Tax Day - It Is No Longer Enough to Just Be an Accountant

As you are no doubt aware, today is Tax Day. After spending months organizing your client’s financials, working with many business owners on their tax strategy, and putting in countless long days at the office, Tax Day has finally arrived. 

As a CPA, what makes you stand out from the pack? With over 660,000 CPAs in the United States of America, how do you ensure your name rises to the top of a potential client’s mind when selecting their accountant? 

It is no longer enough to be just a CPA. Clients are looking for differentiating factors that set their CPAs apart from others in the field.


We spoke with Kep Kepner, Senior Partner at KepnerCPA, to learn more about how he has differentiated his practice and expanded his offerings as a CPA. 

Meet Kep Kepner

Kep Kepner is the founder and namesake managing partner of KepnerCPA. He came into the accounting profession in an unusual way with a background in sales and marketing from his stint at IBM and other computer companies. His marketing background allowed him to become the partner in charge of the management consulting practice of Alford Meroney & Company, a regional CPA firm. When Alford Meroney merged, Kep became a Management Consulting Partner at Arthur Young.

Kep has an accounting degree from Kansas University and an MBA in finance from the University of California – Berkeley. But his education wasn’t complete until he cashed in his corner office at Arthur Young to acquire a company that built bank buildings. When that business tanked in the financial debacle of the 1980s (Kep calls that a learning experience), he started KepnerCPA in his spare bedroom.

Through his own experiences and those of his many clients, Kep has identified the factors that separate highly successful companies from also-rans. He has defined those strategic factors in two books and consults regularly with his clients to help them grow and prosper.

Some view the CPA only as the “tax guy.” What do you do in your practice to make yourself indispensable for your clients and business owners?  

Kep: Most CPAs are trying to distinguish themselves from others. If we are being honest, most tax and accounting work is a commodity, distinguished only by the personality of the CPA or their firm. In a general sense, we do good work, we openly communicate with our clients, we encourage questions, embrace technology, and expect that our staff has a life outside of work. We have always believed that fulfilled employees will do the best job serving our clients. Brain Performance is a new science (although the Center for BrainHealth has been at it for 20+ years) that has great promise for any business that embraces it.

Your specialty on brain health and growth is unique in the exit planning field. What made you interested in studying the brain?  

Kep: People ask me all the time why I talk about Brain Health. For years I have been intrigued by the business owner who is trapped in their business, making no progress on their business prosperity and wealth. Every advisor in EPI has this type of client and as professionals, we often see what they need, but those ideas don’t get implemented and the client stays stuck. The fact is everything we do is preceded by a thought…but what thought?

In 2020 I went to the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas and asked, “Do you have programs that will help someone with a healthy brain; i.e. a business owner?” They have over 600 clinical studies from over 100 neuroscientists that prove their high-performance brain training science. They are the world leader in cognitive resources and their protocols not only lead to better business decisions but also to the growth in white matter and blood flow to the brain. I am not a brain scientist; I am a CPA. If science will help my clients, I will help them implement it. 

So how does it work? It is simple. I took the training (which I am now licensed to offer) and had such great results that I had everyone in my firm take the training. The result: Our revenues grew and our profits grew. And I freed up about 40% of my time. Enough to develop and write a best-selling book, Your Brain is Your Best Business Weapon.

So it is tax season and I have only done 2 tax returns and one of them is mine. Contrast that with three years ago when I did hundreds of returns. My life is so much better using my brain better and my clients are better served.

As a CPA and a CEPA, you play a pivotal role on an owner’s exit planning team. How do you serve your owner clients during their exit?  

Kep: I fill the role of the leader of the Value Acceleration Methodology created by EPI. However, I have never felt that I can know an owner’s business better than they do. Therefore, I incorporate High-Performance Brain Training into my advisory work to improve the business decision-making process of the owner. Implementing a MindSmarts Roadmap, supplemented with ninety-day sprints is the process I have used for 20 years. When I teamed up with the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas to implement their High-Performance Brain Training processes, the success rate for our work increased dramatically. 

What inspired you to earn your CEPA credential after years of being a CPA?  

Kep: I believed my consulting practice needed some tools and structure that I didn’t have. The EPI protocols gave me that content and the Brain Training enhanced the probability of success.

What can owners expect from your book, Your Brain is Your Best Business Weapon?

Kep: They can get a high-level overview of the training. Like any training concept, live training can be stronger than just reading about it so we offer training programs and workshops on this content. However, I believe the greatest value comes when it is implemented in a business and the owner is held accountable by using the protocols.

How has your practice grown or changed since you began your journey into brain health and training?   

Kep: My practice started 35 years ago and prior to COVID we were stuck. I was stuck. It wasn’t COVID that slowed us down; it was me. Not only has my practice grown and our profits have grown with the same level of staff that we had pre-training, but I have the freedom to do something great for the small business community. My partner and staff have developed new skills and are capable of taking on more meaningful work. Most importantly we are more efficient.

Meet Kep Kepner this May at the 2023 Exit Planning Summit. Kep will take part in our Author Showcase on Monday, May 22. Learn more about the Exit Planning Summit and register today!