Where It Counts
Based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, it’s surprising that IRON Tax is one of the few firms that specialises in the new field of cannabis accounting. We caught up with CEO Roger McCloud to find out more.
My leadership style is visionary,’ says Roger McCloud. ‘I see where we want to be and make the appropriate moves to get there.’ Clear. Simple. Decisive. These are the attributes that define how Roger operates. Starting out in the industry when he was 18, means that Roger has worked hard for what he has. Now running a business with six offices over five states and operating in several markets, Roger has begun to broaden his horizons. Looking forward, he’s chosen the arena of cannabis accounting to make his name.
It isn’t out of place with what Roger has been doing for the past few years. In his own words, a lot of his work has been ‘helping small to large businesses grow’, with payroll services, extensive financial services and individual tax services amongst other things. What he offers a company or individual is a choice of seasoned professionals, which have 25 years’ experience on precisely these situations.
A major part of his role as CEO is in ‘maintaining awareness of the competitive market landscape, expansion opportunities, [and] industry developments’. In an ever-changing political landscape, the field of cannabis accounting is surprisingly overlooked. While becoming increasingly legalised across the USA, very few firms are willing or able to tackle this new issue. ‘As the cannabis business continues to grow throughout the US, IRON Tax plans to grow and expand to meet the needs of the market.’ It isn’t entirely known what the needs of the market are yet, because it’s so fresh. Some commentators suspect that the legal cannabis industry will be generating over $20 billion in revenue by 2021.
This exponential growth, with new governing laws that vary state by state cannot be ignored by the profession, and accountants will need to grasp the branch with both hands, as opposed to letting potential clients slip through the net. It’s an exciting new field, and Roger is aware of the wariness surrounding it within the accounting industry. ‘Very few firms have stepped up to face the challenge of taking on cannabis clients – this puts IRON Tax in the distinct advantage of being among the first and few solutions for businesses with an aggressive growth model and market.’ This aggressive growth model involves the expansion of the business from its six sites over five states to all fifty over the next two years. It’s part of the long-term vision that Roger has been developing, using all those years of work at other companies as a way to build up his experience to a level where we can achieve his dream to make his company a leading light in the industry. ‘Since its inception, the goal has been clear even when the path has not. Bringing on the right people into the business has helped to make that path clear.’
“My knowledge, I have had to work for. I grab every leadership book I can, every training material I can. I will grab everything I can to make my success come true.’ This ethos of education and gathering information pervades the entire company structure.”
Bringing on the right people sounds straight-forward, but actually requires a great deal of thought on Roger’s part. Each member of the team at IRON Tax are required to complete at least 100 hours of CEUs per year to work for the firm. Determined to make a culture in his company that is positive and upbeat, he says that ‘this has been a huge focus as we move forward, that we create a great culture that has great family values and respects our staff.’ The consequences of this decision are a team that is loyal and willing to do anything for their company and their customers. The desire to create something bespoke for each client requires that level of commitment. ‘Our Firm takes a customer-oriented modern approach to accounting by creating authentic and tailored services that fit the needs of all our clients’ states Roger, and this delight in creating something that matches each specific customer has led to loyalty from them too. It’s a major factor in the growth of the business that Roger tries to encourage as CEO. Roger cites investing in his staff as one of the key things that has made IRON Tax what it is today. It seems set to the sort of investment that continues to pay off as time goes on. As Roger says, ‘Our base of talented individuals has helped lead to the success and growth that we are currently experiencing, and will help continue to move us forward, expand our client base, reach untapped markets, and become a dominant force in the industry.’
‘The biggest thing to my success is not giving up and using the tools that I was given to grow my knowledge,’ says Roger. Over his years within the accountancy industry, there must have been several moments where he wanted to give up. Fortunately, he overcame those struggles and carried on. Currently, he is assisted in leadership of IRON Tax, by COO Donovan Ewing, and CFO Cheri Jones. This splitting of the workloads allows the firm to have a solid and sustainable company structure where Roger can take stock of the broader picture, while they handle other areas of the firm.
Fiercely dedicated to educating himself, Roger makes a point of continuing to learn and re-enforce what he knows. Despite being a success in the boardroom, he strives to complete over 200 hours of tax law CEUs. ‘I love tax and accounting,’ admits Roger. ‘This field has allowed me my growth.’ It’s a growth that doesn’t seem set to stop any time soon. Even now, he is finishing off a degree in Business Management with a focus on accounting. This is being completed at Mid-American Christian University, but he has attended others, including Indiana Bible College, Bryan University and Ashworth College. He searches for information with an aggressive zeal. ‘Nothing has been given to me,’ Roger says. ‘My knowledge, I have had to work for. I grab every leadership book I can, every training material I can. I will grab everything I can to make my success come true.’ This ethos of education and gathering information pervades the entire company structure.
When asked what makes him an award-winning business leader, Roger answered ‘Hiring people who know more than me so I can learn from them.’ Passing down what we know seems key to the success of the company. It has allowed for ambitious goals to be guided by experience. This December, he has been asked to give a TED Talk and to share the wisdom gathered over the years with a new audience. ‘We are human. There is no way possible we can know everything,’ Roger says, but I’m not sure that means he isn’t going to try.
The work of IRON Tax is genuinely exciting, pushing into fresh accountancy territory that has yet to be tapped. In the years to come, IRON Tax will have the ability to serve people regardless of location, in addition to CFO level services as well as accounting and business consulting. It could very well push Roger to the next level, especially with the launch of his new book which focuses on Cannabis Taxation that will be published at beginning of 2020. With exciting plans for new and unexplored territory, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything to hold IRON Tax back. It might seem like a risk for an accountancy firm to investigate an area like cannabis accounting, but to Roger, it’s an opportunity to grow his business nationwide, and to become an industry leader.