Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 31 seconds

Experience and Niche Building Drive Success

Mark Feinsot, CPAFor Mark Feinsot, CPA, success didn't happen overnight. In fact, it took trial and error, and even some failure, to get to where he is today.

Before starting Aviation Accounting and Tax Services, based in New York, N.Y., Feinsot dabbled in technology, aviation and sales. When he was in the U.S. Army, he worked a technology job in a laboratory. While there, he decided to pursue aviation, became a pilot and then a chief pilot, only to see the company he worked for fold after a severe economic downturn. After that, he moved on to the financial services industry, selling financial products and doing tax returns for his clients.

While he may not have had long-term success in those endeavors, he says that without these experiences, he wouldn't be where he is today.

"I bring personal business experience because I am able to identify with certain business issues, rather than just being a bean-counter that has never done anything else," says Feinsot. "It makes a big difference because it gives insight into areas that might go unnoticed, such as if sales are weak, how a company is recruiting and compensating, and how they are retaining sales people."

Feinsot uses his technology background and aviation specialty to drive simple concepts and ideas to benefit his clients.

"I am always looking to see if a company is properly using technology to give them an edge against the competition," he says. "When Steve Jobs was asked why he put a telephone in his already successful music-centric iPod, he said that if he didn't, someone else would, and he would lose the market to another innovator. Aviation is not much different because, in essence, it's a time machine. It allows you to be in two or more places at once."

In addition to the Aviation Accounting expertise, Feinsot has a QuickBooks niche, which gives him another tool to help his clients.

"I don't emphasize any particular QuickBooks service, but rather, I stress the value I can add by using QuickBooks properly," says Feinsot. "I do that by showing how firms can monitor the financial and tax position in real-time, as well as providing them with solutions and decisions that will keep them profitable and competitive."

Feinsot's aviation and QuickBooks background has helped him see how developing niches can kick start and make for a long and successful career.

Feinsot says that through all his hard work and results, he gets the most joy out of seeing his clients' success.

"The most rewarding part of being a CPA is the hidden value you can bring to people in unexpected circumstances," he says.

"For example, I had two clients with adopted children and they needed statements from their accountant, supporting their sustainability as adoptive parents," continues. "While this isn't necessarily accounting-related, it does go to show you the power and respect that society holds for the accounting profession. These clients have put their good faith in me, and I am able to return it by telling the adoption gatekeepers that my clients are good people and fit for adoption."


Hugh Duffy MBA

Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer for Build Your Firm, a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry.  Based in Madison, Conn., Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and Web site development services

Prior to co-founding Build Your Firm in 2003, Hugh was a Vice President of Internet Marketing for Business & Legal Reports (BLR), a business-to-business publisher for small and medium sized businesses.  Prior to BLR, Hugh was a Director with a publicly traded global internet media company, 24/7 Real Media responsible for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.  The foundation of Hugh’s marketing background is fourteen years of consumer packaged goods marketing with Schick, Nabisco, Clorox and Coca-Cola. 

Hugh has 25 years of marketing experience, an MBA degree in marketing from the University of Rochester and a B.S. in finance from the University of Maryland.  While at Maryland, Hugh was on a golf scholarship and his coach was Fred Funk, PGA Tour player.  Today, Hugh’s golf game suffers and he is content watching his two kids play college lacrosse.

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