CPA finds Lincolnwood a good place to do business
Joe Ebervein owns Lincolnwood-based tax preparation and money management business J.W.E. Virtual Accounting and Tax on Nov. 2. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
J.W.E Virtual Accounting and Tax/Ebervein Financial Group
7366 N. Lincoln Ave.
Know more: call 847-677-6010 or visit www.jweaccounting.com.
Updated: January 7, 2013 1:44AM
LINCOLNWOOD — In 1981, Joe Ebervein’s Lincolnwood-based tax preparation business wasn’t much more than a file cabinet with a few manila folders inside.
But 31 years after the Edgebrook resident opened J.W.E. Virtual Accounting and Tax, Ebervein, a certified public accountant and financial planner, has grown his business to provide tax and financial services to hundreds of individuals and businesses in Chicagoland, and his longtime presence in Lincolnwood has turned his business into a local staple.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
A: I first opened in the Republic Bank building on Lincoln and Touhy avenues, and stayed there for 17 years until I moved to my current office at 7366 N. Lincoln Ave., Suite 400. Six years after opening I added Ebervein Financial Group, a financial planning division, to J.W.E. Virtual Accounting and Tax. Since then I’ve grown in the capacity of services I provide to include accounting, tax preparation, financial planning, and insurance coverage. Being able to offer all these services puts me in a position where I can talk with a client about business, tax planning, and insurance needs, while analyzing his investments and helping him with college or retirement planning. Everything is intertwined.
Q: How many employees do you have?
A: When I opened it was just me, and I now have three employees.
Q: What types of clients do you work with?
A: We work with people, businesses, corporations, fiduciaries and trusts.
Q: Why have you chosen to remain in Lincolnwood for more than three decades?
A: Demographically, it’s a stable area. The location is also very convenient because I can get downtown, to the airport, down to the South Side or anywhere I need to go in 15 minutes. I’ve always loved the area and the people are extremely cordial.
Q: Are you involved in the community outside of your business?
A: Yes, we have a nice relationship with the village and always support the Lincolnwood Police Department outings.
Q: What is the key to maintaining a successful business for more than 30 years?
A: I tell people I haven’t worked for the past 35 years because I have passion for what I do and it’s not work to me. I’m doing what I love to do and I’m extra fortunate in that light. I’ve done very little advertising and everything has grown because of word-of-mouth.
Q: What’s your take on the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire Jan. 1?
A: The problem is trying to anticipate what Congress is going to do. There are two scenarios — either they’ll extend the cuts and kick the can down the road like everything else, or the tax cuts will expire and everything falls off a financial cliff. You can take a best-guess scenario but you really don’t know what’s going to happen because Washington doesn’t know either. I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’ve never seen this much indecision by Washington — it’s sad.
Q: What do you say to people who do taxes on their own or with tax software programs?
A: It’s like me changing my own oil. Can I? Yes. Do I want to? No. For someone doing their own taxes there are thousands of pages of tax laws and it’s a nearly impossible task. Software like TurboTax asks plain vanilla questions and it never goes to the exception to the rule, for example.
Q: Any times of the year when business is slower than usual?
A: We never slow down. I’m constantly meeting with clients year-round to discuss where they’re at, where they were and where they’re going financially. It’s like putting a big jigsaw together for people but with a lot of moving parts to consider and you have to really understand what’s going on.