Blake and David sat down with Jose Zavala and Tony Martinez at Accountex USA in Boston this past summer to learn about the quickly expanding Latinx market for accounting and bookkeeping services, the challenges and opportunities for both professionals and their clients in this market, and what the Latino Tax Professionals Association is doing to help educate the profession on how they can serve this growing community.
Right Networks: https://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/rncloudShow Notes
00:40 – Welcome Jose and Tony!
01:13 – Tony explains the Latino Tax Professionals Association’s mission
02:37 – The fast-growing Latinx small-business market is largely underserved in the U.S.
04:59 – Uncle Sam wants you - even if you're an illegal immigrant - to pay your taxes
05:32 – There's a delicate balancing act of compliance with the IRS, or the government
06:31 – Jose tells undocumented clients that filing a return is an imperative step in becoming a citizen or getting authorization to work in the U.S.
07:15 – Tony explains how the mixed-status family can mix up your brain when trying to file that type of tax return
09:12 – Jose talks about the absolute necessity for education to prevent Latino small-owners from making huge mistakes with their finances and taxes
11:05 – Talking diversity, and the perceived, or real lack thereof in the accounting profession
12:48 – Financial illiteracy
may be what gets in the way of Latino entrepreneurs being able to grow their businesses | Stanford Graduate School of Business
14:32 – Jose says while most Latino business owners speak English and use English-language products, they prefer to consume educational content in Spanish
15:21 – Translating your educational content into other languages will pay off in the long run
18:25 – Scaling New Heights started offering Spanish-speaking tracks
in 2017 | Woodard.com
19:12 – To reach the Latinx market, try a less salesy, more genuine approach
20:12 – Tony explains how Contabi Alliance
takes the mission of serving the underserved to the Latin American countries, providing resources and education for accountants and bookkeepers who don’t have access to the tools and technology available in the States
22:00 – Each country has its own particular accounting rules and regulations to navigate
24:35 – There's a huge shortage of third-party apps that connect Latinx accounting software to the global players, such as Xero and Intuit
25:25 – What kinds of opportunity exist for Latin American countries that want to expand into the U.S.?
26:54 – Jose may have the world’s longest social media profile!
28:39 – Latino Tax Fest – parties, pools, and education!
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Jose Zavala: ... Just because they don't wanna pay payroll tax, then they start, "Oh, well, he's actually here on an ITIN, or he's undocumented, and I'm paying him cash," and it's like ...
Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver.
David Leary: I'm David Leary.
Jose Zavala: I'm Jose Zavala.
Tony Martinez: Tony Martinez.
Blake Oliver: Awesome.
David Leary: Hey, guys, we are here ... Welcome. This is our first interview we're doing live at Accountex USA in Boston. Weather's been beautiful. Last night, we went to the Red Sox game. It was- baseball games are long. There was a rain delay. [00:00:30] Then, I learned that apparently they do not do Sweet Caroline at the bottom of the seventh. It's actually at the bottom of the eighth, and Blake and I just couldn't stick it out last night.
But welcome, guys. We're here ... Brought you guys on the podcast today because I want to learn more about the whole Latinx community. I know you guys do things with Latino Tax Pros. You have Contabi Alliance. There's just a lot happening, and hopefully, Blake and I can learn, and our listeners can learn why the Latin market is so important in North America. But then, I'd say like this whole hemisphere, right?
Jose Zavala: Definitely. [00:01:00] It is a market that kind of expands based out of here. I know Tony has the numbers, and I don't wanna take it, because I know you guys are doing a lot ... Let me take a step back. I'll let Tony talk about it, and then I'll kind of fill in, because if not, I'm gonna take over the show, so go ahead-
Tony Martinez: No worries. Yeah, we work a lot with Jose because he has a lot of clients who are Latinos, or immigrant clients. When we started Latino Tax Professionals Association, our first goal was to bring people together who [00:01:30] may be Latino or speak Spanish and may need content and education in their language.
