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VOL. 7 | NO. 33 | Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cannon Wright Blount Names Wages as Partner

By Andy Meek

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It might be easy to think of Mike Wages’ line of work as involving stone-faced number-crunchers whose main task involves making sure figures line up correctly, as they focus mostly on gathering and presenting data.

Mike Wages was recently named a partner at local CPA firm Cannon Wright Blount.

(Memphis News/Andrew J. Breig)

However, Wages – recently named a partner at local CPA firm Cannon Wright Blount – says he got into the accounting industry and has loved it ever since because it’s about a lot more than that. It’s an opportunity, as he describes it, to sit at the same table with clients, many of them small-business owners trying to juggle making payroll with fulfilling their dream of building a business.

And through the help they provide, accountants like Wages get to take that journey with them.

“This really goes back to high school for me,” said Wages, who has more than 10 years of experience at Cannon Wright Blount and was recently senior tax director before being named partner. “I took a couple of classes – one was in marketing and one was in accounting – and just really enjoyed them. When I went to college, that got me geared toward the business side of things. I didn’t know which one I liked better, so I took courses in both and really just had a love and desire for accounting and went into that area.

“I like talking to people. I like seeing people. I like dealing with multiple challenges. It’s very rewarding to be able to work with and affect so many different people in so many different walks of life, to get to see how people make money, the ideas they come up with and to be able to walk alongside them. That’s really what’s drawn me to this industry and what’s ultimately kept me here.”

Wages had worked in the tax department at Cannon Wright Blount since 2003. During that time, he learned about the firm and the tax business from his mentor and late firm partner Richard Blount.

Meanwhile, Cannon Wright Blount is working to make the firm more accessible to the younger generation of both clients and employees, and Wage's promotion highlights that attention to their needs.

“One thing I also like about (Cannon Wright Blount) was they had a little different approach,” Wages said. “Our firm is built around a service model, and we truly live that.

“In some firms, if somebody brings in a client, they’ll try to do everything for that client even if it doesn’t fit their abilities the best. Whoever generates the client here – it doesn’t matter. Whoever is the best fit – the tax group, audit group, whoever – we want to get that client to the best person possible. And that kind of impressed me, that it wasn’t every man for himself.”

The firm, founded in 1994, is a Memphis CPA firm that brings a range of tax and audit consulting expertise to bear for clients. The firm employs a team of CPAs as well as sophisticated financial strategies and integrated accounting software implementation, and it deals with small businesses, closely held businesses and service businesses, in addition to individuals who own businesses.

“Our approach is in trying to make it fit for the clients’ needs more than just, well, what do we have to offer?” Wages said. “They didn’t go into business to be accountants or to deal with tax issues. They went into business to sell sandwiches or be attorneys or be doctors. That’s one of the things we try to do, help them focus more on the business than the accounting and record keeping.”

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