, I went to work for Sherrie, a tax attorney in Sacramento, CA. She ran a small firm in conjunction with a Real Estate Brokerage and an Investment club. My first day, she ran down the basics of one of her corporate clients who was being audited, and how to set up the bookkeeping substantiation, and left to travel across the country, leaving me responsible for completing the package, and I’ve been flying ever since. Back then, the tax software was so expensive that any work I did on the side had to be done with pencil and paper. lol. To this day I still work with Sherrie which is amazing because she gave me my beginning and I am able to give back and help her out form a more experienced perspective

In 2006, I partnered with a business associate and family friend, Velma and we started our first business venture (at the time the company was called A&B Business Associates). It took some years to actually build the foundation to what ProTouch Finance is today, but it was a very humble beginning.

As a single mom of 3 daughters, and eager to migrate out of the often tumultuous northern California atmosphere, In 2011 I relocated my family to Baton Rouge, which is where the name ProTouch Finance was originated. At the time, I would travel back and forth between Baton Rouge and Houston visiting a friend of 20+ years and the only person I knew in the south. There is a “the sky’s the limit” atmosphere in Houston that I just hated to leave every time I left, and within a year I had made Houston home.

In early 2013, after a miserably failed attempt to run/grow a business, go to school and raise 3 daughters, I went to work for a small CPA firm on Houston’s SW side. I had the opportunity to work for two of the best (in my opinion) CPA’s in the business. It was while I worked at Robert R. Sims and Associates, and worked with Mike Girala, CPA, that passed the 3 part Enrolled Agent exam and received the E.A. credential in July of 2014. I remained at RRS until the passing of Robert Sims Sr at the end of 2015.

Since, I have been growing and finding a purpose in ProTouch Finance in helping others. Tax law is very expansive and can be overwhelming for individuals, especially if there is a business involved. We strive to provide personal individualized service to help clients get through their tax issues, and/or maintain a positive standing with the IRS and other state and local taxing authorities.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think the road seems smooth for two minutes at a time, once every year. 😉 As a single mother of 3, getting through school, building a business and maintaining sanity has been everything BUT a smooth road. Finding a balance between kids, work/business and furthering education is a daily challenge in and of itself. There is a lot of trial and error involved. I think I mentioned failing miserably at trying to build my business as a new Houston resident, maintain 3 school aged kids and going to school full time. In retrospect, I guess that doesn’t even seem feasible but getting to a point of success no matter how large or small is going to include failure and learning what NOT to do at some point.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ProTouch Finance – what should we know?
ProTouch Finance specializes in individual tax preparation and bookkeeping, payroll and other matters pertaining to small-medium sized businesses. We provide tax debt analysis, financial planning, bookkeeping services, federal and state tax form preparation, and representation services in a way that is individually formatted and tailored to fit the needs of individuals and the businesses that drive them.

One of the things that sets us apart from other firms similar to ours is that we take a vested interest in our clients. From tax planning to analyzing financial statements, we go the extra mile to ensure our clients have the information they need to make better financial decisions.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people that deserve credit. My faith would get credit first, but as far as people go, the support of my kids, family and friends has been essential. I really have a real good team behind me. In the beginning, I had the opportunity to work for and learn from Sherrie, who is a Tax Attorney and amazing at audit relief. I also have to give credit to Mike Girala who is a CPA here in Houston. He sort of mentored me while I was studying to take the EA exam. I’ve really had the opportunity to work for and learn from some of the best in the business along my path.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Destiny Joy Photography (Sacramento, CA)
Artistic Works Photography (Houston, TX)

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