Over the years, we started getting phone calls from non-Latinos saying, "Hey, I'm not a Latino. I'm in Alabama. I'm in the Midwest, but I have an influx of these Latinos in my town, in my city. They're opening up businesses. They have families. How do I do their taxes? What forms do I use?"
We started changing our approach and basically saying, "Anybody that works with this [00:02:00] market, join us, because we have the content; we have the education around it; we have the resources to help you serve that market." I believe there's about 4 million Latino small business owners in the country. They keep growing every year.
David Leary: I think I saw something ... It's like eight of 10 small businesses, right now, being started are started by Latinos, I think, in the States, which is ... That's an insane number.
Tony Martinez: Yeah, exactly. What's happening is a lot of our members that we work with - the tax and accounting professionals - they're coming to us and they're asking, "Hey, my clients are opening up new businesses. [00:02:30] They wanna incorporate. They're hiring people. How do I do payroll? How do I do HR? How do I do business insurance? How do I do accounting and bookkeeping?" Because the market is very underserved. So, by us trying to fill that void, we get a lot of engagement. Do you see that also [cross talk]
Jose Zavala: Oh, yeah, 100 percent. For me, I kind of started doing it, and I started off just doing taxes and everything; just moved into more kind of the cloud-based, and all that. One thing I do see a lot, and a lot of colleagues, in going to all these events, is people [00:03:00] trying to find - how do I serve them? How do I serve the Latinos? I get asked that a lot. Well, they may have an ITIN, because when it comes to ... With an ITIN, it's different. That's something [cross talk]
David Leary: What is that?
Jose Zavala: Identification number. An ITIN is essentially an identification number for whenever you are not a US citizen-
Blake Oliver: If you don't have a Social Security number, that's what you get.
Jose Zavala: You get an ITIN. Yeah, but you're not allowed to work on an ITIN. People still do ... Do what you do, but ... It is those situations- because whenever you get to that situation, [00:03:30] with an ITIN, it's like, "Okay, well, how do I prepare the tax return? How do I approach this?" That's something I've seen a lot, and I think that, Tony- they do a really good job over there of educating.
I'll tell you this, I'm part of the VIP program. I had somebody come with a visa. They're like, "Hey, I need to prepare my tax return," with this specific visa that I'd never heard of before. Reached out to them, and within, I think, a day or two, Tony, himself, was like, "Hey, this is what you need." I'm like, "Oh ... Well, all right, then!" It was so much better.
David Leary: Just to back up a second, Jose, you have your own practice.
Jose Zavala: Yes.
David Leary: ZTX Advisors. [00:04:00]
Jose Zavala: Yes.
David Leary: Tony, you are running an organization that trains and supports people like Jose in the market. Is this correct, what Latino Tax Pros does?
Tony Martinez: Yeah. In essence, Latino Tax Pro is an association with members, and the members are tax and accounting professionals who are serving Latino and immigrant taxpayers. We also have our own tax and accounting firm in Monterey County, California, under Lopez Tax Service. That's the one that our founder, Carlos Lopez, started 35 [00:04:30] years ago. That's where we have our footprint, in Monterey County.
Learning from that, we're helping other tax and accounting professionals scale their business, serve the market, hire the right employees to serve the market. We have a program called Start Your Own Tax School, in order for a tax office to find qualified employees to be able to serve Latinos or immigrants. It's all driven through how the tax law applies to the immigrant tax payer.
There's 44 million [00:05:00] immigrants in the country. A lot of them are here on visas. Some are residents. Some are not authorized to be here, but they are, and they're making money; even though illegally they're making the money, because they're not authorized to work, but like Jose said, if they're making money, the IRS's approach is "Cool, file a tax return." "Well, I don't have a Social Security number. How do I file a tax return?" No worries. Apply for an ITIN; then you file a tax return. The fact that they're breaking the law by working without authorization doesn't got to do with the IRS. The IRS just says if you make money legal, or illegally, you [00:05:30] file a tax return to pay your taxes on.
