Who: Jeff Badu What: Badu Tax Services, LLC When: Founded in 2015 Where: Chicago, IL
Meet Jeff Badu, an accountant and young entrepreneur with experience beyond his years. He is a 2014 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received both his BS and MS degrees in Accountancy. Shortly thereafter, Jeff obtained his CPA license which helped him start his own business, Badu Tax Services, LLC. His goal in life is “to help people,” which he does through Badu Tax Services as well as through his financial literacy sessions on WGHC 98.3FM Chicago. When he isn’t busy working, you can find Jeff reading or listening to Bloomberg news.
On Badu Tax Services, LLC:
Badu Tax Services is a firm with three focal specialties: tax preparation, tax representation, and tax planning for both individuals and business. The firm’s vision is to help people maximize their financial security. Badu Tax Services is unique because I specialize in personal finance. So, a tax preparer may just help file your taxes, but what happens from May through the rest of the year? I work with my clients throughout the entire year, not just January through April. As a result, they actually see their money grow and become financially aware.
On translating his passion into a business:
Education was a really huge part of it. Both of my degrees (undergraduate and graduate) are in accounting, and I am a certified public accountant (CPA). The other part is that I really like to help people, and I noticed that people lack a lot of the necessary knowledge to manage their finances. People will always need this type of knowledge, and I’m able to provide people with the knowledge and service at the same time. The service I chose was taxes, and dealing with taxes I am able to see a lot of their personal finances and actually give clients sound recommendations so that they are financially secure and never have to worry about money.
On juggling time and competing priorities:
We only have 24 hours in a day. I can always do more and help more, but there is only one of me. It’s a challenge when you know that you’re good at something but you’re limited to what you can do.
So you choose to do what you want with your time. I chose to go to class and make an impact in the community. I also had my business plan, and I was working maybe two hours each week developing my plan. That really started after my sophomore year of college with my first internship. At the time I was working with one of the largest accounting firms in the country and I thought to myself “this tax thing, let’s really try this out, let’s really push”. So my plan was just to keep building and building and push. I’m still doing that now. Building a plan isn’t just a one-time thing.
On how to be successful as a young entrepreneur:
Develop a network. Mentors are important. You also need a support system and a network of people that you can reach out to. I have lawyers on my team so that if a client needs something I can at least point them in the right direction even though I may not be able to help.
Know yourself. Knowing who you are and what makes you the best you. What sparks you up? For me that was entrepreneurship and being able to do whatever I want.
Find your niche. Do what you are passionate about, but also make sure that you are good at it. Doing taxes comes naturally to me. I can give you a whole seminar without looking at a book. You have to find your niche.
Last words of wisdom:
Apart from knowing yourself and finding your niche, my advice is to have a plan. Not all plans will work out, but at least put pencil to paper. Set an action plan with deadlines and always plan to build on it. You also have to make sure you do it right the first time. Don’t try to cut corners; after all, this is your business.