Unlike most certified public accountants (CPAs), Ann Black, owner of BlackMarlin Certified Public Accountant, did not begin her career in accounting. Somewhat of a local as a military brat, she attended high school in Hampton and became an art major. Her office reflects her continuing love and support of art.
However, Black realized that “most artists who are actually making money are deceased,” so she worked in a bakery for a year before moving on to an auto dealership, where she worked in an office. While at the dealership, she was encouraged to return to school. She took an accounting class and loved it.
Black worked during the day in various accounting jobs while taking night classes from what was then Christopher Newport College.
“Since I worked on the private side, being the controller of a auto dealership, and an auto business is very complicated, you see just about everything accounting wise, and so my perspective is a little bit different from most CPAs who move from school to working for a firm,” Black says.
With her unique perspective as a CPA, Black focuses on helping the small businessperson, not only by providing information about filing tax forms but also advising about the operational side of business. Black says, “I try to show clients that books and records are tools that help run their business. I love taking a business that’s struggling and turning it around.”
Along with providing tax-filing services and working with small business owners, the firm works with nonprofit audits. Its largest service is offering a tax resolution program, which means that if someone has a problem with the IRS or another government agency, BlackMarlin will help the client look at the penalties and make a solid plan.
“I love the way it fits together and tells a story,” Black says when asked why she loves accounting. “From my initial class, I could see how everything fit together. Every single thing in accounting has a logical place. It’s very much like a foreign language rather than math, and if you learn where items logically are supposed to go, when something isn’t where it belongs, it jumps off the page.”
Black loves the Hampton Roads area. Her daughter is in the U.S. Navy and lives close by with Black’s two grandchildren. When she’s not working or spending time with her family, the accountant enjoys gardening. Growing up as a military brat, she would beg her mother to take her somewhere that had plants with each new house and would bring the “sick” plants home, nursing them back to life. Now she has her own greenhouse that gets very full in the winter when the outdoor plants come inside.
It’s no surprise that in this area, close to the water, Black’s husband sells boats. As his wife, she has been part of that for many years, and the two of them participate in marlin fishing regularly. Black has caught both blue and white marlin and even won a couple of local contests.
When they decided five years ago to operate under a trading name rather than Black’s name, Black and her husband wanted the firm name to be unique. Even though the black marlin specifically is not local to this area, Black and her husband wanted to include marlin in the name along with referencing her last name. So, BlackMarlin is representative of both a personal hobby and the area.
As a CPA, Black places high value on the importance of the personal touch in her business. She says, “What professors miss these days is that accounting is a people business. I spend more time talking with people than actually doing numbers.”
For Black, it’s all about relaying information and helping people make the best decisions. This pays off with most of Black’s clients remaining with her for life.
As she continues to build those relationships with her clients and the community, Black hopes to attract more millennials, showing them the value of coming to a certified public accountant in today’s DIY world. She also hopes to grow the tax resolution side of the business and become an advocate for those who owe the IRS money and simply don’t know what to do.
Ultimately, Black’s goal is to continue caring for and helping each individual, while continuing to provide CPA services with a personal touch.
TO YOUR HEALTH:
BlackMarlin Certified Public Accountant
Address: 200 Nat Turner Blvd. S, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Ann Black, owner
Business: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)