David Leary: Maybe this is a question for you, Blake ... Where does CPA ethics fall into that? If you know somebody is working illegally, is it your job just to file the return and keep the IRS happy, or is it your job to be the police? I'm putting air quotes here, but ...
Blake Oliver: I don't know. We probably should've asked that of the cannabis folks that we talked to a few weeks ago, because that was the issue in California, til recently. I think the compliance is ... I don't know. You guys talk about it ...
Jose Zavala: For me, the way I see [00:06:00] it is this, man ... You're staying compliant. They made income. Whether it's illegal or not, you need to file a tax return. That's the way I see it. We're keeping them at least ... Yeah, the Department of Labor, or whatever it is, whoever other organization may have a problem with you working. If you're working and making money, at least the IRS is going to be off your back. They can't say anything because you're paying your taxes. Yeah, you missed out a couple items here and there. but at least you're paying your taxes. You at least know, hey, that's taken care of. You're not gonna have two hammers coming down on you-
David Leary: Yeah, don't break two crimes-
Jose Zavala: Exactly, yeah.
David Leary: That's [00:06:30] a good policy.
Jose Zavala: That's at least what I tell my clients. They're like, "Well, I don't need to file a tax return." Yeah, you do, because eventually you wanna make this legit. You wanna get your residency card, or you wanna be authorized to work here. Then, all of a sudden, you're gonna start filing a tax return, and you've got a $2 million gross revenue business? It doesn't work like that. Nobody is that good overnight. That's gonna open up a red flag.
Blake Oliver: We talked about the international issues, the documentation issues unique to ... Well, not unique, but just more significant in the [00:07:00] Latino community when it comes to taxes. Are there any other specific challenges facing the Latino community when it comes to accounting tax that you support?
Jose Zavala: Are we talking in the US, or are we talking globally?
Blake Oliver: We can do both. Let's talk both.
Jose Zavala: Okay, so U.S. [cross talk]
Tony Martinez: -what we've been seeing is they call them a mixed-status family. There's about 16 million people in this country that are part of a mixed-status family. What a mixed-status family is - it's individuals [00:07:30] living under the same household with different immigration statuses. You may have people that are here on a visa, or the DACA recipients, or residents, or unauthorized individuals all within the same household, on the same tax return, for that matter.
Typical situation - parents are undocumented. They're filing with an ITIN, but children are citizens and filing with a Social Security number. On the 1040 tax return, how do you fill that out? Who [00:08:00] gets certain credits? Who doesn't? Another example - the DACA recipients. They're here ... They're technically not lawfully present. They're only deferred from being taken action on- deportation action because of an Executive order. So, they're authorized to work. They're given Social Security numbers, so they're eligible for what's called the earned income tax credit, if they otherwise qualify for it. However, the Affordable Care Act does not apply to them because they're technically [00:08:30] not lawfully present.
These unique situations come up by serving the market ... It's not just the Latino market. It's really the immigrant taxpayer of America, regardless of what country that they're coming from, because they may encounter some of these situations. That's on the family; on the individual side.
On the business side, we've been noticing a lot of small business owners that are really - especially in the Latino immigrant market - they're really good at starting a business. They'll open up a restaurant, construction firm, landscaping. They're making money. [00:09:00] They start paying people, and they realize, "Hey, I'm not doing things right? I need to start withholding payroll tax. I need to hire the right accounting." Do you see that often with serving the Latino market?
Jose Zavala: Yes. I'm gonna say this ... They're great at starting businesses. They get out there, and they hustle. Man, they are the hardest working people ever. The only problem is, immediately, they start to look into some of these notary shops, and these unlicensed preparers, which a lot of them are very educated, but [00:09:30] some aren't. They get bad advice. Like, "Oh, you wanna bring on people? They're all contractors." No, no, no, no, no, it's not that easy [cross talk] Blake, you know ...
