Paul Miller, CPA, shouldn't be alive. After being hit by a car not once - but twice - as a kid and being pronounced dead, he learned early on that our time on earth is finite. Paul set out to make the most of his second, or rather, third chance at life through hard work, grit, and determination. Paul now runs one of the top-rated business tax firms in New York City and helps clients with revenues in excess of 250 million navigate the ever-changing intricacies of corporate tax laws.
This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.
Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.
Chris Snyder [00:00:43] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder Showdown, president at Juhll.com, and founder of Banks.com. On this show, we talk with industry leaders and entrepreneurs about what's working and what's not with their growth programs. In addition, we want to hear how industry leaders are guiding their teams through this tough time of COVID-19. Just a quick word from our sponsor. Juhll is a full-service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. We focus on three things. We quickly identify the biggest problems impeding your growth. We propose solutions that give you the best opportunity for success. Finally, the work has to get done. So we bring a private marketplace, a vetted world-class talent to execute your plan. Of course, we manage that whole process. To learn more, go to Juhll dot com. That's Juhll.com. Or you can email me directly. Chris at Juhll dot com. Welcome, everyone. Without further ado, we have Paul Miller, CPA. He is the owner of New York City-based accounting firm Miller and Co. LLP with four offices in Manhattan, Queens, Florida, and Washington, D.C.. Miller and Company provides an array of accounting services to both corporations and individuals. The firm helps clients with revenues in excess of 250 million navigate the ever-changing intricacies of corporate tax laws. Welcome, Paul. Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. Absolutely. Paul, I love to kick this off with the backstory. So if you could start by telling us a bit about how you grew up and how you got to where you are today.
Paul Miller [00:02:30] Born and bred in Whitestone, I've lived my whole life here. Six years old. It's an interesting story. It's kind of wild. It's amazing. I was going, on my birthday, to a deli and at six years old, I was crossing the street and I was hit by a car and pronounced dead, which is pretty wild. My father picked me up, had me in the backseat of the car, drove me to the hospital, figured out we had a broken neck, and survived that. Fast forward five years later, my mother and father caught me coming down the stairs one morning. I was eleven and a half years old and they said, What do you think? We're going to get divorced? And I said, Whatever works for you. And they proceeded to get divorced. And I proceeded to walk out the door and go down the block and get a job at the deli on the corner where I was hit by a car.
Chris Snyder [00:03:19] At 11 years old?
Paul Miller [00:03:21] Eleven and a half.
Chris Snyder [00:03:22] Oh, my gosh. So let me. So were you walking across the street or riding a bike or a skateboard?
Paul Miller [00:03:30] It was actually really weird - I stuck my head out in front of a truck and I saw a car coming, so I backed up. The second time I looked, the car hit me. So it is pretty intense. I was bleeding out of my ear, so it was like we lose the year or we lose him. So I'm deaf in one year because of it. But I always keep my wife to the left so when I walk it's OK.
Chris Snyder [00:03:53] Oh, my gosh. Well, it depends on the situation, right. Depends on what kind of day you're having. You could go on one side or the other. But what I can tell you, Paul, for sure, you just confirmed the craziest story ever on this show. Never really talked to anyone who has risen from the dead.
Paul Miller [00:04:13] Pretty much. Pretty interesting. I was in a coma for I think I don't remember the exact amount of days I was in a coma. And back then they really didn't figure it out. And I wore a neck brace for two years now and a cast that did chest above my head for eight months and then the neck brace for two years.
Chris Snyder [00:04:31] And this was New York?
Paul Miller [00:04:33] This was Whitestone. We used to have a hospital in Whitestone. It was very cool. We had a hospital which where, if you go down by the Throgs Neck Bridge, there's an apartment complex called Le Havre. Prior to that used to be the Whitestone Hospital. So I've been here for a long time, obviously.
Chris Snyder [00:04:51] Yeah. Yeah. That is super interesting. Born and bred right in New York there. So. All right. So you started working at eleven and a half. I think you said so. What were you doing?
Paul Miller [00:05:06] Working in a deli making two dollars and thirty-five cents an hour.
Chris Snyder [00:05:11] Did you say buttering bread?
Paul Miller [00:05:12] No, no, working in a deli, making two dollars. Oh, no. Pretty much conceding my age already.
Chris Snyder [00:05:22] Well, you know what's funny about that, though? Maybe I just had a Freudian slip because my wife's from Philly and she said her first job was working at a restaurant or a deli. I can't remember which in. And she was she got paid to butter bread. That was literally her job, buttering bread.
Paul Miller [00:05:40] So my life and coffee and bread.
Chris Snyder [00:05:43] Yeah. Yeah. It was all Folgers and Maxwell House back then, I suspect. Correct. There is no foofoo coffee.
Paul Miller [00:05:51] Maxwell House was the Starbucks of today.
