CPA Firm – Cannabis Perception – just when you think the world has changed, it can still kick you in the chops. We lost a client this weekend specifically due to concerns of investor perception of our being involved with the legal cannabis industry in California.
We will get into the details in a moment…suffice it to say that the loss of any client is a disappointment.
When the client is mid-five figures in annual fees, they are not insignificant to our practice, the fees from our cannabis industry clients dwarf it.
The issue that is almost unfathomable will become clear. The concern came about with our transition to the QBO Platform and the need to connect a new Accountant User. Let’s start with the client’s response to our request.
Hi Jordan: apologies for the delay but had been traveling. quite frankly, I think we might have an issue here.
While I have absolutely zero personal concerns, I don’t believe we can represent our accountants to our investors with such a descriptive link [the reference is to an email address on the “aBIZinaBOXcannabis.com” domain to the cannabis industry. this is purely a reflection of our investors and relationship as fiduciary on the various investment vehicles and connection to the [redacted] space. happy to hop on a call to discuss.
When I read the message, I wrote a detailed response which
The firm’s legal name is aBIZinaBOX Inc,
The firm maintains two distinct websites – abizinabox.com and abizinaboxcannabis.com, the first being general website, and second being the cannabis industry site. We made a decision to separate the two both out of a similar concern with respect to the very different needs of the cannabis industry and on a protective level out of concern with respect to what then AG Sessions was going to do in attacking the cannabis industry.
Our primary domain is abizinabox.com, and that is the one that we use for email and the overall operation of the practice.
We had to make an urgent transition for cybersecurity protective reasons, which included transitioning > xxx entities from Xero to QBOnline…five of my people working on that for an entire week.
The additional complexity is that there are numerous connections across domains, such as Intuit ProAdvisor Certification that required a manual transition. We used the abiizinaboxcannabis.com domain in a transitory capacity…and have completed the transition.
As such, the Accountant User connection request should now be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or one of your investors ever had reason to contact us, or would receive a communication from us, it would be to or from the abizinabox.com domain.
Having said that, if someone searches my name, they will certainly see a strong tie to the cannabis industry in California, which is the only state that has clients in the cannabis industry where it has been legal for > 25 years.
We have been very successful with the cannabis industry to a point where it is now > 50% or our net collected fees.
However, I have been in practice for 38 years and spent the majority of that time doing other things.
So…my view of the QBOnline situation is me and three other employees of this firm have QB ProAdvisor Advanced Certification on the platform, and the firm has Elite Partner status which is the highest tier that Intuit Offers.
If anyone has a question about primary credentials for myself, they are right here from cpaverify.com
The firm’s primary license in Illinois is held by one of our QSSS subsidiaries named Jordan S. Zoot, CPA, P.C.
That QSSS is also licensed in Florida
The firm’s California license is held by abizinabox Inc.
There you have the details as to our firm name and licenses which don’t mention the word cannabis. The reality is that cannabis a substantial part of our practice…and it is a completely legal industry everywhere we engage with it. We don’t touch plants, and our business is the provision of the services that a licensed firm of certified public accountants performs. We don’t try to hide our involvement. We both know that the internet makes all of this information available to anyone that knows to search.
We have a number of clients that might have the same sensitivity that you articulated, yet none of them that know us have expressed concern. It would be just about impossible to hide our involvement in the industry, and just so you are aware, my visibility with the industry is rather significant. See https://cannabislaw.report/category/jordan-zoot/ or https://www.greenmarketreport.com/its-tax-time-choosing-cannabis-tax-advisors/.
I would add that major financial services providers that have significant presence in the education space, such as AON Insurance Brokerage are moving into the space https://www.greenmarketreport.com/aon-takes-the-risk-on-cannabis/ …and keep in mind, in New York State, cannabis is medicine, not recreational at this point…and in that context I don’t view it as any different than a pharmaceutical company such as Pfizer or Merck.
Succinctly, the Accountant User connection can be sent to email@example.com. If there is still something to discuss, let me know.
I had expectations that the detailed explanation would put the issue to rest.
Well…SHOCKER…four hours later, the response we got was one sentence.
Thanks, Jordan. Really appreciate your expertise and working with you but it is best to go our separate ways. Thank you.
We are going to leave it to our readers to draw their own conclusions with respect to whether our association with the cannabis industry was the root cause or just “good cover” for something else.
However, it does hammer on the very real issue that for professional such as CPA and law firms, the perception, of “stigma” if you will isn’t entirely dead.
CPA Firm – Cannabis Perception