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La Verne Accountant Has Important Links to 4th of July Pancake Breakfast and Famous Bootlegger

June 12, 2011
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Andy Mutschler, C.P.A. & Registered Quickbooks Pro Advisor

Andy Mutschler, C.P.A. & Registered Quickbooks Pro Advisor

At this year’s July 4 Pancake Breakfast hosted by Boy Scout Troop 411 in La Verne, you can bet that out of the 3,000 sausage links served, there won’t be one sausage missing.

That’s because Andy Mutschler, owner of Income Tax & Business Services in La Verne and a CPA since 1980, has headed up the Fourth of July breakfast detail for the last seven years.

Nothing Bundt Cackes

“You can’t imagine how much work goes into this little itty-bitty breakfast,” said Andy, who’s known around town for his organizational prowess and keen eye for detail.

Serving about 1,000 guests is hardly itty-bitty. Planning begins each January, with meetings cranking up to two a month in June. When a vendor last year couldn’t deliver the promised number of sausages, Andy went scrambling to make up the sausage shortage. As usual, he came through, but after seven years of working the grills, he’s thinking about passing off his spatula to any one of a number of understudies he’s been grooming.

“We only get two or three hours of sleep that night,” Andy said about the big upcoming event. “We’re up at about three in the morning, prepping and getting the coffee going.”

Then again, he could be back in 2012 because Andy is someone who habitually likes to jump from the fire (the tax season) into the frying pan, cooking up all those sausages and pancakes and serving the perfect breakfast that traditionally starts a full day of Fourth of July festivities culminating with a spectacular fireworks extravaganza at Glenn Davis stadium across the street from the United Methodist Church in La Verne, where the pancake breakfast is served.

When Andy’s not flipping pancakes, you can usually find him behind his desk in La Verne, working on one of about 800 individual returns or 300 corporate returns, accumulated from 27 years of satisfying and growing right alongside his customers. Besides California and La Verne, he has clients in 25 states.

Want something done well, give it to a busy person, right?

Or as Andy stated, “If you want something done, train your team correctly.” That team comprises four staff members, including his wife Dawn, who in addition to being the office manager heads up the office’s specialized payroll services and the QuickBooks’ Monitoring departments. His son, Tony, a student at Cal Poly Pomona, also works in the office part-time.

Indeed, the business is very much a family business. His mother Maria started it in the 1960s, in part as a way to pay for an experimental lifesaving kidney operation Andy had to undergo when he was just 4-years-old. The surgery took 14 hours to complete and 30 days of recovery in the hospital. He was a “test tube” baby because nine different tubes were sticking in him to keep him alive during the procedure. As part of his recuperation, he had to learn to walk again. He had a second urethral re-implantation operation (to grow a valve connecting the ureter with the kidney) seven years later.

“By then, the medical technology had advanced so much,” Andy said, “that the second surgery was reduced to just three hours, and I was out of the hospital in 14 days.”

It was medical precision that kept him alive, and no doubt it carried over to his love of financial exactitude today.

After high school, he started working in the family business while attending Cal Poly Pomona, eventually earning his CPA in 1992. He and Dawn took over the business in 1995. They moved into their present location at 1024 Bonita Ave. in 2003, sinking about $150,000 into the building, converting what had been Nancy’s hair salon into an accountancy firm.

“We had to gut it to the walls,” Andy said. (Imagine the stories and secrets those walls must still hold.) Prior to Nancy’s 20-year run, the location had served as a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet for 10 years.

Unlike the yo-yoing economy, Andy’s business has remained steady no matter what location he’s called home.

“Our business doesn’t fluctuate like the sales business,” Andy said. “When the economy is booming, everybody is making money hand over fist, but we’re plodding along at two to three percent growth. When the economy is in the dumps, we’re still plodding along at two to three percent growth.

But don’t think for a second that Andy’s tortoise-like business is dull or boring. Contrary to the common perception, he’s not crunching numbers all day, despite those 100-hour works weeks during the height of tax season.

“Everybody thinks accounting is working with numbers,” he explained. “I don’t necessarily work with numbers, I interpret numbers. I give useful information to my clients based on those numbers.”

He both offers advice and serves as a sounding board for clients across a wide spectrum of industries, including the medical, construction, real estate, professional, consumer services and manufacturing and distribution.

Andy tends to take on clients whose fields interest him. He’s made himself into an expert on everything from radio-controlled airplanes to bio-diesel plants. “I try to learn as much as I possibly can about my client’s company so I can help them,” Andy said. “If I know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and what they’re dealing with, I can help them make better decisions.

Indeed, Andy has helped turn $200,000 net worth companies into $10 million net worth companies. Each stage involves different planning, strategies, and struggles.

You can make money at anything,” Andy said. “You just have to have the right business plan and model, and you have to have enough working capital to survive as you build your product or service.”

Andy continues to build his client base because clients know he’s not going to pad the truth. “I’m a straight-shooter, I don’t beat around the bush,” Andy said.

“They trust him not to give them any smoke and mirrors,” Dawn added.

Most of all, his clients like him and he likes them. “I care about them, I get to know them and I have fun with them. They feel they can tell me anything.”

Sometimes, that might be even more than he wants to hear. Andy said that if a client says “‘what I’m about to tell you is strictly confidential,’ and I say okay, it’s confidential. I’m not required to divulge that information (in the event the client is subpoenaed). Most of us have a written agreement that I sign and they sign.”

Over the years, Andy has seen hundreds of businesses succeed while others have failed. What is that precise, cutting-edge margin of difference?

“It goes back to planning,” Andy said. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail,” he said. “You have to plan a year, three-years, five- years out, at all times, so that your plans are always relevant.

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Andy continued, quoting a few of his favorite sayings that he keeps on his office bookcase. “Even if you’re on the right track, and you stand still, you’re going to get run over.”

That malady doesn’t appear to be part of Andy’s DNA. He’s constantly reading and stays constantly engaged with his clients.

“In business, you can’t be lazy,” he said. “You have to be structured and on time. I’m a worksheet-oriented person. I’m very organized, probably to a fault. I drive everyone crazy in our organization, but you have to be willing to work. That’s the bottom line.

Then he couldn’t resist one last bit of wisdom, quoting Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

On 4th of July, Andy will be working and might even be wearing overalls. You can be sure of one thing, however. If you pay your $5 for your 4th of July Boys Scout breakfast, you’ll get your pancakes, choice of beverage and three lean sausages, guaranteed.

To contact Income Tax and Business Services, call (909) 305-2530 or email Andy at andy@mutschlertax.com. His office is located at 1024 Bonita Ave. in La Verne.

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Andy’s grandparents had Midwestern roots. In fact, his grandmother owned a restaurant next to a speakeasy controlled by mobster Al Capone. During Prohibition, she made “Dago” wine in her bathtub and peddled it throughout the neighborhood. “She would have the bottles of wine strapped under the big moo-moo she would wear with all her kids around her,” Andy said. “She would go from place to place, take off two bottles and collect the money. That’s the way they made money back then.”

A part of what she made, she had to kick back to Capone, who must have thought she did a good job because Capone was his mother’s Godfather. “She sat on his lap a couple of times,” Andy said.

 

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