Chris Snyder [00:05:53] Correct. So. So you started working from a very young age at a deli. And was this a rough town or was this mellow?
Paul Miller [00:06:05] Whitestone is very family-oriented, close-knit. It's mix now a little bit more towards Flushings as Asian community. And White Stone is very, I would say, old money people been here for generations. And it's a nice town. Low crime. But a lot of people want to come in because we have a very good school district. And just trickle down. It's nice. We have everything that you need. And I worked there for actually 12 years. All the way up until I graduated from college.
Chris Snyder [00:06:36] Oh, my God. That's amazing. So. All right. So so you're working at a deli. I'm assuming it's all the same. You know, pizza, pasta sandwiches, slicing meats.
Paul Miller [00:06:49] Cold cuts. I learned how to speak Italian there. That guy was Italian. He was a very tough, very, very tough person to work for. Almost impossible to work for. Learned how to speak Italian recipe but good. And helped my mother and my brother, who was a drug addict. So, you know, we had to deal with my mother was working, figuring out how to work. And my brother had a very serious drug problem.
Chris Snyder [00:07:15] So all the money, all the money that was made went back to the family. Right.
Paul Miller [00:07:20] A large portion of it went back. I was kind of discouraged that after a little while of giving my mother money and she was helping support my brothers, I kind of weaned off of that. But I would help my mother. It's just unfortunate my brother ended at 48.
Chris Snyder [00:07:37] Well, so you're at this deli. And I'm assuming, you know, given that you have this accounting background, you own a company with certified public accountant CPAS, I'm assuming you worked your way into helping manage that restaurant, looking at the books. Where did the where did the crossover?
Paul Miller [00:07:57] I saw one of the nice things about working in this very was a very famous, very busy deli in Queens. You had to meet a lot of people. So I was going for accounting in college and I was solicited by a couple of the clients come to come and work. So I worked on the week at nights learning how to collect tax returns, learning about what the tax return industry was like. And it was back in the old days where he was a retired police officer doing a lot of police returns for officers. So I learned and that's that this is what I liked. And I saw it after seeing he's making X amount of dollars for a very short amount of work. I'm like the business side of my mind started the clock. So this makes more sense than sitting here working at an hourly wage. I'm better off to do this. And then I started to do tax returns on my own. And all the while, while going through college, even after graduating, it's like I kind of balance like building a side practice to where I ended my last job, which now is a public company. My final interview was we think you're running your own accounting firm. And I said we are. It's not always a reality. And I resigned two weeks later.
Chris Snyder [00:09:08] Yeah. So. So pretty much been a working entrepreneur your whole life. Seems like you've called your own shots. So the tax and accounting stuff came into play while you were in high school or the beginning of college. When did you start to get paid?
Paul Miller [00:09:25] So my wife was really hopeful. Lisa's been with me for over 30 years. I've been married over 30, married 30 years. This year she's been with me for an extra, let's say, seven. We dated. And my wife went to work when we were both in high school. She went to work for Price Waterhouse. And I first started in computer science and she said, I really think you should give this accounting to try because you have a really good mind and you know how to solve problems. And she's kind of like the impetus that guided me into doing this, in addition to seeing what the people, the clients were doing at work.
Chris Snyder [00:09:57] Yeah, well, that's I mean, obviously, if you find a good accountant, someone who's got some great life experiences, you know, we're talking a little bit before the show. You've got a great personality. This is, you know. Pure gold for your clients, I'm sure. So let's talk about, OK? So you're doing the side stuff. You're working for a firm and at the end of the day, you're like, this isn't for me. Your exit interview. You're like, yeah, I probably have a few clients. You're doing the side hustle well before anyone else. Well, before people like Gary Vee start talking about side hustle, side hustle. So there's always been side hustle to do the balance.
Paul Miller [00:10:34] You know, I wanted to, like, get enough of a base so that I could just say, OK, let me make the jump. And hopefully, by the time I get fully-fledged, I'll be making at least the salary that I was making. And what was really nice is all the people, the name of the firm used to be Mahoney Co. and it's now called seabeds. And I still have a great relationship with them, all the partners that are there. They were really helpful to me and nice and clients that didn't want to pay their fees. They would be very kind and refer them to me. One tax partner referred her brother to me, who was really, really nice. She was actually Howard Stern's accountant. And she's brilliant. Unfortunately, she passed away at five, but she's a lovely, brilliant woman, Linda McHardy. And that's what happened. You know, I think as I've gotten older, you know, you're arrogant in the beginning. Just you want to build your hungry hustling. You bust the debate. And, you know, as I've gotten older, I'm very thankful and grateful for the people who I've met and the relationships that I've established. And I'm extremely well for the team that I have my average employees with me for over 10 years, my longest employees, 20. And even without the PPP, I told them, I said I will take no salary without not cutting staff and not cutting anything. Wow. You know, just make sure that everybody like, unfortunately, one girl got COVID and she's like crying. She can't come to work. She's been out for three weeks. She's still tested positive, which is scary. And we've been paying her all along. And her energy to work - she's working religiously and a commitment to the firm is just amazing.
