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Our Milwaukee • Riverwest Accounting

by Catherine Jozwik

Brian Dettmering, Riverwest’s friendly neighborhood accountant, is well-prepared to answer his clients’ questions about taxes and accounting out of his home office, a service that online tax services and corporate tax firms can’t provide to the fullest or will charge a lot of money for. The Currents sat down with Dettmering, a Riverwest resident for about twenty years, and asked him a few questions.

How did you become interested in accounting?

Accounting just kind of fell upon me. As a teenager I worked in a hotel and did night audit. I’d hang around after my shift and talk to the bookkeepers. It took about twenty years of schooling (laughs) to pass all of the classes and take the CPA exam. First I went to MATC and got the two-year degree, then I got the four-year degree from Concordia University.

Do you have many outside hobbies?

I used to be involved in community theater, but not so much anymore. I currently sing in the Plymouth Church Choir, and I’d have to say my other hobbies are my grandchildren, ages two and five.

What are your rates like?

Rates vary depending on the type of tax return, anywhere from $50-$300. I’d have to say my rates are more reasonable than H & R Block, and I do tax returns by the job. For business accounting I offer more of a flexible rate schedule and charge more by the hour.

Is the economy affecting your business?

Not really. Neighborhood businesses seem to be doing pretty well this year – no one has filed bankruptcy or anything like that. As far as taxes go,I’ll have to wait and see – I think a lot of people are doing their own taxes in order to save money, but I’ll find out in a little while.

How do you positively impact the Riverwest community?

I get most of my clients by word of mouth, and work mainly out of my home, or go to clients’ offices or workplaces. I provide a service more geared towards smaller businesses and individuals, such as the Riverwest Co-Op, Burke Candy, and the Riverwest Currents. In turn, I buy local and patronize my clients – for example, I have a number of clients such as contractors and massage therapists that I’ll use rather than going outside of the area. I get a lot of calls regarding confusion over Turbo Tax – if people get a letter from Turbo Tax stating that they should contact the IRS, they don’t really know how to go about doing that. I try to answer those questions the best I can.

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