Most of us think accounting is all about crunching numbers. For alumnus Brad Tafoya, though, being an accountant is more about heart than about spreadsheets. He and his firm, Tafoya Barrett & Associates, are all about helping their clients and their community reach their full potential.
"We all have issues with money, with finances," Tafoya (Accounting, ’92) says. "How do we have the life that we want when all these other things are getting in the way? It becomes a very emotional process. Watching people realize those fears, come to terms with them, and choose not to allow them to affect them anymore is amazing. And I get to help them with that. It’s really cool."
Tafoya has been the principal owner of his certified public accounting firm since 2005, when he and his partner bought the company he’d been working with since 1998. Tafoya Barrett and Associates is a tax and financial planning firm working with business owners and other individuals in the Durango community. The majority of the small firm’s employees have Fort Lewis College connections—nine of the thirteen people have some connection to FLC, whether they are alumni, current students, or even a professor.
Naturally, the team handles tax preparation and many of the usual services of an accounting firm. But Tafoya’s own specialty is working with clients as a life planner. Think of his role as a combination between a financial planner and a life coach. Rather than examining a person’s cash flow and net worth statements up front, he gets into his clients’ true passions and goals and hopes.
"With life planning, that all comes first," he says. "Before I even look at their finances, I get very clear with them about what exactly their life goals are, who they want to be, what they want to do. From there, we work on a plan for how to bring those elements more fully into their lives. Then, as part of that process, I wrap in the actual finances, the true financial planning, to make that happen."
As an example, Tafoya talks about a hypothetical couple who has long dreamed of owning a second home on the beach. He would listen to all the reasons they want that home, all they want to do with it, all the emotions they’ve tied up into it. Then, he’d take a look at their financial situation. If they can’t afford that home, he dives deeper into what it is about that dream that speaks to them.
Then he works with them on different ways to bring those dreams to life. For instance, maybe this couple just wants to visit the beach for a month each year, and a vacation rental or a home swap would better suit their resources.
"That’s what life planning is about, putting the goals and the hopes and the dreams first, and then bringing in the finances to make that happen," Tafoya says. "That’s my passion, because I really feel like I can make a difference in my client’s lives."
The difference Tafoya makes in people’s lives extends well beyond his clientele, though. Tafoya Barrett & Associates is a community-oriented firm. Giving back to the local Durango area community is even part of their mission statement.
That commitment shines through in the company culture. Tafoya explains that they provide each employee an average of an hour per week to go volunteer at any nonprofit they choose, whether that’s building trails or working with youth centers. Three times a year, the entire firm volunteers in the community as a group. And the firm matches up to $500 in nonprofit donations from each employee every year.
"We want to give back to our community," Tafoya says. "We want to provide a space for our employees to do that too."
Tafoya Barrett & Associates does such a good job encouraging community involvement that the community has taken note. For instance, the firm won Small Business of the Year in 2014 from the Durango Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its involvement in and support of local causes.
Tafoya says that any recognition humbles and surprises him. Awards or not, he is certainly grateful for the opportunities to give back to Durango that owning his own firm enables. "The thing about being a small business and being an entrepreneur and being able to serve the community, either through volunteerism or being on boards and whatnot? It’s good for our firm and good for the community," he says. "I never thought about it that way, but I guess we do help in a way our own little bit of helping shape the community."
It’s not just coincidence that Tafoya’s community is Durango. Returning here was a deliberate choice he made after finishing graduate school and working for a few years at a large firm in Denver.
"It was just too big," he says. "I’m an outdoor person. I want to be able to spend my lunch hours and my weekends outside playing, and it was just so hard in Denver."
He was willing to sacrifice a lucrative career to live in Durango. He was on the partner track, with a firm who was happy to have him. "I remember thinking back then, well, I'm going to go to Durango and I'm going to be doing easy 1040s the rest of my life," he says. "My career won’t be that challenging, but I’ll be in Durango, and it’ll be cool."
Then he arrived, started working for the firm he would later own, and the rest is history in motion. "My career has been much more rewarding than I thought it would be," he says. "I feel like this community has always been good to us."
