What’s a work/life balance, again?
You're no stranger to the grind if you work at a Big 4 firm. And after many years, hours and tears, you’ll likely earn an awesome title and team — and more caseloads than you can count.
For some of us, that’s what life is (and will always be) about, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for others, the Big 4 isn’t your endgame; it’s a stepping stone to the work and life you want.
Logan Allec is a CPA, founder of Choice Tax Relief and go-to person for all things tax related. He started at Ernst & Young (EY) in 2013 and worked his way up to Tax Manager, where the 80+ hour work week is a baseline that goes way up.
He loved the job when it was right for him. But then he started a family and, well, needed time for a life outside of the office and #TaxTwitter.
Now he’s a founder of his own company — where he works from home, builds his own hours and earns the team upward of 6 figures each month.
Here are Logan’s insights on how he:
- Survived (and even thrived) at a Big 4.
- Built his personal brand.
- Left EY to start his own business.
- Manages 150+ clients and his team — and gets to go home at 5 pm.
Here’s how you can make it happen!
How an EY CPA built his brand & business to earn 6 figures
1. Do your time… with a goal in mind
You know how death and taxes are inevitable? For an accountant, those two kinda go hand-in-hand.
Your first days at a Big 4 are all about the grunt work. You gotta put in the time to learn, foster relationships and earn your stripes.
When you come up for air (or maybe before you walk through the door), ask yourself: what do I want my life to look like next year? In five years? Make a list of what you need to do to get there.
Let’s say you want to be a manager one day. That probably means you should:
- Jump at leadership opportunities.
- Ask to engage in client-facing conversations.
- Learn a thing (or ten) about sales.
- Solve a lot of people’s problems as publicly as possible.
Or maybe the goal is to run your own business like Logan did. That might mean you need to:
- Build a powerful book of referrals and clients.
- Create a name for yourself on social media (we’ll get more into that later).
- Foster an internal network of colleagues that will refer you.
- Start saving up some major capital so you can go off on your own.
When you know what you want, you can put the pieces in place to get there.
Logan knew that if he wanted to go off on his own someday, he had to build a name for himself. Which brings us to:
2. Start building your personal brand… yesterday
Even if you plan on staying at a Big 4 forever, every CPA needs a personal brand. At the end of the day, you’re the one finding leads, building relationships and creating clients.
Here’s an open secret on building a brand: you’ll never know what people want to watch, read or listen to until you publish something.
Five years ago, Logan put out his first Youtube video. It got less than 400 views and all of 11 likes. He made 10 more videos that year, eventually crossing the 1,000, then 7,000 view threshold.
That next year he published 15 more videos. He offered tips (“8 Ways to Get Out of a PayDay Loan” — 8.5k views) and education (“Umbrella Insurance Explained,” — 13k views).
And the year after that? He increased his volume to one hundred videos. Some didn’t hit, but others got 200, 300… 400 thousand views. He hit his stride by:
- Leaning into what he knew.
- Reorienting around what worked.
- Tapping into trends (he hit his first 100k in 2020 — wonder what was going on then? 🤔)
- Publishing a lot.
Today Logan has 135k subscribers, 738 videos and a booming fanbase. And according to one subscriber who went back to that very first video: a legend was born.
3. Stop being afraid of AI… it’s not taking your job
Repeat after me: AI tools are friends, not…going to replace you.
(Don’t worry. They’re kidding).
The reality is, AI and automation are the best ways to get the stuff you don’t want to do out of the way — so you can do what matters.
Think about what sucks the most time out of your day. Are they important? Or are they something like… showing a client how to do that thing… again?
Logan ran into that problem when onboarding new hires. He found himself answering the same questions ad nauseum. It took his time away from clients, brand-building and (you know) managing a business of 150+ clients.
He found Scribe, an AI-powered process documentation tool on Twitter and gave it a shot.
Scribe is a Chrome extension and desktop app that writes your process documentation for you. Just click a button and go through the process in real time. Scribe will build a how-to guide with text and annotated screenshots — in seconds.
Here’s a Scribe that Logan uses with his team:
“Scribe saves me at least 5 hours a week. Break that down across the whole team — each of us saving at least 7% of our time. That reflects in real dollars. And in general, my new hires are making less mistakes, and asking way less questions.” — Logan Allec, CPA
Logan also recommends using automation when you can.
When he was at EY, they tried introducing a CRM system. Of course, it was easier said than done with hundreds of employees, so it never really caught on. But now that he’s running his own firm, he’s realizing just how much can (and probably did) fall through the cracks without one.
If he could go back, he’d introduce the CRM to his team so he’d never get buried in another inbox again.
“Think about what's the highest and best use of your time. I always ask myself that, and the answer’s not gonna be answering 30 questions, taking 10 hours to build a guide or losing the rest of my day tracking down an email.”
4. Take the risk… when you’re ready
There’s a lot of security at a Big 4. In many ways, working for one means you’ve made it. That’s absolutely something to be proud of! So many companies will only work with a Big 4 (they might even specify which one). You’ve got a career for life if you stay on that track.
It’s risky going out on your own. You have to bring in your own business, build a team and turn a profit. Like with anything, there are no guarantees.
But hey, isn’t that what makes the wins so worth it?
Logan started small by building an affiliate site. He used this to earn passive income while focusing on his favorite job: being someone’s dad. That time also let him recharge from burn-out and level set for his Tax Relief business.
Now he’s running a growing team and manages a book of over 150 clients. The best part? At the end of every day, he gets to shut down his laptop and hang out with his kids.
When taking a risk, you want to make sure you’re setting yourself up for the best possible success. Ask yourself:
- Is this something I can financially afford?
- Do I have the tools I need to make this easier?
- If this doesn’t work out, will I be okay?
- Does the payoff outweigh what I could lose?
If the answer to that last question is yes — then the risk is almost always worth it.
Prepare yourself to take the leap
No matter your goals, just know there’s a light at the end of tax season. Set yourself up for success by taking advantage of the opportunities, tools and even risks that can get you where you want to be.
Use Logan’s tips to:
- Do your time… with a goal in mind.
- Start building your personal brand… yesterday.
- Stop being afraid of AI… it’s not taking your job.
- Take the risk… when you’re ready.
Most importantly, ask yourself: What’s the highest and best use of my time?
Let Scribe build your process documentation for you, so you can focus on the work that matters.