John Harman CPA
I remember the first time I met John Harman, it was during my first few years as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch and one of my clients wanted to introduce me to a CPA she couldn’t stop raving about. Taxes never came up in the conversation – he told me stories about his travels around the world, working in Nigeria as an accountant and having to pay witch doctors to protect payroll for his workers (true story, ask him about it), running a real estate company during the Savings and Loan Crisis, and time developing tax software with Lacerte (acquired by Intuit). I’ve met many CPAs in my life and - I’ll choose my words carefully here – they don’t usually have the most exciting personalities. As John finished a story about sleeping in a net under a tree in the Amazon, my brain recalled the old Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world” commercials. Sure, Dos Equis man climbed Everest, but he’s also fictional – and I don’t remember him paying any witch doctors or sleeping in a net.
After the meeting was over, I called a friend who is a CPA in Austin to tell him about it. “John Harman? Of course I know who he is. Most CPAs I know have heard of him” he responded. Another thing about CPAs – they aren’t that social, they normally stay in their lane. Thus began my quest to solve one of the great mysteries of my professional life - who is John Harman?
Flash forward several years, and I now have had the great fortune of working alongside John in our joint financial practice. I’ve sat in countless client meetings with him. These meetings typically go something like this: client asks extremely complicated tax question, John pauses for a few seconds, then provides an exact answer consolidated to the minimum number of words possible before changing the subject to something else. Here’s an example:
Client: “John, I have X$ in IRAs, my income this year is Y$, my wife’s income is Z$, we contribute 10% to 401(k)s and we will make the same next year, should we do a backdoor ROTH conversion and how much without going to next bracket?”
John: (1-2 second pause) “Yes. $22k. Any more would go into higher tax bracket. Have you heard about the study in Sweden that found…”
The first couple times he did this I was foolish enough to double check his work thinking maybe he just threw out a number, it was always spot on. Now I no longer question it. Our clients love John, as long he is present they trust that things will be resolved in their favor. For most of them John Harman CPA PLLC has handled their taxes without issue for 10+ years. They religiously vote him best CPA in the area every year. He has moved from a small shared office in downtown McKinney to his own building filled with staff and other CPAs. In addition to tax and accounting, his firm now offers financial planning and investment advice (where I come in to the mix). What goes unnoticed, or at least unspoken, is how rarely he wants to talk tax or accounting.
John and I were once discussing CPAs and bookkeepers, and he mentioned how they burn out, and told me stories of CPAs who one day just stood up and left their offices and never came back because they couldn’t do it anymore. Years of focusing on numbers and tax forms take their toll, and eventually they reach a breaking point where they have to do something else.
Now, the enigma that is John Harman has become clear. He has never burned out like other CPAs because he hasn’t had to focus on the numbers like they do, it just comes second nature to him. Remember as a kid when you first learned to tie your shoes, and you had to focus all your effort on doing it the right way? As an adult we don’t even consciously think about the act of tying our shoes. This is how tax and financials are for John – the rest of us are toddlers, laboriously tying, untying, and trying a different knot until we settle on the right one. Our fingers are tired, we are worried we are going to miss the bus, or worse we might trip over a loose shoelace and embarrass ourselves. John tied his shoes one-handed while sipping an espresso, while reading the newspaper, and didn’t even notice he did it. The fact that we need an explanation is odd to him – he doesn’t comprehend our need to focus on such a simple task.
While John’s subconscious mind has solved tax and financial problems the last 30 years, his conscious mind has tried to keep itself occupied. He reads everything he can get his hands on and digests information. He’s well-traveled, but still has the distinct Texas accent from growing up in Fort Worth. He came from humble beginnings, and now has the means to do whatever he wants, but still prefers a tent in the Amazon to a suite at the Ritz-Carlton. For John it has never been about the money or recognition. He may not even be aware he has a natural ability with numbers, finance and tax. His conscious mind has been singularly focused on waging a war against its greatest nemesis – boredom. Interacting with his clients and co-workers is his best defense, and in exchange for their help in his fight, he applies his gift to solve their tax and financial woes.
The Dos Equis man is a myth, but John Harman isn’t. If you need help with filing your taxes, accounting services for your business, or just want to ask John about witch doctors in Nigeria – contact John Harman CPA, PLLC at 469-742-0283 to schedule an in-person or online consultation.
Written by Daniel Rogowski, Partner, Harman Rogowski & Associates
John Harman is a CPA and owner of John Harman CPA, PLLC a tax and accounting firm. John is also Managing Partner and owner of Harman Rogowski & Associates, a registered investment advisory firm providing investment management, financial planning, and pension/retirement plan consulting.
John holds a degree in accounting from the University of North Texas. In addition, he has successfully completed the Series 6, Series 63 and Series 65 examinations. He holds active insurance licenses.
His wife Diana and daughter Jennifer are from Koln Germany. Jennifer graduated from UNT and helped John start his public practice in 2008, she now works in insurance. Diana worked in fashion and is now retired, and shares John’s passion for travelling with one caveat – she prefers a hotel to a net.