Every year, on the Friday before Memorial Weekend, local company staff, friends and neighbors get together as one big team and armed with brooms, scrappers and trash bags, cleanup dowtown Durango. Each team is assigned all four sides of one block. It is a tradition at Tafoya Barrett and Associates to participate in this event, always hoping, and usually successful, to have our block! Lots of hard work but very fun - great job Team!
This makes 11 years that we have proudly participated in the Dave Spence Ski Classic, benefitting the Adaptive Sports Foundation. Their mission is to provide outdoor sports opportunities to improve the quality of life for children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities and their families. This is one of the Foundation’s biggest fundraisers of the year and a great chance for out accountants and CPA’s to take a break from tax season! Pat Barrett, Brad Wolters, Michelle Kooi, Kelsey Damron and Matthew Chapman represented us well on the slopes. Thank you Dave Spencer for allowing us to help contribute in furthering your vision.
We had a blast volunteering at the La Plata Open Space Conservancy's Wine & Spirits Tasting Snowdown event this year. It has become tradition that Tafoya Barrett and Associates not only support La Plata Open Space Conservancy's cause but to volunteer at this wonderful event annually.
Our very own Pat Barrett received the "Bill Mashaw" Volunteer of the Year award. The Durango Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award was renamed the "Bill Mashaw" Volunteer of the Year award in 2012. Bill was very involved in the Durango community by organizing the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization and through his involvement in the Community Development Corporation, and served with the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Pat was recognized for his dedication and involvement in our community. Pat is an active member in Kiwanis Club of Durango, Durango Knights of Columbus, and past Board Member and President of the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County. Both of our partners encourage the firm to give back and get involved in our community and lead by example. Pat is a great reminder of how one person really can make an impact towards the betterment of our community.
Our team had a blast participating in this year’s Stan the Marathon Man 5K and 10K. The majority of us participated in the 5K walk. Pat represented in the 5K run and Michelle Kooi rocked the 10K run.
All of the proceeds raised are given to the Alzheimer’s Association Durango and the Fort Lewis College Foundation – Athletes To End Alzheimer’s Scholarship. The event is hosted in honor of Stan Rabbe, a Durango local and avid outdoorsman who passed away in January of 2015.
Tafoya Barrett and Associates is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring One Garden at a Time, a farm-to-table dinner and silent auction to support The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado on October 12th at the Manna Garden. We believe strongly in the work that The Garden Project is doing and wish to help grow a healthier community by supporting school and community gardens programs. Join us for a wonderful evening!
Tickets and more information available at: http://www.thegardenprojectswcolorado.org/one_garden_2017
This month the Alliance is proud to showcase Tafoya Barrett Associates. Tafoya Barrett was founded in 1979 by Bill Brown and Steve Wheeldon to provide high quality, high-end tax and financial consulting services here in Durango, Colorado. The firm grew steadily and was acquired by current owners Pat Barrett and Brad Tafoya in 2005.
Tafoya Barrett is a member of CPA Associates International, giving them access to unique accounting resources for companies in our region. They currently have 10 full time employees, five of whom are Fort Lewis College graduates (including Brad Tafoya!).
The owners of the company love doing business in La Plata County. They are amazed by the community here, as well as their business clients, local resources, and of course our great lifestyle which makes the day AFTER April 15th so enjoyable.
The company was recently named Small Business of the year by the Durango Chamber of Commerce, in part because of the firm’s extensive community efforts through programs like Rotary’s Red Ball Express and the Dave Spencer Ski Classic at Purgatory. Tafoya Barrett is also committed to our local businesses through its role in the Alliance. Brad Tafoya helped form the Alliance in 2010, and later served on the Board as well as being Board Chair from 2013 to 2014.
Thanks to Tafoya Barrett for being a founding Investor-level member of the Alliance, and all they do to make Durango and La Plata County a great place to live and do business!
September- it's a busy time for accountants. It means heavy workloads, deadlines and putting in hours on the weekends. But that doesn't mean we don't stop to spend time in the community, and this year we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the Stan the Marathon Man 5K & 10K Walk/Run at Santa Rita Park.
