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IAM1766 – Entrepreneur Runs Digital Accounting Firm to Help Businesses in All Their Growth Stages

Podcast interview with Mike Jesowshek

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In episode IAM285 of the CEO Chat podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Mike Jesowshek, the founder of JETRO, a digital accounting firm that provides services to small business owners across the country. Mike is a seasoned entrepreneur who has co-founded several companies and has experience in all stages of business. He is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Accounting.

In the interview, Mike shares his personal journey and how he started JETRO to help small business owners with their accounting needs. He discusses the benefits of using digital accounting services and the importance of financial management for businesses. Mike also talks about the challenges of entrepreneurship and the rewards of helping businesses achieve financial success.

Mike shares his CEO hacks and nuggets, which include building a strong team and focusing on customer service. He defines being a CEO as a leader who sets the vision and direction for the company and inspires the team to achieve their goals.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into the importance of financial management for businesses and the role of a digital accounting firm in helping small business owners achieve financial success. Mike's experience and passion for helping businesses make this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in entrepreneurship or accounting.

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Mike Jesowshek Teaser 00:00

We're that CPA or accountant partnering with our clients. And so we always say we're working for our clients. We're working for our clients to help them in their business as a partner of some sort.

Intro 00:12

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:38

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO of podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year, but we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Or what I like to call the CB Nation architects, those that are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focusing on knowing thy numbers. I could hear the phrases from Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, and if you understand or don't understand exactly what numbers is, think finance, economics, accounting, capital, investment, funding, bootstrapping, anything that's around numbers. So, We have to understand how important it is to know your numbers and how important that is for you to forecast, make decisions, and to be able to truly strategize around your business and do that successfully.

Things are gonna be a little bit different obviously this month. So look for CEO hacks and CEO nuggets and interviews that focus around this. But more than everything else, make sure that you know your numbers because they're extremely important to the life of your business.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Mike Jesowshek of JETRO. Mike, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Mike Jesowshek 02:04

Awesome. Yeah. Thanks for having me. I think you hit my last name perfect. Usually, when people try to say my last name, it comes out in all sorts of sounds and is very well chopped out there.

Gresham Harkless 02:13

Yeah. There you go. Don't you see what I've been doing for the whole week, just practicing to make sure I get it right, so I'm definitely glad I nailed it. Practice makes perfect, they say, right?

Mike Jesowshek 02:21

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome.

Gresham Harkless 02:23

Awesome. What I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Mike, so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Mike is the founder of JETRO a modern-day digital accounting firm servicing small business owners across the country. Mike has spent the majority of his career as an entrepreneur. He was CFO and Co-founded several companies and has experience in all business stages.

He set out on a mission to help businesses that have seen and live the same experiences he did in business. Mike has both a bachelor's and master's in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Mike, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Mike Jesowshek 02:57

Yeah, let's do it.

Gresham Harkless 02:58

Let's do it. So the first question I had to kick everything off, was to hear about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Mike Jesowshek 03:05

Yeah, so, basically I've been like you mentioned, I've been an entrepreneur all my life and so it's always been in different industries. I started at a young age in the online marketing industry, and when I started in that industry just worked in different areas of that online marketing industry. I was at the same time going through college. So got my bachelor's and master's in accounting, started to get on the finance side of that marketing industry, got the CPA license. So really I wanted to also push that experience that I got on that end.

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When I was going through college and going through those different stages in the entrepreneur journey, I've co-founded multiple companies, again, mostly in the online marketing industry, and been partners with others as well. The last stop was at a CFO of an online marketing company, which I was also a part owner of. What I realized when working in that industry is that there was a lot of need for an accountant that was just modern day. More focused on kind of the digital age just catering to that younger generation.

The industry that we were in was much younger generation. Everyone was working remotely and when I looked out there, there weren't a whole lot of options. So that's the time when I decided about six years ago to go off on my own start an accounting firm and make it that digital accounting firm. That firm that the typical count. It's not really around, out in the country now. So that's what we made six years ago and we've been digital since the beginning and ever since then. Really just set out on a mission to take that, those experiences that I had starting companies seeing companies grow, seeing companies sell.

Take those experiences that I learned and work with other clients, work with other business owners that are facing those same challenges that I've faced. Let them know things that I've learned, and failures that I've had, and take the experience that I've had to help business owners in accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes in that realm, in an area that a lot of business owners might not be that experience in.

Gresham Harkless 05:00

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. You might have already touched on this so I guess if somebody does reach out to you, can you take us through a little bit more about what it is that you do and how a client gets started with you?