Chris Snyder [00:12:11] Yeah, well, there's studies out there that that really solidify and quantify that people need to work and have a sense of purpose. You know, we've ramped up this podcast a lot since the COVID outbreak just because I mean, I feel like I'm working more now than I have been. But at the end of the day, what are you gonna do? Are you going gonna sit around and watch Netflix all day? I mean, there's only so much beer and wine in Netflix any of us can enjoy. Right.
Paul Miller [00:12:44] I totally agree with you that I literally don't have the bandwidth to watch. Like, I'm watching Michael Jordan. Last chance. Yeah. Setting because it's my era. So, like, it's very difficult for me to get through an episode, but I don't have the bandwidth to like I don't know how these kids binge and play video games for eight or ten. I don't.
Chris Snyder [00:13:10] Well, I think it's easy to understand how they did it. They don't have jobs. And it's a very distracting world of no fault of their own. It's a very distracting world that they're growing up in. And, you know, I find I find myself being distracted by the amount of content. And, you know, I'm not much for Netflix and binge-watching anything like you. I think we, you know, we have a lot of other stuff to do. So there's enough time to sleep and work and take care of our families. But at the end of the day, we got to figure out how to get folks focused on what's important in doing the work in an undistracted and professional manner is extremely important.
Paul Miller [00:13:58] I agree, I agree, I think I've also changed in that mentality, in that I'm a big believer in that most of the people will work, feel like we talk previously. You can see who's really committed to what they're doing. And they really want to learn. They really want to become better at what they do. And they really want to get. See what I see? So for me, in my work in my world, numbers color my eyes and then listening to people, and here the challenges that they have, you know, you really become a problem solver. And I also say that I'm a financial therapist. I don't sell. Financial products are not connected in any way. I mean, people try to understand what they're actually doing. Does it make sense and help them as they progressed through this incredibly challenging time? A lot of people are thriving in a lot of people that really are already dead. And it's difficult. You know, it's warm days. It's difficult phone calls. And it's still very, very challenging. And I think if he can pull any politician you can for any president, you just got to say this is just an evolving thing that we've never experienced before. And a lot of people don't have answers. And I definitely don't. But I just try to navigate people in the space that I'm in.
Chris Snyder [00:15:20] Yeah, I agree 100 percent. So one thing I want to talk to you about since obviously I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I'm not an accountant, not an attorney. Like I lead on the other side of the house, more on the sales and marketing and in entrepreneurship. But one thing I want to ask you in my chair, the Internet continues to evolve and change, and it feels like it evolves and changes at least every six to nine months to a year. Something different. New is happening. You know, I think, you know, I don't know much about the medical profession, but, you know, it feels like, you know, the human body is pretty much the same or I hate you. You have to do surgery on someone's knee. It's probably much hasn't changed. Right, as it relates to tax and accounting. I'm just curious, how much does this business change year over year? Like how what changes have you seen? Because you've been doing this a long time. What are some of the changes you've seen? What do you think this business is headed?
Paul Miller [00:16:23] It's hard to say where it's headed. The push, obviously, is to get more computers, to do less of what the layperson does, and try to become more streamlined. It gets really deep and I don't get that deep because you got to get attached. Like the hole was based on tax treaties. Everybody says, let's make the tax law easier. It's difficult when you have treaties with other countries. But from a standpoint of since Trump took office till now. And what he has done and what the federal government has done, even with these loans, they are literally changing daily. Like, this PPP program is changing. May 5th, they put out a Q and A.. It's changing so fast. Just like the FDA is changing as fast as they are. The government is trying to cut the tape and get directly to what they need to do, which I found to be incredibly encouraging, but overwhelming because. There's so much information and there's so many things and there's a lot of times we just have to say, which is what I always say. I need to get back to you on that. I can't answer that question. I can't put you at risk by asking and answering the question that I'm not comfortable knowing. So. The tax laws are trying to change, especially today, to get the money to people that they need and B, to have a plan to stimulate the economy. I don't take a stance, Democrat or Republican, but I do believe that the push is to try to get the economy, for example, making entertainment a hundred percent deductible, which I think is a very encouraging idea. This just one simple example of how the government's reacting. They're doing everything they can. I don't know how they can afford it to try to encourage the economy. And hopefully that'll continue after. They open every. Got it. Got it. So so those are things that you'll see that'll happen. And we'll try to figure out if it's good and it's bad. You know, obviously, the medical aspect of this whale, Wilms, everything else. But I think if you sit home every day, like you said, and you watch this TV and you watch the media, you're going to be scared to death. And at a certain level, I can understand that, but at a certain level, we have to get back to work because the longer we stay out of work, I think there's a lot of damage that's being done. And I think a lot of people may not get their jobs back and may have to reconsider what they're doing. And. You know, it's right. That's a very upsetting thing, it's going to be really very scary. I'm personally concerned about that. I'm concerned about the clients I have and what their business is going to be like and what their lives are going to be like. A lot of people. Again, I'm not a financial planner, but one of the scary things I get to see is the tax returns. I get to see their assets. I get to see what they have. Sometimes I look at them and I'm like, how are you really going to retire? Yeah, it's scary. Yeah. So it's a scary thing.