The event is hosted in honor of Stan Rabbe, a Durango local who passed away from complications of Alzheimers in January of 2015. Stan was an avid outdoorsman and traveler, who enjoyed hiking, hunting, cycling and more. All of the funds and donations raised for the event are given to the Alzheimer’s Association Durango or Fort Lewis College Foundation – Athletes To End Alzheimer’s Scholarship, all the funds stay local.
Our firm participated as a group, though some of us ran the 10K while others walked the 5K. Even some of our furry companions joined us for the event. There were tons of community members there, everyone had a smile on their face and we all had a wonderful time participating. Local musicians and bands were placed throughout the course, playing music and keeping participants excited and energized. There were several water stations all manned by smiling volunteers and at the finish line you received fun bead necklaces. Several of the local bakeries and grocery stores provided food and drinks.
Overall, it was a fantastic event raising money for a great cause. Made even better by the fact that all the funds stay here in our community! And even though most of us had to come to the office after the event, we still look forward to participating again next year!
There are few things that compare to the feeling of giving back to the community we are so fortunate to live in. Last Tuesday, our staff had the honor of preparing and serving lunch at Manna Soup Kitchen. Working with the amazing staff at Manna's we prepared Teriyaki Beef w/ pineapple, rice, mixed veggies, and garden salad with fresh baked sugar cookies for dessert. This is the third time our office has had the opportunity to prepare and serve at Manna's and we look forward to doing it many more times in the future.
We arrived while Manna's staff was serving up a hot breakfast. After prepping everything for lunch under the guidance of Manna's chef, Thomas, we made several dozen sandwiches for the sack lunches that are available to anyone on request. Thomas filled us in on the numerous services provided at Manna's, such as clothing vouchers to local thrift stores, bus passes, shower and laundry facilities and more, most of which are earned by helping with chores. We also had a chance to check out their garden, where we learned that some of the produce is used for meals and the rest is given to those in need.
We are amazed and inspired by the work that Manna Soup Kitchen does for the people in the community. Their hard work does not go unappreciated by the people they serve either, as many of them stayed to help clean the dining hall after they had finished their meals. We had a wonderful time thanks to the fantastic people at Manna Soup Kitchen.
For more information on volunteering or donating to Manna Soup Kitchen visit http://mannasoupkitchen.org/
Our very own Pat Barrett was recognized as 'Citizen of the Year' by the Mason's Durango/San Juan Lodge #46. Pat was both shocked and honored to receive the award, saying,
"I was shocked to have been recognized by the local Mason's lodge as their Citizen of the Year. It was an honor to have been recognized along side the true heroes of our community which included several first responders from Durango Fire and Rescue, the Durango Police Department, La Plata County Sheriff's Office and Colorado State Patrol, in addition to several teachers and students from the Durango 9R, Bayfield and Ignacio school districts. The Masons are a huge asset to our community, and its members are continually giving back in so many ways behind the scenes, day-in and day-out."
The award given to Pat states, "Pat Barrett is a quiet leader that works behind the scenes. He moved to Durango in 2001 and has participated in It's about Kids Steering committee, was a founding member of the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County and Grand Knight for two terms for Knights of Columbus. He is on the boards of B & G Club and Kiwanis."
Congratulations to Pat and Thank You to the Mason's for their continued support and involvement in our community!
If you were driving downtown last Friday, there is a good chance you saw people all over wearing bright green t-shirts. Our staff was among the mass of lime green shirt wearing volunteers helping out with the Downtown Durango Cleanup. The cleanup is an annual event hosted by the Durango Chamber of Commerce on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers are assigned a block of downtown to clean up; this includes sweeping sidewalks, picking up trash, scraping off stickers & any other small tasks to tidy up the area. Our staff had a great time participating, the weather was absolutely beautiful and it was a great way to spend time helping the community.
