A Message from Joe Carlozo
Hello Everyone – it’s been a while since my last blog – a little over 3 years ago to be exact! First let me begin my telling you that everything is great and that I continue to count my blessings each and every day. Events in our lives have a funny way of working out. Little did I ever think I would be introducing a “guest blogger” and even if I did, there is no way in the world it would be my daughter Jessica (JB); once again I have witnessed how “The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways”. Keeping that in mind, sometimes when there is so much to say (like now) it is best said in a few short words……Enjoy!!!
Have a GREAT day – May God Bless you always!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)
My First Tax Season, A Guest Blog by Jessica A. Barrett
For as long as I can remember, my Dad was always working. I have memories at just a few years old, crawling around underneath his desk. I was a happy kid with dirt caked under my nails, enjoying those stolen moments with my Dad. I imagine my presence was an annoyance or at the very least a bit of a distraction for him, but I could never tell. C&C was a one man shop back then and the office I used as my personal jungle gym was in the basement of our home on Croftley Road in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. So much has changed since then but some things haven’t at all.
A snowy day on Croftly Rd (L – R) Joe Jr., Jessica & Nicole
I am enjoying the view from above the desk these days, and this year was my first tax season. Yes, that’s right. I bravely went where no woman born to the Carlozo name has ever gone before. In January of 2018 I joined my brother Joe Jr. and father Joe Sr. at Carlozo & Company, now in the Kelly Building in the heart of Timonium Maryland. It is important to note up front that I survived! I give myself none of the credit but rather recognize the real MVPs who are the team at C&C. They answered all of my questions, taught me the necessary survivor skills and allowed me to help them, which in turn, provided me the opportunity to help our clients.
I like to think I had somewhat of an idea of what I was getting myself into. I’ve heard countless war stories over the years from my Dad and brother. Each year as tax season progressed, I noticed the dark circles under their eyes; circles so dark you wouldn’t dare blink for fear of getting lost. I also had first-hand experience with tax season, never diving deep into tax issues but working with tax professionals from the other side of the keyboard.
Let me explain.
I came to C&C fresh off 7 ½ years at Brown Advisory, an investment management firm located in Baltimore’s charming neighborhood of Fells Point. I was given my first real chance in the business world in Brown’s Private Client group as a young, naïve and terrified early 20-something. I met some incredible people along the way who showed me how to work hard and persevere in an unforgiving industry, while maintaining my integrity and goodness. They were and still are some of smartest women and men I will ever meet or work alongside. I also met my husband Matt there. He above all personifies the qualities I have just noted. Brown had given me a lifetime of things to be thankful for. The years spent helping their clients were tough yet rewardingly fantastic. Be that as it may, it was time to move on to a new challenge.
October 28, 2017, The Happiest Day
(L – R) Joe Jr., Nicole, Matt, Jessica, Joe Sr., Sue (i.e. Miss Sue), Emily & BG (Baby Genevieve)
Picture by Cast 83 Still & Moving Pictures
This brings us to present day at Carlozo & Company. I now have the pleasure of pouring my time, talents and passion into helping C&C’s clients and my Dad! He is still working, like all those years ago, but it has been a very different experience getting to stand alongside him instead of crawling under his home office desk. Working under a shared mission, I can now help his business survive and, more importantly, thrive! I think we both recognize how blessed we are. Every day (and this is not an exaggeration), my Dad tells me “Have I told you today how happy I am to have you working with us?” I will no doubt cherish these days for the rest of my life.
But back to tax season, which I suspected I was prepared for. Tax season was a busy time at my old firm I thought…
I might be older than my 20-something and terrified self but apparently I can be just as naïve. Tax season is over and I feel like I have been shot out of a cannon. My hair is windblown and tousled in more directions than I thought possible. I can’t quite make out what day it is. I’m in a haze like those moments when you first open your eyes after a not-so quiet night of drinking – you tell yourself you’re okay but in reality you are far from it. My first tax season was an eye opening and humbling experience.
I like to pretend this is Joe Jr! It’s not but instead a favorite meme of sorts of my Dad’s.
You might be asking yourself, what makes tax season so debilitating besides the obvious reason – the IRS? Taxes are unequivocally a sticky business. Mention the IRS and people feel uncomfortable, nervous, and frustrated. What I learned during my first tax season is that it’s the unpredictable that presents the biggest challenges. You know what you know (there is monthly work that must be completed, deadlines to be met and specific projects that can be planned for), but what you don’t know is much scarier and nearly impossible to prepare for. This tax season was no different. We did not escape the unpredictable. It still found us.