Blake Oliver: Not in California, yeah.
Jose Zavala: You know ... Just because you don't wanna pay payroll taxes ... Then they start, "Oh, well, he's actually here on an ITIN, or he's undocumented, and I'm paying him cash." It's like, "Whoa ..." There is another level right there that you gotta kinda like, "Hey ..." That's what I've seen. It's just about education, I feel like ... Where I think you guys do [00:10:00] a great job is educating the practitioners to educate the community.
That's, I think, the best way to do it, because they're going to- they're coming to us because we're supposed be the professionals. If we can educate right, they're gonna say, "Well, I don't like that. I pay more money." It's like, yeah, you're paying more money in payroll taxes, but you want the IRS to come down, hit you with penalties and interest? When we're talking about payroll taxes, that's a criminal offense if it goes too long. Then, it's just kinda like, "Oh ..."
David Leary: It almost sounds like this is, to some extent, a niche because ... I've [00:10:30] seen software products, like, "Hey, if we just create it in Spanish, we can go after the Hispanic community," and maybe that doesn't actually make the most sense. But even if this ... If I have a firm now, and I want to ... I'm like, "Hey, look at this growing market; there's an opportunity here." If I just market to them, I actually need a lot of extra tax expertise. There's gonna be situations that I'm only gonna see in that community, just because ... Like you said, there's mixed families; the way they're doing things; they've gotten bad advice. I have to have some level of expertise. I think that's where the Latino [00:11:00] Tax Pros comes in. You're that support structure for me as a firm owner. It's beyond just marketing, right?
Tony Martinez: Mm-hmm.
Blake Oliver: Here's a question ... I've noticed, at least in L.A. - I don't know what it's like everywhere else - the CPA firms and communities tend to be highly segregated in that ... At least, where I live, I go to these CPA events and it's a bunch of white guys and all their clients are a bunch of white people.
David Leary: I've seen Tony at the last four conferences in a row.
Tony Martinez: The only one ...
Blake Oliver: Let's say I'm a practice owner, and [00:11:30] I've got my traditional practice. I wanna diversify. I wanna go after these entrepreneurs; the immigrants who are ... But I don't have anyone in my practice who speaks Spanish. I don't know anything about these issues, so it's a real challenge. Can I come to you as ... Would you help me market to Latinos, or learn how to solve their problems, or something like that?
Tony Martinez: One of the best ways is to go to one of our events, because we bring people together who are serving the [00:12:00] market. When you go to an event, you're able to meet people like Jose; have those conversations on how to be able to reach out to those small business owners. I know there's also like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that has events, and many things around the area that you may want to encounter.
One of the best ways that is through hiring maybe somebody that's bicultural, bilingual, who has access to that community. You may wanna be picky [00:12:30] on who you work with, at first, because it might not be a good fit for you. Like Jose said, unfortunately, a lot of people, they're good at starting a business, and you're trying to give them some guidance; they're like, "No, no, my brother-in-law is doing it this way, and he grew his business, so I'm not gonna follow you." It's like, "No, do it right!"
Because a lot of the data ... There's a report by the Stanford Graduate School of Business on the state of the Latino entrepreneurship, and it shows that Latinos, yeah, they start businesses, but they cap out. They can't scale them. A lot of it has to do with not [00:13:00] having proper bookkeeping, accounting; not having ... Financial literacy, in my opinion, is the gap that needs to be filled. That's why I always ... When I meet a lot of the partners, and exhibitors, and sponsors around the way, whether it's a lot of people here, a Paychex, ADP, Gusto, Intuit, Xero, it's like, "Help us fill that gap with education and awareness."
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Jose Zavala: That's [00:14:30] something that I've kind of made it my mission is there's not a lot of resources in Spanish. You can find education, and webinars, and things with Xero, with QuickBooks, with Gusto. They do things in English all day. A lot of these people, they speak English; practitioners, small business owners, they speak English, but they prefer to consume the content in Spanish. The product can be in English. That's not an issue. It's just the support and the content needs to [00:15:00] be in Spanish.