The cleanup takes place right before hundreds of tourists and bikers get into town for the annual Iron Horse Bike Classic. With the help of a large group of volunteers, downtown Durango was cleaned in a matter of hours. Complimentary coffee and donuts were available for volunteers prior to the start of the cleanup and the Durango Diplomats kept volunteers hydrated by handing out chilled bottled waters throughout the morning. After the cleanup volunteers wearing their bright green shirts could stop in Durango Coffee Company and get a drink for 50% off.
Overall, it's another great display of the wonderful community we live in. We appreciate the Chamber organizing the event every year and encouraging the community members to keep Durango looking beautiful. We love the opportunity to help care for and add value to the community, especially before a huge visitor weekend such as Memorial Day. Plus, it's always nice to get out of the office on a lovely spring day and spend a few hours surrounded by members of the community working to make Durango an even better place to call home.
In February, the FASB published its new standard on lease accounting. It requires companies that lease assets for terms of more than one year to report on their balance sheets right-to-use assets and corresponding liabilities over the lease term, regardless of how they’re classified for income statement and tax purposes. It also calls for lessees to expand their footnote disclosures about the amount, timing, and uncertainty of payments they make for the lease agreements.
Under existing GAAP, companies record on their balance sheets only lease obligations that are akin to financing arrangements (also known as finance or capital leases). In practice, few leases appear on company balance sheets, because companies are given significant leeway to structure deals to look like rentals (also known as operating leases). For some companies, such as airlines that lease their fleets of planes or retail chains that rent storefronts, operating lease payments make up significant financial obligations.
For decades, many investors have complained that current practice makes lessees appear more financially secure than they really are. Therefore, overall, investors and analysts are applauding the FASB’s move to require companies to report all leases on their balance sheets.
Businesses worry that the new lease standard’s benefits don’t offset its significant implementation costs. The lease standard is scheduled to become effective for publicly traded companies in 2019 — just a year after the broad-reaching revenue recognition standard goes into effect. The net result will be a major amount of stress on controllers, their financial reporting teams and corporate reporting systems.
We can work with you to implement both standards and plan for any adverse consequences that may arise, such as loan covenant violations or credit downgrades.
Another Snowdown has come and gone and like years in the past, Tafoya Barrett and Associates staff had the opportunity to volunteer at the La Plata Open Space Conservancy (LPOSC) 22nd Annual Snowdown Event. Every year for Snowdown LPOSC hosts a Wine and Spirits Tasting accompanied with a silent auction. For the last few years members of our staff have volunteered to help with the event. This year Cindy Morin, Alicia Siow, Kendra Marquez & Lynndee Beller were all able to attend and help with this years event.
The event was held at Mutu's Italian Kitchen and had an excellent turnout. The silent auction included original artwork from local artists as well as a variety of items that focused on Durango's quality of life. The evening also included a raffle for a number of items ranging from Ski Passes to a Dog Sled Ride. There was an endless supply of delicious food, desserts, and wine and craft spirits from local distilleries.
LPOSC is a local non profit organization that protects open lands through conservation easements. The Snowdown Event is one of their largest fundraisers and something our firm looks forward to helping with every year. We are so grateful for all the wonderful and hard work that LPOSC does for this community and if attendance of this event is any indication, then we know the community members feel the same way.
Recently, our staff volunteered with Trails 2000 and helped create a new trail in Horse Gulch. We had been looking forward to working with Trails 2000 and when the initial date of our project rolled around, the weather forced us to postpone. Two weeks later we were eager to meet Dewayne (our Trails 2000 leader) and get to work.
Trails 2000 is a local trails non profit, located here in Durango. They help build, maintain, and educate the community on trails. The incredible work they do building and maintaining trails is based solely on the help they receive from volunteers. Helping to lead groups, ranging from high school students to local office staff's like ours, Trails 2000 educates on how to build new trails and cover old trails with the least amount of disturbance to the natural environment.
Building trails is no easy task, and our group of 10 volunteers learned that very quickly. Dewayne led us up to the trail we would be working on and gave us a rundown on the different types of tools we would be using and gave a saftey talk. Then we got to it! We spent the morning building the new trail and covering the two previous trails that had been washed out. We were exhausted!
