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Vince A. Figueroa, CPA

President

Figueroa CPA Inc.

3562 Round Barn Circle, Suite 310, Santa Rosa

707-293-1045

www.figcpa.com

Vince A. Figueroa is principal of Santa Rosa-based CPA firm Figueroa CPA a winner of North Bay Business Journal's 2018 Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Professional background: I am a certified public accountant with 12-plus years of industry experience. A majority of my experience is in individual and business taxation. However, I began my career as a financial statement auditor with KPMG LLP in San Francisco.

Education: I graduated with distinction from Sonoma State University with a BS in business with emphasis in accounting. I graduated from Healdsburg High School in 2004.

Tell us your story and that of your organization: I was born and raised in Sonoma County. I grew up on a farm on Dry Creek Road in Geyserville. While in Geyserville, I attended local schools through the eighth grade. From there I moved on to graduate from Healdsburg High School in 2004 and gain admittance to Sonoma State University.

In 2008 I graduated, with distinction, from Sonoma State University earning a bachelor of science degree with an emphasis on accounting. This was a great accomplishment not only for me, but my family as well; I was the first to graduate from a four-year university.

Being raised by my mother, who grew up in a home made from adobe in rural Mexico, who’s only education is comprised of learning to read and write as a child, to me earning a college degree and moving to San Francisco to work for one of the four biggest accounting firms in the world was a great achievement; a true example of the American Dream.

Today, I own and operate my own tax and accounting practice in Santa Rosa, Figueroa CPA Inc. I founded the practice in 2016 and every year since then, the practice has continued to grow, doubling in size.

My passion has always been helping people, and I take pride to doing so through my work and community involvement. While moving up the ranks in my field I’ve had the opportunity to work with several different size firms, learning from each experience along the way.

I quickly realized that the client service aspect of the job was missing with many accounting firms. I decided to open my own practice where I could place focus on providing a good and timely service to my clients.

By doing so I’m proud to say that I can attribute a large part of my business’ growth to good old fashioned word of mouth. I am very grateful for this and look forward to continuing to grow as a tax practice and as a professional in Sonoma County.

I owe my success the sacrifices made by many before me and the great leadership I’ve had from many mentors in my life.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

The accomplishment I’m most excited about in the last year is getting married to my incredibly talented wife, Lauren Figueroa. If you haven’t visited the Charles M. Schulz museum you must. She designs and manages all in house exhibitions. I can’t imagine a better person tackle life with.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

I’m very proud to be the first in my family to earn a college degree. Coming from parents who did not have the opportunity to attend school and earn a formal education of any sort, I feel extremely fortunate that my mother made the sacrifices necessary, to bring her life and family to the United States from Mexico. Here, she knew her kids could live the American Dream. My older siblings did not have the opportunities I had, which I do not take lightly. I very proud to hold a degree and know that my degree represents the sacrifices of more than just one person.

Vince A. Figueroa, CPA

President

Figueroa CPA Inc.

3562 Round Barn Circle, Suite 310, Santa Rosa

707-293-1045

www.figcpa.com

What is your biggest challenge today?

The biggest challenge I face today is managing my time effectively and prioritizing all the important people and efforts in my life.

As many professionals likely do, I always enjoy helping where I can. However, with a quickly growing tax practice, being newly married and nine nieces and nephews with a lot of after school activities, there are only so many hours in the day and I work hard to manage that time.

Words that best describe you: I can best be described as a positive and incredibly grateful person. From last seeing my father in prison when I was a teenager to losing a brother to drug violence, I can’t help but think of the many different paths my life could have taken at the many forks along the road I’ve traveled.

I feel like I’m living someone else’s life having a great education, working for myself in a field that I love, being married to the most incredible woman I’ve ever met and being surrounded by my incredible family and friends in beautiful Sonoma County. I thank God daily for the blessings I have been given. Life truly is good.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

As a professional, my biggest obstacle has been entering a world that neither I nor my family knew a lot about.

Coming from a family of farm workers, education was not always an option. Moving from that background into my first job out of college in San Francisco working for one of the “Big Four” (four largest accounting firms in the world) was a drastic change for me and something I worked hard toward. I sought out mentorship from those around me to ask questions that were common knowledge to others.

Joe Standridge, my professor at Sonoma State University, is someone I owe a lot to.

