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CPA STORIES

Nate Albrecht

Finding the balance of life and work

August 30, 2022

Nate Albrecht

You may not know who Nate Albrecht is, but if you were an MNCPA member in April 2016, you’ve seen him.

He was the man on the Footnote cover, with his trademark thick, dark hair, and his usually burly beard trimmed back to a more “conventional” goatee, one befitting of the incoming MNCPA board chair. Joining him on the cover were his children, son August held up in Albrecht’s right arm, and, with her 5-year-old little hand in Albrecht’s large paw, daughter Harley, wearing a princess tiara, jumping in the air with her left hand reaching for the sky with her wand.

Nate Albrecht with kiddos on the cover of FootnoteOn the inside pages, it was Albrecht, who certainly has never shied away from forging his own path, in a full suit and donning the tiara.  

This is Nate Albrecht and you’d be excused for only knowing him from this photoshoot, but his impact within the profession and his story are worthy to share.

The journey to joy

In the United States, more than 40,000 of the 46,000 public accounting firms are run by sole proprietors.
Count Albrecht among them.

Though, like many young CPAs, Albrecht’s career started on a path to partnership with larger firms, including a Big Four. He even earned his J.D. while practicing tax, and remains glad he did because, above all, he said it makes him a much better researcher.

Albrecht recalled a trip to Florida, while working for a larger firm, where he had to balance conference obligations with maintaining his usual workload. He also remembered in Harley’s first year of life, sitting outside of daycare waiting for it to open, and him arriving late every day to pick her up.

“That was a stressor,” he said.

So, on the flight home from Florida, while reflecting on his life and what he wanted out of it, he made the decision that he’d move on from the firm within a year. He didn’t know how the future would form, but he felt freed once he had decided to resign.

“I felt tall and good,” he said. “It took a long time to figure what that meant.”

Albrecht had always enjoyed helping others start small businesses, so that’s the path he chose for himself, launching Albrecht Tax and Accounting Services, LLC, which comes up on 10 years in business in November.
Every small practice sets its own strategy about procuring and maintaining a client list, particularly in this time when CPAs can be more selective with whom they work. For many, it’s focusing on certain areas, like specific types of businesses, or strictly individuals. Not for Albrecht.

“Do I enjoy working with this person?” he shared. “Is this someone I can sit down and have a conversation with?”

Nate with his kiddosFor Albrecht, the work is always going to be the work, but he’s emphatic about spending his time in a more useful, conductive and, to the best of his ability, overall positive way. In short, he wants to like the person with whom he’s sharing time.

And, admittedly, he may not always be the best fit for potential clients. Albrecht is comfortable showing up to a first-time meeting in flipflops and a Hawaiian shirt, a staple of his wardrobe. He’s unabashedly unapologetic about that and for who he is, and, yet it’s not something he gives much thought.

“If you’re looking for someone who looks like a CPA, there’s plenty of them,” he said. “I’ve got some names I can give you. If (my style) bothers you, we probably shouldn’t work together.”

Running his own business also allows for Albrecht to spend his time elsewhere — hobbies, like being in the outdoors, and being involved with organizations he supports, like the MNCPA.

For years, even as board chair, Albrecht volunteered for the annual Taxline phonebank with KARE 11. It was important for him to stay involved, regardless of the level of commitment, though he considers his time on the board as his favorite time.

“A big part of it is community,” Albrecht said. “Being around people who have similar, but divergent experiences. I’m talking to my peers who are experiencing the same thing, but we’re not talking just about CPA life. It’s the MNCPA, it’s the work, and it’s life.”

And, depending on the season of life, Albrecht gives a little more and, at other times, he needs to pull back. It’s that constant objective of striking the balance so many seek.

“Sometimes it’s all work; sometimes it’s all life,” he said. “But over the long term, is it the balance I want?”

When he started his career, Albrecht likely wouldn’t have seen the path he would have taken, nor would he have imagined appearing in the MNCPA’s magazine wearing a tiara. He also didn’t anticipate, at the dawn of his career, having children, too, nor the impact they’d have on him when they joined his life. Times have changed.

“The ability to embrace joy comes with knowing what gives you joy,” he said. “And that takes time.”

Topics: Member Profiles

Corey Butler

Corey Butler is the MNCPA communications manager, working to enhance members’ professional reputations through content, media relations and public affairs. He's been with the MNCPA since 2013. Corey keeps busy outside of the MNCPA spending time with his wife and children, serving on his local school board, volunteering in his community and catching up on long-lost hobbies. Corey enjoys the works of John Steinbeck, and Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood and Santa Claus lore. You may reach him at 952-885-5530 or cbutler@mncpa.org.

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