Working with Trails 2000 was such educational experience and we all felt very accomplished when our little section of trail was complete. We were even fortunate enough to witness the first rider to use the new trail. Trails 2000 took great care of us while we were out there, providing not only the tools and safety protection, but also with plenty of drinks to keep us hydrated in the heat and snacks to keep us energized.
There were plenty of bikers out on the trails that morning and so many took the time to thank us for our work on the trail. It just shows how truly connected this community is and Trails 2000 continually works on building that connection. We had a blast working with Trails 2000 and we look forward to the opportunity to work with them again in the future.
Our very own Cindy Morin and Marian Hamlen have been accepted into the Durango Diplomats! The Durango Diplomats is an organization within the Durango Chamber of Commerce, made up of 40 members. The Diplomats are the goodwill ambassadors for the Chamber as well as the entire Durango community. Members assist with ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate grand openings and provide a volunteer base for special events in the community throughout the year.
"I enjoy being a Diplomat as I think it helps new businesses realize that community spirit runs strong in Durango. There is a big commitment towards buying local and supporting local stores. This is the 1st step in helping them see this," says Cindy. "The Chamber special events are a great way to meet your local merchants, your community and support the Chamber!"
Cindy and Marian have attended ribbon cutting ceremonies at places such as Durango Craft Spirits, The Clay Room, and Scenic Aperture. Cindy also volunteered at the annual Shred Day at Santa Rita Park.
Congratulations to Paula Carron!!! Winner of the jelly bean counting contest we held during tax season. Paula had the closest guess without going over the actual amount. She guessed 963 and the actual amount was 990. Her prize was $50 Durango Dollars, to be used anywhere in Durango!
Thanks to everyone who participated!!
Tafoya Barrett and Associates, PC is both excited and proud to announce they are the recipients of the Small Business of the Year Award from the Durango Chamber of Commerce. We would like to express how truly honored we are to have received this award; and thank the wonderful members of the community and Chamber of Commerce for their recognition. As presenter Joe Lloyd said, "Their values of integrity, honesty, balance and community service go beyond how they conduct their business. They extend into how they interact within their neighborhoods, schools, town, environment and the world in which we live, work, and play." We are so proud to be a part of this community and we will continue to strive towards those values. We would also like to congratulate all of the other nominees, who were so deserving of their nomination. We are grateful to be nominated and recognized with such incredible individuals and businesses.
Special thanks to the Durango Chamber of Commerce for putting on the event. They did a fantastic job.
Tafoya Barrett and Associates is honored to be announced as one of the nominees of the Durango Rocks Small Business of the Year award. Durango Rocks is an annual event held by the Durango Chamber of Commerce, that recognizes individuals and businesses for their outstanding service to our amazing community. The event will take place January 22nd, tickets are available through the Chamber of Commerce. We are grateful to be nominated and are very excited to celebrate an evening with all who attend.
Tafoya Barrett and Associates partner Brad Tafoya has won the Durango Herald's 2014 Reader's Choice Award for best Tax Preparer! Thank you to everyone who voted; we look forward to continuing to serve our great community!
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners; thank you for all you do for our community!
Tafoya Barrett and Associates' partner John Moore was selected for the 2014-2015 Leadership La Plata Class.
Each year a diverse group of dynamic and talented individuals is selected to be part of Leadership La Plata ("LLP"). Since its founding in 1988, LLP has graduated more than 400 concerned citizens, and counts among its alumni business leaders, government officials, non-profit directors, active private citizens and more – all committed to making a difference in La Plata County.
Good work, John!
Tafoya Barrett and Associates won this year’s Clean Commute Week Business Commuter Challenge in the “tiny” business category! This was our second year participating and our employee participation rate was up by 25%. We walked, biked, carpooled, and used public transportation to commute to work.
Durango’s Clean Commute Week run is by the City of Durango and is sponsored by over 50 businesses with even more businesses participating in the challenge. Over 600 people participated in this year’s events and over 1000 sustainable trips were logged. The week included free bike tune ups at the farmers market, a bike fashion show, Petal vs. Metal Challenge, and a final party at Ska Brewing.