Chris Snyder [00:19:38] So let's dove into that a little bit. I mean, you've got your large firm, you've got a lot of clients, geographically based New York, Florida, D.C. You've got offices everywhere. I'm assuming you have a mix of clients from all different verticals. Right. From restaurants to maybe hotels. Like what do you think? If you had to guess how strong and healthy most of your balance sheets are for these clients, like how much time do these balance sheets have? I mean, do people really only have in a small business or a middle-market situation? I think you serve the middle market, you know, 250 million in revenues or thereabouts.
Paul Miller [00:20:28] We handle everything from mom and pop businesses to public. We've handled sales of public to public companies. It's a difficult question to answer because it relates to personality. I mean, there are some people who don't think about a rainy day. I've been living for Armageddon since I'm eleven and a half. So I. Everybody looks to me and say, what do you think? And as we had the conversation, yeah, the stock market's great with the stock market and the credit market and not talking together right now. And to try a lot of people, you know, one of the things you have to understand is not everybody understands what you understand and you don't understand everything that they understand. But I think when you sit down and say a lot of small businesses do not have the capital and they don't have the access to capital, so people don't plan ahead. Like, I always try to tell people, make sure you have we need money. Make sure you don't max out your line of credit. Make sure you have six months' worth of expenses put aside and. Even now, like there was an article this morning, how the banks are going to get tighter on mortgages. I'm trying to tell my clients while they still had a good year for 19 before people want to see what 20 looks like, try to refinance. Try to get your rate lower or try to get your payment lower. So if you do have to go into the bunker zone, you could have available cash. Try try to not think about all the stock market's racing, maybe step out of the market, go into cash. You don't have to worry about the drop-down again if it does. And risk assets, you know, it all depends. You have to take a person's age. What do they do? I have a lot of doctors, a lot of dentists. Some people are going to be able to pick up. They're ready. They're prepared. They've been preparing. There are so many people, Chris, who have been preparing before this that are ready when they open the door. They're going to be ready. And there's a lot of people who are by the people who haven't been so caught up in the anxiety of, oh, my God, what's the world going to be like? And then there's other people, like, I got the supplies and got the hand sanitizer I've got. You know, I'm ready.
Chris Snyder [00:22:41] Got it. So I know there's been a bit of a hubbub in the popular media, which I try to avoid, but it's got to be said there's been a bit of a hubbub about how the peepee program, the SBA programs have. What I hear on the streets anyway and in the popular media is they've over-served larger businesses that do have access to capital markets and public markets and institutions that small businesses do not. So just a question for you on that. I know that it's been difficult from some of the small businesses that I've talked to anyway to receive any funds whatsoever. What do you see in your client base or how do you guys help your clients, if at all, try to receive some of these peepee funds because they don't seem to be very available?
Paul Miller [00:23:36] It's a good question. But so the first round, nobody was really ready. Right. Everybody - I actually tested the software for Chase. And Chase was really nice to me because, after a lot of business, I was up at 5:00 in the morning with a lot of head honchos actually testing the software and Chase's great bank. Everybody's had problems. The first round was really rough because nobody knew what to do. The Warren guidance. They were processing like a loan. I can't get into the details of of who got the money, who didn't get the money. I don't know the percentages, but I do know that a lot of my clients did get shut out. But after the first round, we figured it out. So the figuring it out, Chris, was to as many banks as you can. That when you number hit at the SBA, you were dropped from all the other banks. So I don't send out like a monthly newsletter or stuff like that. I send out what I consider to be important information in an email that people will get. And I emphasize to them to read it. And a lot of I've got like, resent, like, unbelievable. Thank you for that e-mail. I'm getting other clients where not even people, not even my clients calling me saying thank you. But the big key in the second round was the government was focused on the smaller crowd. And even if you apply today, like I had a woman apply yesterday and I think she had like a 12 or fifteen thousand dollar PBB she gets on the same day. Wow. So it's great news. So there are a lot of people, but we start from one dilemma right now. We've figured out how to get people funded. Right. But there's a big disconnect with the PPP. And I'll give it to you because I've actually given it to my client yesterday. So you have eight weeks to spend the money from when you get it. You're supposed to hire people back. You just mentioned five, seven minutes ago. New York, it's twenty-seven fifty an hour. If you're getting New York state unemployment and federal, very difficult to get people to come back to work. That's one, two. What if. You're not allowed to be open. Now, the idea is to hire your employees back to protect your payroll, get them off of payroll with this money. Right. Their businesses are not open and you to answer your other question, do people have money? A lot of people, this is all the money they have. So they are like, what do I do? And my suggestion for lobbyists was, I think you should coincide. Not when they actually received the money, when their state allowed them to open and extend the deadline to July 30 first. What's the difference? It's one more day. You have to realize that in a very short period of time, people are going to have to pay back a lot of money. Yeah. July 15th, everybody's got to file an extension to make a payment. Right?
