042: The Courage To Be Different with Joshua Lance
Joshua Lance is the founder and managing director of Lance CPA Group, which provides virtual accounting services to craft breweries and digital agencies. Josh’s work has earned him industry-wide recognition, being recently listed on the CPA Practice Advisor’s 40 Under 40 list for 2018. He also provides pro bono services to non-profits and helped launch Socially Beneficial Investments, which provides new immigrants with housing.
In this episode, Josh discusses how Lance CPA Group embraces a far better work-life balance than its competitors, describes how Lance CPA helps out non-profits, and explains why he considers vulnerability a great asset.
What was Josh’s vision when he started Lance CPA and how does his firm differ from others out there?
Applied what he liked and avoided what he didn’t like about the previous forms he worked for.
Didn’t want this job to be the be all, end all for his employees, allowing them to enjoy time off, work from home, etc.
How did the accounting industry react when he announced his business plan?
Some of his peers didn’t grasp his idea, so it was a challenge, but he was able to find a group of likeminded accountants to build his practice with.
Had to fight against the preconception that clients want or need to visit their accountant’s office rather than communicate virtually.
Was starting his own firm always one of Josh’s goals?
Not really, though he’s always been an entrepreneur at heart and that drive ended up helping him when he wanted to make a change.
What was it like quitting his old job and taking the leap to launch Lance CPA?
He had no passion for his job at the time in spite of the benefits, so while it was a big leap it was one he needed to do.
Admits he was afraid of what would happen if it didn’t work, but once he got past it he was able to focus on what did work and what he found fulfilling.
What were some the challenges he faced in the early months of launching his firm?
Figuring out all of the little logistical tasks that come with running your own business.
Not many people showed up to his early symposiums; had to find better ways to advertise.
Was able to work these issues by focusing on social media at a time when few accounting firms did.
How did he create Lance CPA’s culture?
Encouraged risk-taking and open discussion among his employees.
What is “courageous authenticity”?
Being transparent, vulnerable and honest.
Cuts against the norm for most accounting firms, which are defined by conformity and going with the flow.
Needs to be able to take criticism and honest feedback from his employees and clients.
What is Josh’s advice for entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in “bigger is better” industries like accounting and legal services?
It’s okay to the different and push against the existing structures and trends.
Seek out other people in this industry who are trying something similar; you can collaborate, help each other out.
Why and how does Josh give back?
Working with different communities, he’s realized how many people are in need and that you need to invest in others without expecting a return.
It’s rewarding to help people out with budgets, financial planning, non-profits lacking in funds, etc.
Can provide non-profit organizations with structure and support even if they can’t directly donate.
What is Socially Beneficial Investments?
A group that Josh helped launch, where they buy real estate and rent it to non-profits at below-market prices.
Lets these groups get an infrastructure foothold even if they couldn’t normally afford it.
Been able to help out Latin-American families move into lower-income housing rented by these non-profits; in time they’ll have enough money to move out and buy their own places.
What’s Josh’s advice for entrepreneurs and others looking to work from home?
Find a quiet place with few distractions.
Who has been the most impactful person in Josh’s journey to do well and achieve financial success?
His dad, for his work ethic and how he shaped their family.
Who has been the most impactful person in Josh’s drive to do good?
His wife, for supporting his dreams and willing to take risks with him.
What does Josh do to get himself out of a funk?
Watching episodes of The Office.
What book does Josh recommend to those seeking a more successful path in life?
“Hope For The Day achieves proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education.
“Suicide completion rates have surged to a 30-year high. Suicide has no prejudice, and each year more than 800,000 die in this silence. In the United States, over 44,000 people die by suicide every year, averaging 121 suicide completions each day. “Suicide is a preventable mental health crisis. The primary obstacle to suicide prevention is the silence of stigma. Stigmas are social and cultural factors that try to dictate how we express ourselves and compel individuals to be silent on their internal experiences. Too often, we do not discuss mental health or suicide until it directly impacts our community. “Proactive prevention is about creating an environment that doesn’t wait for someone to reach a point of crisis to address their mental health. In doing proactive prevention, individuals step up to take action and facilitate the conversation on mental health in their spaces.”