Journey to Success
A tax professional recently elected mayor of his town shares the story of his journey to success.
Pat DeBlasio, a tax professional and political leader, was recently elected mayor of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. In his new position, Pat will deal with the thorny issues of passing tax simplification laws and removing nuisance taxes such as the garbage and mercantile tax. He will also continue to play an integral role in his family’s tax practice, DeBlasio and DeBlasio Associates.
Janet DeBlasio, Pat’s mother, founded DeBlasio and DeBlasio Associates in 1958. She was one of the first female CPAs licensed in Pennsylvania. When it was time for her husband, Pasquale, to fulfill the requirements to obtain his CPA license, he worked under his wife to gain the professional experience he needed. Together, they have grown a powerhouse family business.
Pat, the oldest of four brothers, has many childhood memories of his parent’s tax practice. He remembers his time there fondly and was always excited to pull the hand lever on the vintage adding machine. But he never thought he’d grow up to be a tax preparer. He originally planned to program computer software and earned a degree in computer science from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
While pursuing his degree, however, Pat fulfilled his elective requirements with accounting classes and discovered he had a flair for solving large-scale tax problems. His brother Franco, a partner at DeBlasio and DeBlasio said, “Pat comes up with elegant solutions to complex tax situations that result in a minimum amount of tax exposure.” It just made sense that Pat would use his skills and talents to help his family’s business thrive.
In the early 1980s, Pat’s parents hesitated before transitioning to computers and software. Pat had a knack for technology and wanted to help his parents make the transition into the computerized world of tax and accounting. He very quickly found his place in his parent’s firm. “Pat’s vision was of a future in which accounting would be processed entirely by computers,” said Franco.
Pat became a CPA, but his primary focus continued to be technology. As tax preparation software began to be favored by tax professionals, Pat did a little research and settled on a company he felt would provide them with software that would best meet their needs. After struggling with numerous software choices over 20 years, Pat and his family knew that they had to find a software that worked for them in order to survive. Pat describes that period as “a bad marriage” and “the most miserable part of [his] professional life.” Pat did a little more research and decided to switch to Drake Software. He started with a trial version, had success with the Pay-Per-Return program, and quickly upgraded to the full-package suite. His first impression was that, “Drake just worked.” He added, “It didn’t require a series of unrelated questions on each screen. I didn’t have to search around for the right screen to input data because the flow of the software just made sense.” And perhaps best of all, “Drake was and always has been upfront about what the program can and cannot do. They don’t make promises just to get you to buy their software. They’re true to their word and honest about what they offer.” DeBlasio and DeBlasio has been customers of Drake Software for 10 years and still feels it’s a great fit.
Pat maintains Drake excels in many areas. He raves about the speed of data entry and calculations, the fact that returns are automatically saved in the Drake Document Manager when they are e-filed, and the phenomenal technical support. He said, “They always answer the phone on the first or second ring – even on April 15.” He added, “It’s great to talk to a human being without falling into a web of voice prompts first. And it’s nice that they’re willing to assist anyone from our office that needs help, rather than insisting on speaking with one sole contact.” He’s also pleased with the state modules. He said, “Pennsylvania local returns can be a pain in the neck, but Drake does them and does them well.”
After recovering from years of dissatisfaction with his tax software, Pat now feels like everything is moving forward. “Drake is one heck of a tool. It includes lots of little gems, like the tax planner, that makes the product continue to be a truly great value.” He added, “We couldn’t have built our business to what it is today without Drake Software.” He elaborated by saying, “Drake’s software is simple to administer and efficient in its user interface. The software gives us more time to focus on tax planning and billing clients rather than being bogged down in the overhead of administering our tax preparation software.”
The first bit of advice Pat would offer a tax professional hoping to have a successful career would be to choose the right tax software, and he most definitely recommends Drake. He also said a tax professional should be sure they are in the right business before taking any leaps. He said, “CPAs are like financial doctors. My mom says it’s a calling. If you’re going to be good at it, you have to like doing it.”
DeBlasio and DeBlasio operates alongside the DeBlasio Group which offer many services including bookkeeping and payroll processing, assisting with tax audits, and much more. Pat is very active in both sides of the business. They are open all year but closed on Sundays. On the tax end, they prepare and process all types of returns. They have extended hours starting the day before the IRS begins accepting returns and ending the day after the filing deadline. And they have a “clean box” policy which means, if a client provides them with all the information they need to prepare their return, it will be completed that same day – even if that means they work until midnight. Their inbox is empty before they go home and each day starts with a new set of clients.
Pat wears many hats. He’s a tax professional, network administrator, software programmer, entrepreneur, son, brother, and of course, mayor. He’s also a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. In his free time, Pat enjoys scuba diving and has made several impressive voyages, the most recent being to the Cayman Islands.
Congratulations, Mayor DeBlasio, on the recent election, and here’s to another year full of hard work and success.