Steve Cruice

Steve Cruice ProfileSteve Cruice, CFP®, CPA, Simply Steward LLC

As I recently passed the one-year anniversary of the start of my firm, I truly realized the enormous impact that ACP has had on helping me lay a solid foundation for the future of my business. I wanted to thank all of ACP’s members and share the things that have had such an impact. 
  1. Understanding Fees - Even though it‘s just one tab of the ACP toolkit, the Fee Calculator was business-changing for me this first year. Before joining ACP, I thought things like, "Well, I'm a new firm, so I'll have to really discount to get people to sign on at first" and "Since some of my first clients will be paying out of cash flow, I can't charge very much." But I stuck to my instructors’ advice to have confidence in my value and in presenting the fee. I don't have a ton of clients after a year, but the firm recently became profitable enough to pay me a small monthly salary and provide some money to invest back in the business. ACP doesn’t tell me what to charge, but they did teach me to value my professional guidance to my clients. Without this, I'd have just as much client work to do now and would be looking at the prospect of feeding the business from personal savings for probably the good part of an entire second year.
  2. A Planning Process - I still review the Preliminary and Presentation Meeting chapters and notes before almost every Prelim or Presentation meeting. On a weekly basis, I turn to my Advisor Desk Reference. It would have taken me years to come up with a decent planning process for clients. ACP provides both a planning process and a huge amount of training on the process. Instead of spending countless hours my first year developing processes, I spent countless hours marketing.
  3. Great People - I put this last because I want it to be the one that everybody remembers. ACP members share so much and truly seem to care about the success of other members. I am fortunate to be within driving distance of several other ACP members. Each one runs a very successful firm. Each one is extremely busy. They all sat down with me during my first couple of months in the business, let me ask them anything, and all gave great advice. ACP’s Kyle Root helped get me through the initial startup phase and through Group Instruction. Member Ed Fulbright answered my questions prior to my joining ACP. He was very helpful, and once I joined he agreed to be my mentor. He has helped to keep me on track and gives me valuable advice every time we talk. The online member forums are invaluable—where else can you find such a concentration of experienced CPAs, EAs, CFPs, and successful business owners to answer any question you run into? I loved meeting so many members at the last ACP Conference and look forward to meeting even more this fall (and catching up with those I met last year).
Joining ACP has been both business and life-changing. I greatly appreciate all the members. Thank you especially to the board, committee members, and Joanne and team for all they do to run ACP.