Chris Snyder [00:26:32] That's right.
Paul Miller [00:26:33] And that's going to be mayhem. And then you have what hasn't even been launched yet. There's been multiple variations of what it actually is. But try to figure out what the loan forgiveness worksheet is going to look like. That's going to be a bloody nightmare then you do have the people who are. I had a client call me on Monday and she's my friend for 30 years and she's the controls here. You know, I'm really worried. We got like six point six million. I'm like, if I were you, I'd really get a legal consult before you take that money. I said, you're a quasi-public company and you may think you've had every bell. But I'd want to give a legal opinion. And I've referable I've I've recommended to a lot of my clients to get a legal opinion like. I believe there are a lot of good HR attorneys, consultants. My opinion is I use an H.R. lawyer because he actually knows the law. So right now I've been referring my client, my employment attorney, Daniel Ritson from Long Island, who is amazing to everybody because he operates like we do small business. But he answers your phone call. Very accurate information, which is what you need. Now, you need to understand what your responsibilities are on the call that what your state responsibilities are. What if a client doesn't employee doesn't want to come back? So there's so many things going on now. So when you say we're an accounting firm, I always tell people that accounting is a platform for us to get into your lives and we get into your lives and we provide you with yes, we know how to save you money. We know how to legally. We know the laws. We know what the availability is. But it's more about how do we help you save your money so that you can live a life and retire gracefully or either transition your business or sell your business. It's just that you can live your life in. Every employee that I have here understands that concept. And I'm I have unbelievable employees from Sherrie congruous 20 years with me to Terry Remini, who's with me. Thirteen years. Fifteen years. And Barbara Garten lives would be a long time. These are all people who have really like have clients that really count on them. Yeah. Very hard to give people, you know, to make ourselves available. I give people my cell phone. People call me on the weekend. I try really hard to take the call because we're in a service business. And, you know, Elaine will be taking a phone call on the weekend or everyone. Are we working really, really hard to try to get through it?
Chris Snyder [00:29:09] so one of the things that you, as I listen to you talk there, there's a certain level of complexity that we're all being exposed to. Clearly, you have some great relationships at the top that maybe allow you to get faster information or better-discerned information, plus your ability to interpret that and maybe simplify it for your clients. That's that's amazing. If you could simplify it for our audience right now and just say, look, because this stuff for people who are not professionally trained to handle stuff like this, it can be very difficult. So if you had to give us two or three things to watch out for, what would they be?
Paul Miller [00:29:56] Do you want to talk about the PPP money or what do you want to talk about in general?
Chris Snyder [00:30:00] Yeah. No, I would say PPP. And what could you say? We could do two things we could do. Two things we could talk about. OK. It's all confusing. We're all applying for multiple things to get funded. It's not happening. And then when we do get funded. Now what do we do? Like, I just feel like the COVID thing is confusing for folks that don't work or live in sophisticated organizations with controllers and CFOs like what are one or two or three things that we should just keep our head around? And then maybe and then maybe, hey, when times get better, what should we be considering, given what just happened?
Paul Miller [00:30:40] So if you're a small business and your accountant isn't tuned in or maybe your accountant got coalbed, look like this client called me this morning off a Belfour, his accountant. They helped the guy out. I think it's important that you err to the side of conservative. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people answering the phone at the SBA right now. I think the government's turned on a lot of people, although their information is very technical. And I don't think he can be relied on, but it might give you a little bit of clarity. I definitely think the Internet provides a lot of information. A big thing, for example, is if you've collected the people, you're supposed to go off unemployment. Like a lot of owners were eligible to go on unemployment. Got it. You should immediately get off unemployment. That's great advice. You know, a lot of people, you know, being greedy right now is not a good game. You know, I mean, this is the second thing is you should legitimately try to bring your clients back, but you may be in this quasi dilemma where I may just have to repay this loan in two years. And that's OK. As long as you didn't take it with the intent that. I didn't need the money, you know. But that's even hard to say because the first round there was a lawyer on, I think, Squawk Box in the morning and he said that the first round was economic uncertainty. If you had economic uncertainty, you were eligible for. Well, everybody had economic uncertainty. Nobody was still do you still? Right. So to get back on track is I think that if this thing teaches you anything, it teaches you that you have to be ready for the unknown. You can't just sit there and say. The government's going to bail me out. You know what I mean? Because my fear is what's going to happen at the end of, let's say, June 30th and we maybe have a spike in cases or maybe we're back in trenches or maybe we just don't are afraid to go out. Who's going to give these people money? Twenty-five million people. I think 30 million people are unemployed. You know, is eleven hundred dollars a week and a cut. They're not. I don't know. The bank's going to re-extend their you know, a lot of people have flipped out. Right. So they said all banks deferred paying your mortgage. Well, I spoke to my nephew last night. He said called the bank up and they said they'll defer my mortgage, but in the end of 90 days, I have to pay that payment in full.