That's where I'm trying to fill in that gap, and that's where I've been working with them; kind of like, "Hey, let me make these videos ..." For Practice Ignition, I made a how-to video in Spanish because I use it so much. I've already had a lot of people, "Oh, I love it. I love it," but then you go back to, "Oh, it's too expensive." Yeah, but then, kind of changing the mindset of how much time are you ...?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, but take some existing content, and have somebody translate that, and recreate it ...
Jose Zavala: Yeah. That would [00:15:30] pay off dividends, because that's what I've noticed is they want that content in Spanish.
David Leary: I'm gonna repeat this because I know we have a set of app developers that listen to the podcast. What you need to do is you need to create your training and your content in Spanish, but your product, itself, can be in English.
Jose Zavala: Mm-hmm.
Tony Martinez: Yeah, exactly. Definitely. Keep the product as is. My advice is get somebody that's bicultural/bilingual and have them in your booth. Have them talk to people. Have them create [00:16:00] those relationships, because people then, you know, they feel more comfortable. They look like you; they speak like you; they hang out like you. Then, if you just build out your support and sales force in maybe bilingual English and Spanish ... That's what they want. They want to basically be able to be guided ... A lot of the software that exists is in English. People use it fine. It's just if they have a question on it, if they want to understand how things work, they want to easily be able to communicate, and that happens to be in a different language ... [00:16:30]
Jose Zavala: It's funny you say that because ... It's true because, with Xero ... I'm really actively involved with Xero, and we have a community in Latin America that we meet once a month and we talk. A lot of the big thing they say is the product down there, it could be in English. We speak English ... Again, reiterating, it's just there's no training in Spanish. How am I going to get my colleagues or my small business owners to use it? I have to do it all, and then, they have to translate the videos and they have to do everything-
David Leary: It doesn't scale.
Jose Zavala: It's not scalable. That's [00:17:00] what I want to do, and that's what I've been ... Working with them and on my own is to try to change that mindset of there's a different way to work and to try to get past that cap that you were saying. You get to that certain point, and you can't scale anymore. Okay, how do we get from there to the next step? A lot of that is, again, the financial literacy and the education.
Blake Oliver: Again, coming from the perspective of ... Pretend I'm in a CPA firm. We don't have many Hispanic clients, Latino clients. We're stumbling [00:17:30] in our efforts to reach this community. How do we go about ... Or maybe it's a software company, too, that has never done this. What are the pitfalls? How do we avoid doing outreach without coming across as just totally out of touch?
Jose Zavala: Like trying too hard?
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you ...
Jose Zavala: I think that's a great question for you guys. I'd like to know your thoughts on it, because I've got a few thoughts on that, too.
Tony Martinez: Yeah. Yeah. Something we do at all of our events, including our big event, Latino Tax Fest, we have one big room in English; one big room in Espanol, in Spanish, and we're [00:18:00] giving the content in both languages now. Like we said, most people speak English. They're bilingual, but they may prefer to go to a language that - again, Spanish - and they're consuming the content; people that they interact with are bicultural/bilingual. I never understood why Intuit - I know they have the roadshows - why they don't do like an English and Spanish track in the same location. I mean, the Latino market using QuickBooks is huge.
David Leary: I think Joe Woodard's, with the Scaling New Heights conference ... I think they have a Latino track [00:18:30] or a Spanish track now-
Tony Martinez: Oh, wow. That's awesome.
David Leary: It's started in this industry. It's starting, as far as I can tell ... Accountex USA, other than Latino Tax Pros having a booth here and this interview, I don't think anything is happening [cross talk] at this conference.
Tony Martinez: -we also have a regional seminars. They're one-day events, but we do ... We happen to have two rooms. But yeah, to reach out to the market, I would say go to the events, encounter people; maybe hire somebody who is bilingual and bicultural.