Shortly after joining C&C in January, my Dad came to me with an enthusiastic grin on his face. He said “Jess I want you to help me prepare for this webinar. “ He likely noticed the confused and tepid look on my face. A webinar…during tax season?!? My Dad relishes a challenge so it was no surprise that he wanted to take this one on during the busiest time of the year. We spent the next few weeks preparing – my Dad pouring over the material and myself taking lead on the technology piece. The webinar was for clients of Heritage Financial Consultants and covered the impact of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act on individuals and businesses. In just one short hour my Dad shared a wealth of valuable information and did so with his usual Joe enthusiasm. He was so kind to include me in this project, but there was no time to relish in how good we both felt about it. Tax season was now in full swing and the webinar had set us behind.
The days to follow consisted of filling up my Dad’s calendar. The 6 to 8 weeks leading up to the 15th (this year the 17th!) were littered with meetings. I was blown away by how many people wanted his time. “He’s only one man,” I thought. Regardless of this fact, he took on each meeting with the same care, enthusiasm and desire to help. Over the last few months I have heard my Dad say more than once “I wake up each day with the same desire to help my fellow man. I believe it is my calling.” Seeing as how I have the floor I would like to say I see my father answer the call daily. He and my step mother Miss Sue taught Nicole, Joe Jr. and me many valuable lessons. As children we learned about the Golden Rule – treat other people the way you would like to be treated. As grown women and men we should take notice of my Dad’s example – help others with our talents and abilities to the very best of our ability. By doing so you honor God.
My Dad, however, was not the only one in high demand during tax season. Fellow CPAs Carol and Sharon had less and less time to work on tax returns as our front door was in perpetual motion. Clients stopped in to catch up on their tax situation, drop off documents, and sign their returns. We had the pleasure of taking on and meeting a handful of new clients as well, listening and learning their stories, questions and concerns. Tax season is like a whole television series crammed into a few weeks. Many characters come in and out of the story. There is conflict, there is drama, and in the end there are lessons learned with a very exhausted but happy ending.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge the staff accountants Matt, Jake and my brother Joe Jr., as well as the administrative staff Kelly and April. They help support the CPAs during this time of year, and all year for that matter. Time doesn’t stop when there is a death in the family, a child is sick, or late nights and weekends are required to get the job done. They are a talented, dedicated and tireless group of individuals that are the true fuel to the C&C engine. There really isn’t enough time in the day to get all of the work done, but it never stops them from rising to the challenge and doing their very best to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of C&C clients.
I asked my father to give the toast at our wedding last year and as you can imagine, he did not shy away from the opportunity. I think at one point in his life he was actually quite terrified of public speaking. Shocking, I know! Over the years I have witnessed him blossom into a man of faith who wants to take the things that had a profound and positive impact on his life and share them with others. His goal is simple – to help people. So in a way, he is always working. Sometimes it is tax work, other times it is financial planning, and much of the time it is through encouraging words and stories. The night of our wedding my Dad told the room of 185 people one very embarrassing story but mostly spoke from the heart about unsung heroes (my step parents and step sister), daring to dream, positive thoughts and words, and the mentality of WE, OUR and US. I must admit that on our worst days, my husband and I revert back to an I, me and my mentality. It’s what we practiced for much of our single lives so I think it is simply something we revert back to from time to time. It’s when we honor a we, our and us mentality that we have our best days and do our best work as a team. Team Barrett grows stronger each day. We sometimes get it right, often get it wrong, but always honor God by trying to do the right thing.
FOB Toast at the Tidewater Inn
Picture by Cast 83 Still & Moving Pictures
With tax season in the rear view mirror, the notion of we, our and us rings in my head. It might be due to repetition (the law of learning) or its presence in the Lord’s Prayer. While these are all things I’ve learned from my Dad, I think I’ve lived these notions this tax season through something else – – a great team. As he said in his father of the bride toast, “While ability and intelligence are important, it has been my experience that the teams that play together, giving their best with all their hearts in conjunction with a WE, OUR and US approach ultimately prevail and win.” This is exactly what C&C has meant to me this tax season. I was welcomed onto a great team without hesitation, and whether they knew it or not, they picked me up after I had been knocked down. My heart is bursting with gratitude for this experience, all of which would have not been possible without the opportunity provided by my father.
Some things really haven’t changed since the Croftly Road days. He is working just as he always was. He’s tireless, I can promise you that, and working harder than ever for the team, his family, friends and C&C’s clients. Where do I fit in? What’s my job? Officially I, Jessica Barrett, am the Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of Carlozo & Company, PA. Unofficially, my job is to help my Dad and the C&C team, to help our clients, to make the team stronger by doing my very best and to make my husband, family and Dad proud. I am blessed and am really very happy to be here.
Thank you for welcoming me as your guest blogger. It was truly a blast. Have a wonderful day!
JB (Jessica Barrett)
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