Written by The Business Journal Staff
Aaron J Garabedian
What we do: The Garabedian Group offers a unique approach to tax preparation, planning, and compliance services that are based on an expert understanding of tax law and regulations. Though the complexity of tax laws can make it challenging to develop a plan that will minimize your tax liability, TGG’s team can create a comprehensive tax planning strategy that will allow you to work toward your personal and professional financial goals. We actively prepare local, state, and federal tax returns for corporations, partnerships, individuals, estates, and other fiduciary entities.
Education: CSU Fresno, Bachelors of Science in accountancy, graduated summa cum laude.
Age: 30. MY birthday is 04-13-1984. I happened to be born on a Friday the 13th.
Family: Girlfriend Julie, Peedee my dog and Cookie the cat.
What did you do before the Garabedian Group, Aaron?
I worked in the assurance and attestation department of Deloitte. I also worked for Bordcart, Carona & Feath (small local CPA firm) while in college.
What qualities does it take to work at an accounting firm and what can you tell me about the team that works with you, Aaron?
Well I believe that one of the reasons our firm is so successful is due to the fact that we look for different qualities in candidates than most firms. We don’t have a “head’s down” or hierarchical structure. We promote creativity and allow all staff to challenge all norms at every level to innovate. We look for people who fit with our culture and have a inner drive. As a side note, we have an awesome team that works hard and plays hard too.
What’s your role at The Garabedian Group, Aaron?
I am currently running the day-to-day operations of the firm and my father is focused on helping mentor and grow our staff, serve our clients at the highest level and grow the business. He is still 100 percent involved in the professional services side, I just run the day to day and management of the firm with the help of Sonja Fabbian (a 25-plus year employee of my father). I am excited to see the firm continue to grow and become a premier place to work while making an impact in our client’s lives in a very positive way and giving back to the community. I hope to one day own a piece of the firm along with our amazing team as an employee owned organization, extending ownership from traditional “partners” to all team members who are dedicated to improving the quality of life of our clients, team and community.
Tell us about your new wealth management division, Aaron.
Our newly formed wealth management division is run as a separate company named Blue Oak Wealth Management (owned by my father Dale Garabedian and I). We are focused on helping clients achieve their financial goals (whatever they may be) by using sophisticated financial planning techniques and disciplined, systematic, academic research based investment strategies that take the emotions out of investing, all with a hope of achieving those goals. We believe the No. 1 determinate of long-term success for most retail investors is their own behavior (not investment performance or returns) and our systematic, goal based planning and investment techniques help retail investors avoid the behaviors that can have a detrimental impact on their long term success. We help clients with all aspects of financial planning and integrate tax planning into our advice and recommendations. We have expertise ranging from retirement planning to college education funding as well as estate planning, wealth transfer planning and charitable giving.
What’s the most rewarding part of what you do, Aaron?
Helping clients in any way we can. It can be a simple as helping them understand their financial data or taxes, or as hard as helping them assess their business model and what possibilities they haven’t yet explored.
What innovations in the accounting world are you most excited about, Aaron?
# 1 Technology and the ability to work from almost anywhere
# 2 Accountants (CPAs) moving from being number crunchers and providing “compliance” services, to trusted and valued advisors to their clients.
What do you feel you have accomplished and what would you still like to accomplish in life, Aaron?
Passing the CPA exam and building a portion of our business that has saved clients millions of dollars in taxes. I would like to begin playing a more in-depth role in helping clients manage their wealth and prepare for retirement.
What got you interested in becoming an accountant, Aaron?
I have always been interested in the entrepreneurial side of business and it made sense to me that if accounting is the language of business, it wouldn’t hurt to be an expert at it.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Aaron?
I worked at a car wash when I was 15. I learned that manual labor is hard and it’s hot in Fresno. I also learned that you can meet some real characters at a car wash.
What do you do in your spare time, Aaron?
I really don’t remember since I have been studying the last 5 months. Usually, I ride my motorcycle, snowboard, wakeboard, work in the garden and exercise.