Loyalty Matters: Edward Gonzalez
Edward Gonzalez is a successful business owner, a dedicated professional, and a devoted husband and father. He is honest, outgoing, friendly, and has strong moral principles, but perhaps what sets Edward aside from many others is his loyalty. That loyalty has been a key to his success.
As Edward was growing up in Kingwood, Texas, just outside of Houston, his dream was to become an attorney. He attended the University of Texas in Austin and graduated with a degree in Economics. He was all set for law school when his mom passed away unexpectedly due to complications from type I diabetes in 2001. Edward was only 19 years old when this sudden heartbreak resulted in a change of plans.
Edward’s parents, Rodrigo and Irma Gonzalez, owned and operated Gonzalez and Associates, Inc. for many years. After Irma’s passing, Rodrigo knew he would need a new business partner. He always hoped Edward would share his passion for taxes, but that wasn’t what Edward had planned for himself. Edward had helped out in the tax office and understood many of the procedures, but tax preparation was not where he was headed. After a little convincing, however, Edward decided to put law school on hold. Edward’s parents had always taught him to be loyal to his family and respectful to his parents, so even though it was a tough decision, Edward’s loyalty to his father would not allow him to say no. He told his father he would devote two years to helping him recover from the loss of his mother but after that he would be back on track for a career in law.
Two years passed rather quickly and to Edward’s surprise he found himself enjoying the life of tax and accounting. So much in fact, Edward started imagining himself as owner of the tax practice rather than employee. In 2009, he made a proposal to his dad to purchase the business and after a little negotiating Edward became the owner of Gonzalez and Associates, Inc.
As a new business owner, Edward wanted to make a few changes to the organization of Gonzalez and Associates. He believed a change in structure would increase their productivity and he felt the best way to do this would be to increase technology in the office. A bit of a technical guru himself, Edward implemented a few new processes and saw a 20 percent increase in business that first year. In the last three years, Gonzalez and Associates has added payroll to their list of available service and has earned the business of over 200 corporations. Currently, Gonzalez and Associates has over 5,000 clients. Several of their clients have relocated but still turn to Gonzalez and Associates for their tax, accounting, and consulting needs. Edward is happy today’s technology allows him to meet the needs of his clients from all across the nation.
Before Edward officially went to work for his father, he helped research tax preparation software and spent several years looking at different products. In 2000, their current software provider dissolved and they needed to find a software program that would not only meet their needs but be a good fit for their business. They took a look at several programs and finally settled on Drake Software. Edward could see that Drake was on the cutting-edge of technology as each year their software program grew to include the latest and greatest in tax software capabilities. In fact, Edward says that even now, “Drake Software gets better and better every year.” But even though the functionality was definitely important, it wasn’t the only reason Edward suggested the switch to Drake Software. Edward felt strongly about Drake because he had become familiar with the foundations on which Drake was built and he felt they shared similar values. Edward believes in what he refers to as old-fashioned customer service: helping clients with all their needs, treating clients fairly, and respect and appreciation of each his employees. Edward felt Drake stood on those same principles. It was important to him that they choose not just a great tax software program, but a great tax software provider too. He could not be happier with the choice they made so many years ago.
Edward has a great relationship with Drake. He appreciates the personal attention he receives and feels like the price he pays for his tax software suite is more than fair. He enjoys the automatic program updates, the overall structure and ease of use, the way it integrates with the Client Write-Up program, the productivity and efficiency it provides, and the look and feel of the software itself. He’s also very impressed by the customer service Drake offers and appreciates the fact that the technical support personnel are not outsourced but are, locally-based. He said, “Truthfully, I think Drake is doing everything right. They are in touch with their client base and update the software regularly to incorporate what their clients need.” And that’s exactly what Edward tries to do, not only meet but exceed his client’s needs.
Gonzalez and Associates specializes in sub-chapter corporations and small businesses. They have very loyal customers that depend on them for much more than tax preparation. They are often called upon for advice when someone is faced with a divorce, wishing to increase their savings, hoping to help their children find financial aid for college, or even purchasing property. Gonzalez and Associates is open year-round. Once a week, Rodrigo comes in to work with clients who have been depending on him for over three decades.
When asked what he likes best about being a business owner, Edward said he enjoys being his own boss, having the privilege to set his own hours, and the flexibility to spend more time with his family. He also appreciates the ability to maintain complete control of the daily operations of his business so that he can set goals and devise a plan to meet each and every one of them. He admits owning his own company can be stressful and it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but it affords him many opportunities that he is very grateful for and makes it very easy for him to say he is so thankful his life led him to Gonzalez and Associates.
Outside of work, Edward takes advantage of every chance he has to spend time with his family. He and his wife have three children, two daughters (10 years and 3 years) and a son (18 months). They enjoy traveling and spending time together at home. Edward tries to make it to the golf course at least one a week and he and his wife try to have a date night as often as possible.
What does the future hold for Edward and Gonzalez and Associates? Plans are underway to build an office park that will include the tax practice, an attorney’s office, an insurance office, and maybe a mortgage company. Construction should start within the next three years. After that, Edward may decide to go back to school and earn his master’s degree in accounting and then on to law school. He is approached about selling his business at least once of year but Edward plans to hang on to his company until he retires. At that time, many years from now, should one of his children decide to take over the family business, he’ll be both proud and honored. But if the road they take doesn’t lead to tax and accounting then he’ll sell the business and continue enjoying the life with which he’s been blessed.
What advice does Edward offer other business owners? It all starts with building good, solid relationships with both your clients and your staff. Edward speaks highly of his clients and makes it very clear that he cares about much more than making a comfortable living. He said, “My father taught me to treat people fairly and never take advantage of them.” He continued, “As long as you charge a fair price and treat your customer fairly, you can succeed.”
Edward enjoys his life and loves what he does. He respects and honors everyone he meets. He strives to be loyal to his family, his wife, his children, his employees, his clients, and even his tax software company. He’s a man of his word and serves as a great example to his peers, his staff, and his children. Edward Gonzalez is a man that not only earns his successes, he deserves them.