Sam Smith has built a highly successful operation by understanding
the concerns of his clients and tailoring a tax, accounting or financial
services plan designed to fit their specific needs. Its that
kind of dedication that recently led to him being named Franchisee
of the Year by Fiducial, an international provider of professional
business services for small businesses and individuals.
Gregarious by nature, the father of three admits hes a people
person and enjoys helping clients be successful with what
they do. Though Smiths clients are highly skilled in
their chosen professions, they dont have the expertise on
the financial management side of their business. Thats where
he and his seven-member team make all the difference.
More individuals are visiting his Middleton, MD, office due to
the complexities of the tax code. With all the investment, dividends,
capital gains and securities issues to consider, hes seeing
increasing numbers of people coming in because brokerage firms have
not been timely in getting their reports out to investors.
This has created confusion and time constraints so clients
are turning to paid preparers to take care of that, says Smith.
When my clients realize Fiducial is providing proactive service
and helping them make the decision before they get themselves into
a tax issue, for example, they at least know they have someone who
is out there working for them.
Smiths goal is to be the best tax and financial services
office in our area and to be the best counselor to provide the clients
what they need. The key to doing that, is understanding
what they need.
Having grown up on a family dairy farm, Smith knows the value of
teamwork and having a strong support network. That includes drawing
upon the expertise of the Fiducial Tax Advisors based in the Technical
and Administrative Support Center (TASC) in Columbia, MD.
While Smith notes that Fiducials system offers the
best tax software at your fingertips, he asserts that there
is no replacement for the collective knowledge of Fiducials
The one thing you have with a franchise is the loyalty of
that group, he says. When you have that type of loyalty,
theres nothing more powerful. During tax season, you cannot
run your practice without talking to the tax advisors on a daily
basis. Even after 12 years as a franchisee and working in the field
for 15 years, I cant do it without calling them.
Citing an example of the value of having experts just a phone call
away, Smith had a client who was anticipating a capital gain and
wanted to know about the tax implications. So after conferring with
Fiducial Tax Hotline Advisors, he was able to save his client $70,000
in taxes. The grateful client spread the news of his savings all
over town and remains a loyal customer. Its this kind of service
that sets Smith apart from his contemporaries.
Business is good in this area of Frederick County so much so that
Smith has hired three new employees over the last nine months. Its
also a bit of a family-centered business since his wife, Karen,
serves as office manager. In addition to his wife, hes also
enlisted the summertime help of three teenage daughters-Shannon,
16, and 13-year-old twins Jessica and Danielle.
Recalling his roots, Smith takes prides in mentioning that his
business gives back to the community. Weve already contributed
to pay one-third of the cost of a new scoreboard at Middletown High
School, he says.
Word of mouth advertising remains as highly regarded as ever in
the marketplace. During this past tax season, he received several
referrals to new clients from his existing accounts. As for the
secret of his success, Smith says the reason is simple: successful
clients. If Im retaining 98% of my clients, on average,
I know that 98% of my clients are being successful, he says.