Chris Snyder [00:33:15] Wait a second.
Paul Miller [00:33:17] Is that really helping me? You know what I'm saying?
Chris Snyder [00:33:19] What's the point?
Paul Miller [00:33:20] Is that really helping me? And. I try to help him navigate through this. And I was able to get him to refinance and he was like, I really appreciate the advice. It was great. We're going to save a lot of money. But I think people have to think about, OK, I'm home. I've been home for two months. Like I tell my children, I'm like, don't take the opportunity to sit down and do nothing. How can I improve myself? What can I do? I'm very fortunate that my daughter of 18, who I feel really bad for, she's not going to be able to graduate. So I feel bad for all the graduating class of twenty. You know, she's looking forward to her prom. She's here now every day answering phones because we will lacking a person. So she's learning to make money, which is great. But I tell everyone to not sit there like you when I would play watch Netflix. Think about how you can improve yourself. I was hearing this morning about retooling yourself in America because maybe a job might not be there when you come back. I also think that this might have you know, one of the things that we discussed before is moving the digital era forward faster. Absolutely. People will realize that maybe I don't need someone 40 hours a week. Maybe I only need someone 30 hours a week. And that's going to change the whole dynamics of how people operate. And a lot of people are not going to be ready for that financially, mentally. It's going to be a big drain. And it's. That's why I'm having a very hard time. And I'm not a finance guy. I don't understand how the stock market keeps going up every day. Yet we have all these bankruptcies and all these businesses that may never open, you know? And, you know, you're going to open in June. But how many people coming to your restaurant? They're very hard. That's for the restaurants that I go to. Even though they're in the City, like I often go to Bar Pitti. I think they're a great restaurant. And all the people there, I drive in order food from Queens, pick it up and go home just to show the support for the people that are there. It mean nothing, but for me, I feel good about it.
Chris Snyder [00:35:22] Let's talk about this work from home thing and getting the younger generation involved in the workforce because I think you just gave a great example. So first of all, do you believe you can do the work that you do, not you personally, but a lot of your staff does? What I would consider to be knowledge work. Right? Do they. Do you need commercial real estate? Do you need to have this office? Can you allow your daughter to answer phone calls from the house or from a remote office? How does this work for accounting firms now?
Paul Miller [00:35:58] I can't speak for every accounting firm, I can only speak from my firm. I believe you need connectivity. People need to talk. People need to bounce ideas off. Every time my daughter answers the phone, she's not an accountant, so she's always looking. Who can I help with? I do have two great women. They're in their 60s and they're both working from home. They do come in on the weekends when nobody's here and pick up work and leave work and keep going. And it's working that way. But one of them is like, I really need to come in. And she misses the camaraderie. She misses the connectivity, asking the questions, getting it an immediate answer. Visit the delay. I don't. It can and you can do it at a certain level, but honestly, from my firm and I think for a lot of firms, you need to be working with each other. And it is there is a piece of the social connectivity people. You know, you don't want to be isolated from people. You don't want to be in your house. You want to have that physical connection, whether it's talking, whether it's having a cup of coffee with somebody sharing a concept that's very, very important to you. Your, you know, your body into what you do. Productivity definitely goes down when you work at home. In my business, you know, believe it or not, we're paperless. But if I turn the computer around and show you all the paper that's on my desk, you'd laugh. But the reality is, is that. And a lot of businesses, there are a lot of businesses that can do stuff from home. There are a lot of people. But the world is built to interact with each other. And I think this will be a good test. Maybe people don't need to work the hours they work, but they do need to have some connection with people. You have to - it's a lonely world.
Chris Snyder [00:37:47] Yeah, I feel like it's interesting. I feel like the weave your comment about accelerating into some of these strategies, I guess we'll call them whether it's work from home or technology or some of the other overarching concepts. I feel like society was, you know, I don't know, forced isn't the right word. But society was a bit forced to behave the way that the latest batch of tech entrepreneurs thought that things should be. Right. And by the way, that's not a bad thing. But, you know, between Facebook, Google, you know, Netflix, you know, Amazon, you know, don't go to the grocery store, order it from Amazon. Don't go to buy your shoes, order it directly online. Don't pick up the phone and talk to someone just Slack. Right. Don't you know, forget having some of the parties you used to have and just hang out on Facebook. I'm being I'm overdoing it a little bit for effect, but I feel like in the more I have these calls and the more I interview with folks, there is a component of all of that that gets lost, the human connection and the human element, which is what you were just talking about, is lost. And I just feel like we're going have a lost generation of people, always have their heads in their phones. You have to know the way I grew up, probably where you grew up. You look him in the eyes and you talk to him. You speak up. You sit up straight and you talk to people.
