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Reblog: Feature Cohootian Cristina Garza

By Cristina Garza

From the Cohoots Blog

Cristina Garza, founder of Accountingprose, knows what it’s like to turn down easy opportunities for the greater good. In fact, her entire business was founded after leaving her paychecks from toxic lenders in Texas to pursue more stable accounting and business practices in Arizona.

Accountingprose does bookkeeping and payroll for small businesses. They operate entirely remotely and specialize in getting people to their “happy place,” as Cristina calls it, by taking the payroll and bookkeeping off the shoulders of entrepreneurs so they can get back to the difference they set out to make in the first place.

Cristina comes from a background of doing mortgage finance for a large broker firm in Texas. Although some of us are not inclined toward numbers or math of any kind, Cristina enjoyed the number crunching, but not the ethics inherent in the mortgage practices that led to the Great Recession in 2008.

“On one hand I really want to help people and give them abundance and wealth,” she said. “But you are giving people these toxic loans and it wasn’t fitting into the good I wanted to provide people.”

At the time, Cristina was studying Buddhism, inspired by Geshe Michael Roach, the first American to receive the Geshe degree at Sera Monastery in India. By the time Cristina heard of him, Geshe Michael had published a book, "The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life", detailing how Buddhist and non-competitive practices can actually enhance your wealth and expand your business.

Cristina moved to Tucson to study Buddhist practices under Geshe Michael. Because of her intense interest in accounting, she eventually became the Chief Financial Officer for Geshe Michael’s consulting company, The Diamond Cutter Institute.

During her time as CFO, Cristina began receiving requests to do people’s bookkeeping and financial favors a la carte. As more people in her circles and her circle’s circles began to learn about Cristina’s talents, she decided to form a small business for herself, later to become Accountingprose .

“As I started to form my business, I started to realize how much I enjoyed working with small business owners.”

Cristina's next step was moving to Phoenix where she made her business official and created Accountingprose .

“It’s really fun to take businesses that are in total chaos and get them to have ownership over their finances,” she said.

The hardest part of managing small business finances is changing people’s habits, Cristina said. But at the end of the month her clients get financial statements and they can then make educated business decisions based on her services.

For Cristina, her love of accounting always comes back to the simplicity of numbers that are black and white. There isn’t a lot of guesswork or grey area, she said.

Since creating Accountingprose, Cristina has expanded her business and taken on a number of employees, to include a new construction accountant.

What makes working for Accountingprose so alluring is the personal support Cristina has integrated into her business. All work is kept at a manageable level and all of her employees receive paid vacation and unlimited unpaid vacation.

“At big companies, you’d work 80 to 90 hours per week, which equals about 10 bucks an hour with a Master’s degree,” she said. “That is terrible. People who are happy with their lives are happy at their jobs.”

To accommodate her expanding business, Cristina also signed on with CO+HOOTS to fill a nest membership, which means she will have permanent desk space to use when she works out of CO+HOOTS.

“Coworking is non competitive,” Cristina said. “I get to bounce ideas off people and I get people’s opinions in a safe place.”

In Cristina’s opinion, the way businesses today are headed, everything needs to be open without proprietary information. Her background in working for a large mortgage lending company has all but solidified her desire to help small business and do so ethically on her own terms.

“I’m great at one thing: accounting,” she said. “I am able to outsource the rest because I work in the same building with a diverse set of professions.”

Cristina has moved from Texas to Tucson, Tucson to Phoenix, and Phoenix to CO+HOOTS. She has learned life lessons along the way, embracing change and finding ways to pursue her passions beyond the confines of a cubicle.

“You should do the things that scare you,” Cristina said. “Never let your fear keep you from doing the things you love.”