Blake Oliver: Could [00:19:00] you help me find that person?
Tony Martinez: Oh, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Something we're looking to launch is a directory and maybe starting chapters across the country through Latino Tax Pro to have monthly meetups. You can go maybe meet up ... I know we talked about it in Houston-
Jose Zavala: That's something we've been trying to get going in Houston. It's just been a little bit hard to do, but I think you're right ... To say it on your point, as well, what can you do without coming off kind of fake or pretending? It's just be genuine. Don't come out there ... Don't sell. But that's [00:19:30] with everything. If you have a software that comes out, and you're like, "Hey, you need to buy this because we're the best!" No. I'm not gonna buy you ... It goes back to just giving the value, and then let them see what the value is. At least that's my personal opinion. I could be way off. but that's just kinda how I think.
David Leary: Let's say you solve the US, right? Latino Tax Pros gets all accounting professionals up to speed and the Latin market is just served in the U.S.. I've been hearing about this thing, it's really attacking the whole- [00:20:00] all Latin countries in this hemisphere. Contabi Alliance. Can you speak to what that is? What the goals are? Because I think it's at a much higher level than just specific to U.S. taxes and U.S. small businesses, right?
Tony Martinez: Yeah, I know, speaking with Arthur Garcia, and Joel Lacayo , they're involved as the co-founders of that. It's exciting what they're looking to do in outreach outside of the U.S., down to the Latin American countries, and again, fill that gap - serve the underserved. I think I keep using that term because [00:20:30] by them serving the underserved, people who may not have these technologies ... From what I understand, a lot of these accountants in Latin America, they're not on the cloud. They may not have access to a lot of the tech stack apps and such. So, they're looking to introduce these technologies and these resources to them to make it more efficient. At the same time, it'll lead to engagement. If we can bring everybody together, we can learn from each other.
David Leary: That's a huge market, as well.
Jose Zavala: Conversations with them, from what they told me, they're trying to create a BDO Alliance. Russell [00:21:00] Bedford ... You know, those big international alliances that CPA firms are involved? They're trying to create that for the Latinos. That's kind of the big vision is to create something like that, to where ... Because, with the BDO Alliances ... I was at a firm where we're part of the Was it Russell Bedford, I think? Is that one of them? I don't know.
All I know is that those alliances, you have access to CPA firms throughout the whole world, and you can send work back and forth. You refer each other; you get discounts on softwares, and things like that. That's [00:21:30] what they're trying to do for the Latino community, based on my conversations with them. Part of that is, like you said, the education, the training, and getting everybody up to speed, and have a place to where people can go to for those resources that are nonexistent.
David Leary: It's a hugely underserved market because you're talking about you have Mexico, you have Brazil. These are huge countries, huge populations, and nobody's really there. They're not- in the grand scheme of the world ... We're still trying to convince people here in Boston, at this conference, to use the cloud, right? [00:22:00]
Tony Martinez: Yeah.
David Leary: Nobody's using it at all. So, it's interesting to see that push. But each of these regions if I'm understanding correctly ... I have some knowledge of Mexico. There's just nuances, right? Like, an invoice, in Mexico. Can you give background on specifics to each region or each country [cross talk]
Jose Zavala: So, I know, at least with my experience when I've talked to ... Again, going back to Xero and talking with some of these other partners, a big problem that's out there is when you invoice, the invoice needs to go to the government; it gets stamped that they approved it; then, it comes [00:22:30] back.
Blake Oliver: Is this paper? Is it digital? How does it ...?
Jose Zavala: It's digital ... The government has an open API that you can connect to it, but the problem is there's no app partners connecting to it. Companies like Xero are having a hard time going into there, because then you still have to use ... There's no third party to connect to it. Now, I know in Argentina, Gonzalo, which, I know you guys had him on with Xerocon-
Blake Oliver: Yeah, we were walking the floor, and he chatted with us. I [00:23:00] was just blown away to even ... I had not heard about this alliance. What is it? Contab-
Jose Zavala: Contabi Alliance.