Paul Miller [00:39:20] You can see if people are serious or not. And really, look - my thing is about knowing someone. It's very difficult to know a person. Like, I think you're a great person. I could tell you have a great sense of humor, but it'd be great if you and I had a cup of coffee or if we sat down and had a meal together. We could talk about many other things and connect better. Whereas that's why I think they lack communication skills. The younger generation, they're awkward when they if you haven't noticed them. You see these couples going out on dates and looking at each other's phones and you like. Really? Yeah. What a date. I mean, this is what you do. You know, you have nothing else to talk about. And, you know, the younger generation doesn't read. They don't read. They don't really want to get involved. You know, I have a client who is really famous, doctor, and he's always talking about he's a socialite, how people need to read and they don't really read and understand and listen to the different musics that are out there. So I don't know. I think you want to push to the digital. But what it kids you know, these games and all these things, it's nice to just when you and I were younger, pick up a stickball bat and go play stickball. You know, I don't see that anymore. That's weird.
Chris Snyder [00:40:27] Yeah, well, it's interesting. I know our beaches are closed here and we had a conversation about this a little bit earlier. But since we've been taking the kids to the park and I've been thinking about this, we've got our kids in so many activities since they were five years old. Whether it's soccer or baseball or football or hockey or acting classes or. I mean, Jesus Christ, the list goes on forever and we're just being bang. We're going from place to place to place. I don't think I ever did anything organized in times in the fourth grade, probably in the fourth or fifth grade. The one thing, even though the beaches are shut down, it's given us no option except for to go to this park. And what's happening now is the kids are going to the park. Get this. They're riding their bikes. Get that. They're riding their bikes. So they're learning how to pay attention on the street, watch traffic. I'm taking them, watching them learn how to ride their bikes and get better at it. They're crashing their bikes. Some of them are getting hurt. They're playing games in the grass, right. With Wiffle ball bats and tennis balls. They're building wood on perceiving to be some meaningful relationship with other children in the neighborhood from all different socio-economic backgrounds.
Paul Miller [00:41:47] It's great. It's awesome.
Chris Snyder [00:41:49] It's a real interesting. So I would say a win from this for sure is giving us a chance. All of us as society hopefully giving us a chance to slow down and gain some perspective about who we want to be and what this is really all about.
Paul Miller [00:42:08] I agree. I think you're right. I think that's a positive. And I think as we open up slow, I hope people will appreciate and appreciate each other and, you know, maybe engage more with people instead of talking on the phone with the younger generations are in. It's, I get it. It's a purpose. And it's nice. I mean, I'm really not on social media in terms of Facebook or I look at the pictures on Instagram, but I'm not really into it. But I think it's important that you like we sit down and one of the nice things about, as you just said, is I make sure I'm home earlier now because I know my family's going to be home. Twenty-two hundred eighteen. So we make it an effort that we're all home for dinner. And just to listen, you know, maybe we don't have much to talk about because we've been home for X number of days. But it's it's. My wife was wasn't embellishing it last night that this is really nice. We're together. And we have had a couple of girls over, but they all have like social distance. My daughters had some friends over, like we had lately. But the mood called social distancing birthday where everybody's, you know, there but, you know, not there, actually opened my pool up to my demise where it might freeze tomorrow. So but yeah, I think you're right, 100%.
Chris Snyder [00:43:23] What's your plan? What's your plan for travel? You've got offices in New York, Florida, and D.C. You come out to California at least once a month because you have clients here as well. What are you what is your plan for travel when this thing starts to crack back open?
Paul Miller [00:43:41] As long as I'm not quarantined where I go. I'm not afraid to fly. I think now might be a safer time than anything they think the airlines are upping their game to try to make people comfortable. I've actually called preemptively to call the, you know, the airlines to ask them what to expect when I come there. And JetBlue told me you may be randomly tested for cold that. I personally think they should take every base temperature before they put him on a plane. I agree 100 percent. I think, you know, we here as a firm every day left to sign it and take your temperature. So I think that's something that they could do. And it may not be such a big benchmark, but I think if a guy has a fever and you say, listen, sorry, buddy, you can't fly. You've done what you can to lower the risk of the people who are on the plane. But I will as soon as they as soon as I'm comfortable and I'm not going to get locked down like I want to go to Sarasota. I want to have an apartment in Miami that I see clients at all the time. I want to travel. I just am worried for the fear of being quarantined for 14 days that I can't have that happen to me. Yeah. I would love to travel.
