Small Business Q&A: John Michael Miller, CPA Inc.
January is time to get paperwork in order for the Internal Revenue Service.
John Miller is a certified public accountant and hands-on president of his corporation. He takes responsibility for managing the cash flow of the business, and keeping employees and Cobb EMC paid.
Miller plus eight full-time and two part-time staff service an estimated 2,000 clients.
"We'll file about 3,000-5,000 tax returns this year," Miller said. "We help people solve their tax problems, like catching up with unfiled returns, arranging for installment payments for monies owed the I.R.S. and answering letters the I.R.S. has sent them."
The firm also helps set up small businesses and provides payroll and monthly accounting work.
Another service provided by Miller is advising businesses and individuals on tax related matters of financial planning.
Miller classifies the current economy as unusual. "This recession has had ups and downs instead of gains only," he said. "The national debt is a serious matter. It's still doable to straighten it out, but we can't keep borrowing because at some point there will be nothing left to borrow."
Q. What's the best thing about your job?
A. I love what I do. I get to meet really nice people.
Helping someone with their taxes lets you get to know them personally. I get to see what's really going on out there.
The work is challenging. There's always something to learn. I have a law degree but haven't taken the time to pass the bar, yet.
Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?
A. Atlanta, in general, has a lot of people. Everybody comes from somewhere else.
When I first moved here from New York City in 1992, I did a lot of out-of-state tax returns. I still do a lot.
Many people don't have family networks here. In New York, it's common for someone in the family to be, or know, an accountant.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?
A. I live near here. I want to live in the suburbs but be near Atlanta.
Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?
A. I'm good at it. I always got A's in high school math courses. I have a master degree in accounting and an undergraduate degree in mathematics.
Q. What are some of the services you offer that people don't know about?
A. We help our clients, and people who just come in and ask, in a number of ways.
Once a client needed help ordering his medications over the Internet because he doesn't have a computer and doesn't know how to use one.
I've helped couples prepare their finances for a divorce.
We help clients' research and walk through business licensing processes.
I can represent clients before the I.R.S. We have a notary service.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. Since 1992. I worked out of my home until moving the business to this location in '98. I added the space next door in 2000.
Q. How did your business get started?
A. I just hung up my shingle. I passed out fliers and did anything to get my name out there.
I did work in the corporate world, but I don't like it. I don't like office politics and the pay structure wasn't good.
Working for myself, I can work harder and make more.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
A. Be prepared to work long, hard hours. You have to have a long-term commitment because there's going to be headaches.
What's tough about this business is that it comes all at once, like an emergency room.
From January to April 15th I don't get a day off. From about February to the end I come in at 7 a.m. and leave the next morning about 1 or 2 a.m.
It takes a toll on your personal relationships. But, I love the work.
John Michael Miller, CPA Inc.
1033 Sandy Plains Rd, Suite E