Blake Oliver: Contabi Alliance. That was my favorite moment, I think, of the entire conference was meeting him and realizing that cloud is- it’s going global. It's inspiring.
Jose Zavala: They've got people in Argentina. Contabi has ... A lot of their directors- they've got people in Argentina, which Gonzalo ... They've got people in Mexico who are kind of championing this with Xero. They've got people in Costa Rica and other places that are kind of the champions of this that [00:23:30] are gonna be directing it into there, which is what I'm ...
Just a quick plug, Xero Virtual Hour, in Spanish ... We're actually doing a Spanish one here pretty soon; I think next week or the week after. I don't remember quite the date, but the plan is to essentially have what the Xero Virtual Hour is, but in that Spanish region and build it up to where we have these partners that are part of the Contabi that use Xero ... The breakout sessions per country, so they can focus on the problems that they [00:24:00] have internally. Because, I mean, I can't help. I don't know anything about Mexican tax.
Blake Oliver: Well, and I'm sure that the development team at Xero would have no idea unless somebody told them ... That actually- to bring it back to that invoice thing, what a challenge! Let's say I'm sending an invoice to David. You're telling me that I can't just send it directly to him. I have to send it to the government; federal government-
Jose Zavala: Yeah, based on my understanding. From what I've been told and from what I understand, it has to go through the government. They have to stamp that they approved it, and then, it [00:24:30] can go to David.
Blake Oliver: Is that to make sure that they can track it for tax purposes?
Jose Zavala: I'm guessing so, yeah. I guess they must have had too much money laundering problems down there, or whatever it is. That's one of the big problems, right now, facing ... I know, like in Argentina, Facturante, which Gonzalo, I think, is a part owner, they've solved that, and they are plugged into Xero. Some of these app partners are starting to come up in these different countries, or some of these just ... I know in Mexico, [GCAS], they built their [00:25:00] own tool internally to do it. A lot of these people are starting to come up with solutions themselves.
David Leary: There's a tech scene in Latin America. I have a friend that does a lot of stuff in Nogales, and Sonora, startup weekend type things. But then, I know there's apps, even at this conference, that have development teams in Brazil building their apps that ... Cloud accountants have no idea that some Latinos have built the app they might be using.
Blake Oliver: When I was with Aprio Cloud, a big part of our business was helping [00:25:30] Australian and UK companies start a subsidiary in the U.S.; is that something you're seeing more of, is South American, Central American countries expanding into the U.S. with subsidiaries? Is that an opportunity here?
Jose Zavala: Me, personally, I haven't.
Tony Martinez: Yeah, I know, speaking with a lot of our members, especially the ones in Florida, they're seeing entities from like Colombia, or Argentina have some sort of enterprise in the States. Their biggest thing is, "How do I report that income to the IRS? How do I file those tax returns?" By [00:26:00] us positioning ourselves as an organization of, "If you have any international issues, go to our event; take our online course; meet Jose, meet Philip, or whoever ..." We want to create an ecosystem to serve those individuals.
Jose Zavala: I think that's kind of what Contabi Alliance is trying to solve is you're an Argentinian company, or a CPA firm, or firm in Argentina, and your client wants to come over here, you're part of Contabi; look up the directory. You can find somebody in Florida, in Houston, in [00:26:30] California that's in that network that can help you with that, and then connect with them. That way, you guys know ... Theoretically, it's the same mindset. Theoretically.
Blake Oliver: That's important, because a lot of people when they come here, they don't realize it's 50 governments, not just one that you have to deal with, right?
Jose Zavala: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: Don't even go with a local ...
Blake Oliver: Yeah ... Don't open an office in New York City.
David Leary: Jose, if people want to stay connected with you, hire you; they wanna become [00:27:00] a client of yours, or they just wanna catch up with you on social ... I know you're multi-streaming to 16 services at the same time. How ...?Actually, it's funny, because I ask everybody who were interviewing to give me their social profiles. Jose just has this list ... I was like, "I don't have space for this!" We're gonna have the world's biggest show notes! So, Jose, please let us know ...