Mike Jesowshek 05:10

Yeah. So, we're a digital accounting firm, which a lot of people say, what does that mean? It basically just means that we work with clients all around the country. We have employees scattered around the country. So we have a small team of us here of seven but we're all scattered around. We all work from home and we work with clients remotely and digitally when we're working with them.

Everything is cloud-based. So that's our key is that try to avoid paper at all costs, move everything to the cloud and encourage our clients to do the same thing. So we work exclusively with business owners. We obviously do personal returns, and personal tax for business owners, but most of our focus is a hundred percent lasered in on small business owners. We do accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, and payroll, we have packages built out for a full-service offering so that they can come to us and really have that, we're touching every point of their business.

For some clients we only do one of those services, and we work with another professional to handle the other service for them. But we do have that offer in there if they need it. When it comes to how we work with small businesses, we take a much more proactive kind of hands approach. So we don't just say, okay, let's prepare and follow your return. At your end, we'll say, let's dig in and let's use tax plan throughout the year and let's really key in on your business.

How can we help you grow? How can we help you out? Instead of just being that kind of doer in the background that produces financials, that produces paper to you that you really don't understand or know. So that's really our goal is to take that hands-on approach, working with our clients on a more, daily basis.

Gresham Harkless 06:37

Yeah, that makes perfect sense though. I know you might have read, also touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for you or your organization, but what do you feel makes you unique and set you apart?

Mike Jesowshek 06:47

Yeah, so again, it's that digital firm, that digital space. A lot of people have this idea of an accountant, of someone that they have to go into their office, they throw them a box of receipts, they go to work, they come back, they give them a tax return, whatever it might be. The one thing that we do differently, again, is that digital space. So we take that need of having to have that face-to-face meeting outside of that accountant. So we don't need to have those face-to-face meetings and we can have Zoom calls or video calls and things like that.

They don't need to take time out of their day and travel out their day to come to us to really kind of be able to service them. We look at our clients as a partner of them. So we're that CPA or accountant partnering with our clients and so we always say we're working for our clients. We're working for our clients to help them in their business as a partner of some sort. So again, working throughout the year having those hands not just one touchpoint during tax season.

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A lot of our clients like that digital idea because we're much more modern, and innovative. So everything that they use, their accounting program, it's in the cloud, so they access it wherever they want and it wherever they need to. They can open up, access if they have partners. If they have another advisor of some sort that needs to see their financials, they can open up access and see live data at any point in time. That's that kind of modern, innovative approach that goes in with being a digital firm is easy to access to their financials and more up-to-date financials because we're able to update it on a more regular basis.

Another thing about our services, we try to let our clients know a good idea of what they're gonna be paying, what they're getting for that pay, and no kind of surprises. So we have a flat monthly fee. Clients know exactly what they're paying, and what they're getting for it ahead of time. At the end of the tax year, there are no kind of surprises or I'll say, oh, here's a big bill for this type of work. We let clients know upfront, and it's usually a flat monthly fee. One other thing that we do at our firm, we take helping out the less fortunate or giving back really seriously and we tie in our clients with that. So based on performances that our clients are working with us on, we're taking those metrics and determining how we're giving back.

So for example, this last tax season we gave back and we helped out those that are helping feed the homeless. So we worked with a program where they help recover meals that are left over from say restaurants and things like that. So they take those meals that are left over and work with these companies to donate them to the homeless. So last year alone, just this past tax season, we donated over 1600 meals in 2000 pounds of food. And so we always like to say that's our clients doing that work for us. We base it on the number of tax returns we do. So we take that into consideration and we really see that feed off on our clients.

A lot of clients will come in and say, I think that's an awesome idea. I really appreciate you doing that for us. We're gonna do the same thing, for every deal we close, we're gonna donate this, or for every contact email that we send out, we're gonna do this. That's another approach that we take is giving back and encouraging our clients that as a business owner, we're much more fortunate and realize that and taking some of the funds that we have, tying it to the business to give back to others.

Gresham Harkless 09:58

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I love kind of like the energy that it provides. A lot of times sometimes whether it be business owners or even individuals, sometimes you don't realize the impact that you can have. But when you're able to couple that together as you guys have been able to do, where all your clients have been able to provide all those meals for the homeless for the people that are less fortunate, I should say that makes a huge impact.

