Published on January 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm
While a European trip is often a vacation destination, for Sean O’Hare, it was an opportunity to realize he wanted to start his own business.
“I wanted to control my own destiny,” said O’Hare, president of O’Hare CPA Associates.
O’Hare CPA Associates has been in business since 2001, and is a CPA firm which specializes in corporate and personal taxes, financial statements, and financial advice.
O’Hare had just left Fairchild Semiconductor, a CPA firm located in South Portland, Maine, after working there for two years as tax manager. There, he was responsible for filing tax returns for clients in 15 different states, and was also responsible for the company’s clients when they were audited.
His position was moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and because O’Hare just got engaged to his ex-wife and he not want to move. He received a “nice” severance package, took a vacation to Europe, and decided to start his own business when he returned.
He managed his first client out of his spare bedroom.
“It was my friend from Gloversville who owned a restaurant,” said O’Hare.
He now has clients that range from real estate and publishing companies to restaurants.
O’Hare is hoping to expand into the Boston area to open up a second office, however no timeframe has been set.
One of O’Hare’s several hundred clients is Newick’s Lobster House, a family owned and operated seafood restaurant with locations in Concord, New Hampshire, Dover, New Hampshire and South Portland, Maine.
Newick’s has been a client of O’Hare CPA Associates since 2008.
“Sean is very knowledgeable in the tax code and very professional. He has never over billed and his billing has been very fair compared to the others we have used,” said John Oliver, CFO of Newick’s.
O’Hare CPA Associates provides Newick’s with, their tax returns for the corporations, partnership, and owner’s, along with the tax planning with each. They also have done their 401k audits, according to Oliver.
Oliver has personally known and worked with O’Hare since 1996, and has high praise for O’Hare.
O’Hare is regarded by not only his clients, but also his co-workers, as an expert in the field.
In one instance he saved one of his clients nearly $100,000 in tax savings, said Tammy O’Hare, his wife and business partner.
“I admire and respect him for the amount of knowledge he has acquired and maintains as tax laws change. He is excellent at what he does,” said Tammy O’Hare.
Owning your business is a very stressful endeavor, especially in the financial world. Because the clients do not sign contracts, they could switch firms.
“Clients can just leave on a whim,” said O’Hare.
Tammy O’Hare described another stressful aspect of public accounting.
“For me, the biggest challenge in public accounting is the constantly changing priorities,” she said. “Working in public accounting, you learn very quickly to roll with the punches,”
Tammy and Sean O’Hare met through eHarmony almost three years after they each went through divorces. They have been working together since 2010, which is roughly after they met, and have been married for around three years.
“He is my best friend,” said Tammy O’Hare.
O’Hare graduated from the College of Saint Rose in 1991, with a degree in accounting. He later earned a masters degree in taxation from Thomas College.
O’Hare has three children: his oldest daughter Jillian who goes to college in Virginia, a son Ryan, in fourth grade, and another daughter, Katie, in second grade.
The kids’ least favorite time of the year is tax season.
Tax season is the most stressful time of the year for a public accountant. Because tax season is in the first quarter of the year, nearly 55 percent of revenue is accumulated in the first quarter, according to O’Hare. However, O’Hare has a very unique way of kicking off the season.
Each January, O’Hare participates in the Disney Land Marathon. Every time he finishes the marathon, his kids tell him, “See you in April.” This is because of the long hours needed during tax season.
“Public accounting is the only profession where you can work 100 hours a week during tax season, and 100 hours the rest of the year,” said O’Hare.
He finds that running is a good way to stay in shape, but also it helps with the stress of owning your own business, and helps him clear his mind.
“Twenty miles is a long time to think about nothing,” said O’Hare.
O’Hare got into running because one day he was reading a magazine, and it gave a training regimen for a marathon. He started with 5k’s and worked his way up. The first marathon he ran was the Marine Corps marathon in 1995 which took place in Washington D.C.
O’Hare is thinking about running the New York City Marathon, but does not think he will be able to run the Boston marathon. Because the Boston Marathon takes place during April, O’Hare would not be able to train for it because it is during tax season.
“During tax season, the training regimen goes down a lot,” O’Hare said.
Tammy O’Hare describes her husband in three words: expert, driven, and focused.
— SAM MAXWELL (January 29th, 2013 Print Edition)