Chris Snyder [00:44:58] So it's not so much the health thing. It's more about how much time am I going to have to spend or waste trying to get from point A to point B? Which is an interesting point because I think there's a lot of economists and, you know, talking heads over at CNBC and otherwise that are suggesting we're gonna have a, you know, are we going to have a V or we're gonna have a U or we're going to have a chair. There's all these weird everybody's comfort level.
Paul Miller [00:45:23] No question. I have a different mentality. We haven't been tested. So that's a big problem. Right. My daughter was really sick in February. I never thank God. And ever since. I've never really sick. I watch what I eat. I exercise regularly. I was sick in February and I had back and headache had all the symptoms of it, you know. So for all I know, I'm waiting for the Roche test because that's 100% accurate and I want to see if I have the antibodies. Excuse me. So that's something that I'm waiting for - to see if I have the antibodies. And if I do, I'll be more inclined to act normally because I've had it. That's to me, key. I don't think that and I don't know all the politics, but a lot of people still haven't been tested, so you don't know. And that's really weird. Well, we should all be working together as a world and not figuring it out and arguing with each other. This is one world that we get everybody back on our feet. We'll get back to normal. And I think that's really important. And I think for everybody, for your safety, for your family's safety, to know whether you've had it, what you have, the ability to get tested if you think you might have it. And I think that'll make you feel more comfortable in traveling and flying with. My wife is very nervous. She's very anxious and likely. I think I've had it and I'm not afraid. You know, I mean, it's a virus. It's bad. But most people, if you don't have susceptible immune systems, you're not old. You're going to be OK. Yeah. You got to get your butt kicked for a couple of weeks, but you'll be OK. Yeah.
Chris Snyder [00:46:58] That I feel like our family was in the same boat. You know, our whole family. I believe we felt a lot of us. I was in bed for four days straight. I've never been sicker in my life. And in retrospect, that was at the beginning of January. And in retrospect, it was like, wow, we've probably all had it. But this is the interesting part about what you're saying. You know, I haven't been following it, but it feels like there isn't a test yet that can tell us folks like us that we could go and get it. I've not been tested. I'm not going anywhere to get tested right now because I don't believe the science is where it needs to be to just simply waste my time. Right. So go back to your point. We have limited data. And if we understood exactly what the data was, I think you know your comment before about tying the credit markets and the stock markets back together a little bit. Understand what is the real impact of this on the economy? We got to get the health scenario figured out first. And then once we get the whole scenario figured out, then we can understand, like, OK, how many people are. Is this going to impact? Because then what are the things that they do? Do they go to hotels? Do they travel? Do they go on Carnival Cruises today? Right. A little bit older with underlying conditions or younger with underlying conditions. You know, these are all things we need to consider. You know, one of the things I wanted to leave our audience with as I wrap up here, you've been doing this stuff for a very long time. You said a little bit. You said a little bit in the show you started. He started doing all I'll say, quote-unquote this since you were 11. Right. And when I say this, I mean, working, having the life experience of working and being an entrepreneur, being a founder of a company and just doing this. And one thing I always like to ask our guests before we leave is if you had a piece of advice or anything you could impart to our audience based on your years of experience and knowledge, what would that be?
Paul Miller [00:49:05] Work hard, save when you're young. You have to work hard when you're young, life goes by very fast and you have to save when you're young when you have the opportunity to. And you can take risks when you're young. You take risks in your 30s. You can take risks in your 40s because you get to the tail end of your 40s. You are less able to recover from the risk. Taking the chance. Making an investment. Starting a company. So and you always I always say this, which is something you'd like to know, that you have somebody who can rescue you. Whether it's your father, your mother, your grandfather, someone who can rescue you and help you. But it's really: try, listen. It's easy to say I liked school. You should try to study hard and try to be focused, that it's OK if this is what you want to school for and you didn't come out. It didn't work out. You know, there's no straight arrow that tells you this is what you're going to do. I came out, I was going to be a computer science major. Thank God for my wife. She directed me and helped me. And I'm very grateful for that. But it's OK if you switch it up. But if you don't take a chance when you're younger. You're going to regret it when you get older and it's OK if you make mistakes. You can be forgiven and continue. But I think try to be humble when you're young. Try to make as many friends as you can and try to help as many people as you can. You never know when you're going to need help. They are grateful for the relationships I have, the people who would help me, and the people that I feel because I think it's really important.
Chris Snyder [00:50:38] Yeah, that's excellent advice, everyone. We've been talking to Paul Miller, he's a CPA. He's the owner of New York City-based accounting firm Miller and Company, LLP. You can find him at CPAFirmNYC.Com. When the show is published and produced, we'll put the links in the show notes as well. I know. Paul said he gives out his cell phone number and all that other stuff. So I'll be anxious to get his contact information distributed to you all. So thank you, Paul. I really appreciate your time today.
Paul Miller [00:51:13] Just want to thank my staff for being this great making makes them great. OK. Thank you very much for having me.