Like you said, it manifests itself in a lot of different ways where the clients start to incorporate that into their products and their services and their sales as well. So that's awesome that you guys are doing that.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app, a book or a habit that you have, but something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Mike Jesowshek 10:36

Yeah, so this one might be seem weird, but I think as a business owner, as someone that's just working in more of an office environment, getting up and doing exercise and getting out of that just funk of always sitting in front of a computer for 8, 10 hours, whatever it might be.

So one thing that I had implemented in my life is I drink a lot of water during the day and a lot of coffee during the day. Every time I take a bathroom break, I make sure that I do some types of exercise. So that could be sits up, so that could be a plank or that could be a pushup, whatever it might be. But what it does is it helps take my mind off of it and gives me that break.

Gresham Harkless 11:10

Yeah. I absolutely love that. It's funny because I usually say I'll work out usually at the end of the day and I say that usually helps me break up my day. And it does help, you can continue to work if you want to or you can go onto something else, but that little workout or whatever does that.

But incorporating that into every little aspect of the day if you're going up to go to the bathroom. I love that kind of hack because it gives you the opportunity to break away, actually get some time away, and then come back and be even more energized, it sounds.

Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. This is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Mike Jesowshek 11:43

It really comes down to tax planning, tax planning, and tax planning with the IRS code. There's nothing wrong with a strategy that you plan out and build out to avoid making a payment to the IRS. The IRS code doesn't avoid against that, and so what we say is tax planning is really the financial defense of your business.

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Gresham Harkless 12:02

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. It is funny because you get the playbook of what exactly are gonna be the taxes or how it's gonna be structured. And as you said, you have a proven strategy if you execute on according to whatever your business or organization is doing.

But if you execute that, then that's going to give you those tax savings as long as you execute on that. But you have the playbook of what exactly you need and it's just a matter of executing that. So I love the CEO nugget on that reminder as well. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on the show.

So Mike I wanted to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Mike Jesowshek 12:37

One of the main things when it comes to being a CEO is really to lead and it's to lead not only clients and people that you're working with, but also your employees. Being a CEO means that other people are doing a lot of the work or a lot of the day-to-day activity that needs to go on in your business.

But that CEO part is making sure everything's getting done, making sure that you're representing your company the way you need to. By doing that, you need good leadership. I think that if you have a CEO or you're in a position where your leadership is maybe not at the level it needs to be, you're gonna see that in the output of whatever your company might provide.

So I think when it comes to being a CEO, the first thing is you're a leader.

Gresham Harkless 13:16

Yeah, absolutely. I love that kind of three-pronged definition, just because it incorporates every single aspect of what I would echo as well too for being a CEO. It's a great reminder to understand like all the impact that you can have, whether it be like, having a great mission or of course the leadership as far as the clients and then also of course the people that are working with you.

So, Mike, I truly appreciate your time. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and our listeners know, and then of course, how best they can get ahold of you.

Mike Jesowshek 13:42

Yeah, absolutely. So, just to touch on, tax planning is one key thing, but over and above that too, I always trust as the clients, bookkeeping should also be your number one task on what you're looking to focus on for your business. Not only does bookkeeping make tax season easy, but bookkeeping should be really that kind of foundation for your business, that core start on where your business is growing from.

So it makes tax season easy, but throughout the year, It can be so helpful to you. You can compare your financials from this year to last year, see what went up, what went down, and how things changed. If you started a marketing campaign in January, you can look at your bookkeeping, you can look at your financials to see what happened in March, and what happened in April, has that made sense? Should we do it again? Should we invest more money in advertising based on the response from that? Bookkeeping, again, it's something that needs to be done regularly. A lot of small business owners don't think of bookkeeping as very important in their business, and then at the end of the year, they have this big pile of stuff that they need to get done.

Doing it regularly is not only gonna help in that tax season piece, but it's also again, gonna help you business grow, understand where you've been, but also use that information for budgeting, forecasting, and see where you're gonna go based on prior information. As far as reaching out to us, you can catch us online. So our website is and that's JETRO  We also have a podcast, so we do a small business tax savings podcast where we share little tidbits of information. I try to make it quick and easy so listeners aren't just indebted with a bunch of information so it's low quick tidbits.

So if you search Small Business Tax Savings podcast, you can find it that way. You can go to and our information will be there as well. If you reach out to me via email. Our email is Obviously, any kind of social media site or anything like that if you're adapted to the good old-fashioned phone kind of communication. Our phone number is eight four four Easy CPA.

Gresham Harkless 15:45

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We'll make sure to have all those links in the show notes as well. So, Mike, I truly appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Mike Jesowshek 15:53

Yeah, Gresh. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Outro 15:55

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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