Congratulations to Tafoya Barrett & Associates' Heidi Holland for receiving the High Noon Rotary Club's "Service Above Self" Award. This award is to recognize members of the Rotary community who work hard to create positive change at home and, around the world. And because of this, they’re making clubs stronger, communities better, and peace possible.
Congratulations to Tafoya Barrett & Associates partner John Moore for his recent appointment to United Way of Southwest Colorado Board of Directors! John says "Supporting the United Way is very important to me because it gives me the ability to change lives, inspire hope, encourage others and impact my community on a larger and broader scale then I could do on my own. United Way makes Southwest Colorado a better place to live."
In United Way’s 41-year history of service to Southwest Colorado, they have found that when people join together for the common good, things change for the better. United Way targets barriers that families and individuals face that prevent them from thriving.
Through their annual Community Investment process, they are partnering with over 40 agencies across the region that are addressing these barriers every day. Each agency has a program that has proven to United Way that it is operating efficiently and effectively and helps United Way address one of its goals for the community in Education, Self-Reliance and Health. United Way of Southwest Colorado gives approximately $1,000,000 to our community annually.
Tafoya Barrett & Associates employees and their families attended Hospice of Mercy's 10th Annual Soup for the Soul fundraiser. Lynndee Beller said,"I am always amazed by the generosity in our community, but Soup for the Soul 2014 blew me away!"
Hospice of Mercy has provided compassionate care in our community for over 30 years. Hospice of Mercy and Mercy Health Foundation are building a 11,000-square-foot, 12-bed hospice house on the Mercy campus in Grandview. The hospice house is set to open in the near future and be a wonderful addition to our community!
The 11th Annual Clean Day was held on May 23rd. The Tafoya Barrett Associates crew was out in force sprucing up Downtown Durango. "It is a great way to give back to our community, and we get to be outside!" said Chris Carney.
Thanks to all of the businesses who helped to keep Durango beautiful!
Tafoya Barrett & Associates sponsored a team at the 30th annual Dave Spencer Ski Classic, to benefit Adaptive Sports Association (ASA). As usual it was a ton of fun! We were the second fastest team, and Heidi Holland was the fastest woman in the event! Our super hero costumes made us faster than speeding bullets!
The programs at ASA help enrich and transform the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation. By working with students to overcome physical and cognitive challenges in a safe, supportive environment, ASA helps students "explore possibilities."
Tafoya Barrett & Associates accountants Leah Bathen and Heidi Holland worked with "Know Your Dough" teaching seniors at Durango High School about financial literacy. The six-session class is part of Junior Achievement’s mission to prepare young people to succeed in making personal financial decisions. Junior Achievement focuses on three key content areas: entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness.
“I have been volunteering to teach students for five years now,” says Heidi. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the students. It’s important students graduating high school to learn and understand how finances and financial decisions affect life.” And Leah adds, “I think there is great value in providing students with an understanding of how the financial and economic world works. Junior Achievement provides professionals and students an incredible opportunity to work together and introduce topics that will impact the students throughout their entire lives.”
Tafoya Barrett and Associates PC team members spent New Year's Eve cooking at Manna Soup Kitchen. They made New Year's gumbo, great job team!
Manna Soup Kitchen is the only soup kitchen in La Plata County. They are "on the front line" providing for the most immediate needs of individuals and families in our community. Their clients depend on Manna to provide hot nutritious meals and supportive services in an atmosphere of acceptance and caring.
Tafoya Barrett & Associates' partner Pat Barrett was nominated for Durango Chamber of Commerce's Volunteer of the Year. Since moving to Durango in 2001, Pat has immersed himself in the local volunteer community. As well as serving various functions in his Kiwanis Club, Pat and his wife, Lisa, were instrumental in founding the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County. He is a graduate of Leadership La Plata and is active in the Knights of Columbus. Pat a truly amazing asset to our community and our firm.
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners; thank you for all you do for our community!