Jay & Associates is a local accounting firm of 11 employees that focuses on accounting, tax, consulting and business valuation services to small to midsize businesses. The company also provides individual tax and consulting services to small business owners. We spoke with Managing Shareholder Neil Jay to learn more about him and his business.
When did you realize you wanted to take over the family business?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to run the family business. I considered other options, but I always wanted to continue my father’s work. He ran the company with a level of trust and honesty – he would make tough decisions and deliver difficult but honest answers. It’s important to me to continue that legacy and provide solutions for our clients.
What has been your greatest learning moment since taking over the business?
It didn’t take long to learn, but people are always the greatest asset of a small business. With a small service business, you have to learn quickly that you can’t do everything yourself, and hiring the best people is absolutely essential. Maintaining a positive work environment and attracting the best talent is critical for sustained success.
What motivates you?
The client. The client has always driven our firm to provide the best service possible. In our business, we are in a unique position to have a front row seat to our clients’ successes and failures. I rejoice when our clients succeed and hurt when our clients go through difficult situations. To provide them the greatest solutions, whatever their situation, is my motivation every day.
What tax planning tips do you have for a small business owner?
This could be a never-ending list, so I will keep it to two very simple tips. First is communication with your accountant and attorney. I can only help a person if I have open lines of communication. Consult your accountant prior to making major business decisions, and be in contact with your attorney regarding life changes that may require adjustments to your operating agreements and/or wills and trusts. Second, never make a decision based on a tax deduction; make a decision because it is the right business or financial decision, then look to the tax benefits as the final part of that decision. I have so many examples of individuals and businesses making acquisitions because it provides a deduction rather than providing future opportunities. Buying a piece of equipment because it provides a deduction is a short-sighted decision compared with buying a piece of equipment that will allow you to grow your business and generate new sources of revenue.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Learn to utilize and leverage time better. There’s really not a secret to running a service company. The key to growth is to hire the very best candidates and trust them to do their job. I would have tried to incorporate this knowledge earlier in my career.
What is your favorite thing to do in Tulsa in your free time?
I love Tulsa. It’s my home, and I love this city. I enjoy spending time downtown, and I am amazed at the levels of investment in the central part of the city. I provide services for musicians in the Texas and Oklahoma music scenes, and I enjoy hearing them perform at Cain’s and other downtown locations. Recently, I’ve started to cook at home more often and have enjoyed preparing meals and spending time with my family.