We had the good fortune of connecting with Elaine Proby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elaine, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I attended college at night as an accounting major and worked during the day as a payroll clerk during the day. It was my job to process regular payroll checks but when I realized how often there was a request for a final termination check, I discovered then that a regular job can terminate you and bring your only source of income to an abrupt end. I knew then that I had to own my own business where I would be the one to terminate myself by retiring.
While still taking my accounting classes, I proceeded to take various taxation classes in college as well as a tax course. I loved the challenge of keeping up with the tax law changes, I started my part time tax business while still working at a major 5 CPA firm. A few years later I became Partner and CFO in a 5 star interior design firm where our main focus was designing new and refurbished 5 star hotels all over the world until the recession in the late 90’s. The Gulf war was on, hotel occupancy went down and our firm was forced to close. I went from a six figure income to $420 weekly un-employent. With 3 kids, a house, 2 dogs, a boat and a Mercedes Benz, I got rid of the Mercedes as it was almost a $1000 a month and got a Probe, I sold my boat, exhausted savings and cashing in retirement plans, got money from family, I knew this was time to do my own thing.
I had my brother convert my garage into an office, and with a small existing tax clientele, I proceeded to jump head first into a full time operation and promoted every knowledge I had under one roof… Bookkeeping, Payroll, Income Taxes, Sales Taxes, Business Taxes, Bankruptcy, Forms, Consultation, Setting up Corporations and NonProfit Organizations, Business Plans, Grant writing, Tax Problem Resolution, Life Insurance Agent, even took a Real Estate Course. If I could figure it out, I did it to make sure I had a cash flow coming in.
My brother and I made flyers, I looked in publication for all the new business registration, I attended SCORE Business meetings to reach the new business folks. I attended community meetings during the rebuild LA era an garner construction clients who needed financials and taxes to get loans. My efforts paid off, I began to get clientel and made sure that I gave them more than what they paid for in order to build a solid business relationship. That concept worked and the referral process was phenomenal, as a matter of fact still is today, 35 years later.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Proby’s Tax & Accounting is a full service tax, accounting and small business service anchor, that is departmentalized and staffed with qualified and certified professionals. We are fully automated to service our clients efficiently locally and remotely.
They call me “The Olivia Pope Of Taxes” because we are known as a problem solving company that offers our clientele a warm family friendly atmosphere but yet we are very professional.
What sets us apart is our ability to not only provide services but to educate our Clients. We are most proud of the fact that through our services, education and business support, our clients have grown financially both personal and business wise. We have formed many businesses, provided all around services of accounting, payroll, taxes, tax planning and consultation, and watched their growth from inception to multimillion dollar businesses.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area and I wanted to show her the best time ever I would take her for brunch, live music food, and drinks at Little Belize Restaurant in Inglewood. We would definitely visit Marina Del Rey so she could see the ocean and sightsee. We would conclude her visit with a trip to the heart of Downtown Los Angeles for a tasting at San Antonio Winery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give credit to Ron McNorton, he’s my mentor. I went to college with his wife, and knowing I was interested in taxes she introduce me to her husband Ron who had been in the business for many years. I was able to work in his office where I learned hands on how to prepare some of the more complex returns. Also giving thanks to Mr Phil Smart who has been in the tax business a for many years. Phil an Educator was my Softball coach and friend. He did my very first and only return in the 70’s that was prepared by someone else. Today we are all still Business Associates and assist each other in anyway necessary when needed.
My entire family played a role, my brothers for setting up the office at home when I started full time and made me operate efficiently in every other space I had moved to including setting up my IT systems, phones and computers. My Sisters for helping out in the office every time I needed them, with phones, accounting and payroll processing. All the nieces and nephews helped out from phones, to filing, picking up and delivering client docs. Adding up receipts in the garage and making copies. My kids who all participated in accounting data entry or tax data entry. Now they are Certified Tax Preparers along with my nieces and is responsible for integrating the Company, initiating new operating systems, staffing and overseeing the entire operation. Our proud Staff past and present working independently and diligently to satisfied the needs of the clients.