From the basics of learning appropriate attire for different occasions, bread plate goes on the left and your drink goes on the right, which forks to use for which portion of the meal, and how to build my resume, Joe taught me a lot about a world I knew little about.

Once I got my foot in the door, the work ethic that I learned from my mother and my siblings opened many doors for me in the business world.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

My profession will see a great deal of change in the next five years and beyond. The public accounting world is comprised of a lot of older baby boomers who are very close, if not at retirement age. Due to the nature of the work it’s not incredibly appealing to millennials and we haven’t seen enough people wanting to enter the field and take over the work that retiring folks will leave behind.

Who was your most important mentor?

I’ve had many mentors throughout my career. One of the most important ones to me has been Mike Musson. Mike is a partner with Linkenheimer, an accounting firm in Sonoma County.

Above that he is a very bright CPA who is incredibly generous. He has helped shape me into the business professional I am today. In the last twelve years in my profession I’ve come across a lot of different types of successful people and unfortunately very few are like Mike. He is someone who has experienced great success and has no need to go out of his way to help others, yet he has done that time and time again.

I’ve had difficult decisions to make as I manage my practice and Mike has been willing to pick up the phone and talk through many different situations with me in his busiest of times. Yet, asking for nothing in return. He knows just the questions to ask to get you to think. “Just to play devil’s advocate here…” is how he starts with sharing his best ideas.

Mike truly enjoys helping others. A quality I have not seen much of in my field and something I hope to carry on as I continue to grow in my profession.

Tell us about your community involvement: Growing up with very little means living in a small Geyserville home with five siblings, I always remember we somehow figured out ways to help those that had less than us. This is a core value I have carried with me and have always focused on making the time to stay involved in my community.

Growing up, it was through participation in Relay for Life, volunteering to tutor ESL students after school, or helping my family put on a dinner fundraiser for a family in need. Today I focus much of my time on helping the kids in Southwest Santa Rosa through the Elsie Allen High School Foundation.

I share a common story with many of these students and I know firsthand what they can do when given an opportunity. I’ve been with the foundation for 3+ years and I’m now starting my term as vice president of the foundation.

We hope to continue to increase the opportunities we bring to the very deserving kids in Southwest Santa Rosa through college scholarships, mentorship and student services.

I find other ways to stay involved through volunteering my time with Sonoma County organizations as well as my involvement with Leadership Santa Rosa, Sonoma State student mentoring and most recently joining the audit committee of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

The advice I would give to any young person today is that truly anything is possible. While it may sound a bit cliché, it’s also very true. All it takes is some “ganas.”

Set goals, develop a plan of attack, work hard and stay true to yourself. You will be surprised what you can achieve if you tackle every day with a plan and a positive attitude.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: The businessperson I admire the most outside of my organization is without a doubt Willie Tamayo. He and his family have built a great international business out of Sonoma County while staying true to their core values. They believe in helping those in need which is very evident in the way they, as a business, treat their employees and their community.

This internal culture truly comes from the top. It’s incredible to experience Willie’s generosity and good spirit. He is always willing to help those in need, whether they are family, a friend or a complete stranger. I admire how Willie treats every single person he meets, regardless of their status. I’m lucky to call him a mentor and a friend. I can proudly say he has helped to shape me into the person I am today.

Quick takes...

Current reading: With tax reform effective this year, I have been reading a whole lot of tax publications. Exciting, I know…

Most want to meet: I would love to have met my wife’s grandfather, David Welles, as a young man. He had a great business mind and built a very successful architecture firm in Las Vegas with over 50 employees.

The legacy he left behind in his profession and his community is unfathomable. I’ve heard many inspiring stories from him, and about him from others, and would have really enjoyed seeing him in action.

Stress relievers: Exercising is my biggest stress reliever. I joined Crossfit 38 Degrees North in Petaluma about a year and a half ago and have absolutely loved it. I appreciate the discipline of the sport and the community that makes up this great gym.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?

I have experienced my fair share of success in my 33 years and this has not all been my doing. I owe this to many people who have taught, supported and helped me along the way. My siblings and mother have been there from the beginning, pushing me to be the best I can.

I could not possibly thank everyone here. However, I do want to say that the work is not yet done. I see myself in a lot of these kids I meet at Elsie Allen High School and it gives me hope for the future. We are just getting started!