Jose Zavala: So, @ZTX Advisors, across the board. JZavala@ZTXadvisors.com - email. Please reach out. I'd love to meet [00:27:30] people. I mean, that's my biggest thing. I love to talk to people. ZTX Advisors, I think I'm on everything, and it is exhausting, guys. I'm not gonna lie to you. It is.
Blake Oliver: You mentioned a Xero Virtual Hour. How can people learn about that, and in Spanish you said, right?
Jose Zavala: Yes, in Spanish. After this, I'm gonna retweet the- there's an event link, Eventbrite link. That should have the Zoom calendar meeting. Just follow me on social media, so you guys will be able to see the link there. Then, like I said, the first one is just [00:28:00] gonna be us talking about what the program is; what we want to do. Then, after that, we're gonna try to mirror what the English version is. I know the last one I was part of was cash flow forecasting. They had Helm, Jirav, and these other different app partners there talking; so we kinda wanna do the same thing, but in Spanish.
Blake Oliver: Awesome.
David Leary: We'll get that link in the show notes.
Jose Zavala: Okay, awesome. Thank you, guys.
Blake Oliver: How about you, Tony? If people wanna learn more about LatinoTaxPro.org, I guess they should go there, right?
Tony Martinez: Yeah, definitely. Then, just search us under Latino Tax Pro. Every [00:28:30] July, we're at the MGM for Latino Tax Fest [cross talk]
David Leary: -interrupt you on that. We weren't able to go this year, but if you go to the Latino Tax Fest conference website, basically it's a video of people dancing, and then another video of people dancing in a pool. This is like the greatest conference party ever. Is there even a conference?
Blake Oliver: Here's the problem. I don't know if I could go because I'd have to overcome my fear of dancing. That's why I became a musician, so I didn't have to do that. Maybe I can get the band or something ...
David Leary: But it's big, right? You've got 3,000 [00:29:00] attendees. It's a huge conference.
Tony Martinez: Yeah. In 2014, what was our first year of the event, we attracted 500 attendees the first year. What we do, it's three days of classes. They're mostly tax updates. So, people want to get the latest tax law and changes. 500, year one; year two jumped up to 1,000; year three, 1,500; year four, 2,000; year five, 2,500; and this year, we had about 2,800; heading towards 3,000.
Blake Oliver: Wow.
Tony Martinez: Again, the same set-up - three days [00:29:30] of classes, two rooms - one English, one Spanish. A lot of these speakers are in both agency PAs, IRS executives. This year, the commissioner of the IRS was our keynote speaker. Again, serving the underserved, I think, is what's leading to the growth, because people go and they wanna learn. They wanna have a community. They hang out with people that look like them, that speak their language, that serve the same market that [00:30:00] they do.
Our next push is to start offering bookkeeping classes, accounting classes, because out of the 10,000 members we work with, about half of them also do bookkeeping, in addition to tax. Everyone does tax preparation, but half of them also are doing bookkeeping. There are a lot on the legacy platforms. They need help navigating the app ecosystem. We're working with a lot of app partners to be able to teach and give some more ... Right Networks, for example, we're [00:30:30] doing a lot of content around what is hosting, how you can still be on the cloud, et cetera. Hopefully, you guys can make it next year because it's awesome.
David Leary: I'm penciling it in, or putting it in pen, really-
Jose Zavala: Guys, it is a lot of fun. It is. I think it was my first time going, and I was to just like, "Yeah, I don't know why the heck I haven't been back?"
Blake Oliver: Awesome. Great to hear. Hopefully, we can make it there.
David Leary: I think that's a wrap.
Blake Oliver: Thank you, gentlemen.
Tony Martinez: Yeah, thank you, guys [cross talk]
Jose Zavala: Awesome.