Jan Blue, CPA
CPA Extraordinaire, Yogi, Colorado Ski Wonder
Credentials and Experience
By all accounts, it seems I was born to be an accountant—from the beginning, the profession suited me. I received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1979. I found that I was gifted in the areas of finance, accounting, and taxation, as these subjects came easy to me. I received my CPA certification in 1983. I was working as an auditor for a large organization when I started a family and decided to run a small public accounting practice from my home in Arvada, while I was raising my children. The practice grew, and I had employees, and the business took over the first floor of my home.
In 1996, I married George Kelly, a general contractor. George and I wanted to reclaim our living space, so we purchased a custom home at 80th and Wadsworth in Arvada to use as an office. We worked diligently to rezone this property for it to become the “Blue Accounting House.” We received the Certificate of Occupancy in late 1997, just in time for the 1998 tax season.
Thanks to this great location, the practice grew quickly. More employees were hired to keep up with the growing demands. Along with the business success, however, came a new level of personal challenge. My life began to feel unbalanced. I found myself moving away from the one-on-one contact with clients—which I loved—and stepping fully into the role of managing a larger business. Late in 2000, I took on partners to assist with running the business. With the addition of Richard Hartfield and Karen Sonnier, the firm of Jan Blue, Inc. became Hartfield, Sonnier & Blue. Not long after this, Brooke Johnson joined as an additional partner. The time had come for me to make a change that was sorely needed, and I sold my interest in the practice and the “Blue Accounting House.”
After selling my business, I worked for four years as the CFO for a small manufacturing company in Arvada, Display Devices, Inc. Here I gained experience working with only one company and had the chance to explore deeply the challenging aspects of workers compensation, employee benefits, Enterprise Zone credits, and property and sales tax.
I also worked for a short time for a Litigation Support CPA organization and for different CPA firms during tax season to make sure I kept up with the tax law changes. In addition, I studied in the field of Retirement Planning. I received a new credential known as “Accredited Retirement Advisor,” or ARA. George and I engaged in a series of real estate development projects as well.
In 2012, I started preparing tax returns and providing CFO small business consulting, accounting, and payroll services part-time for clients. I was ready to return to the business arena, but this time from a different perspective. One thing remains the same as in the early days, however: I continue to work from my home office. I had rented a couple of offices but have found once again that “there’s no place like home.”
I lead a balanced life now. I work part-time, and I have no employees. Health, family, and home are extremely important to me. I practice yoga on a daily basis, and during ski season, I ski on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Yes, I am quite good!) I have 4 beautiful grandchildren who know me as “Grano Jano.” Throughout the years George and I have performed extensive remodeling to our house on the hill, and I relish being there while enjoying the view, and the company of my little toy poodle Sam.
What these values translate into for my business is personalized attention. When I work with a client, it is me who is doing the work. It is not passed off to a less-experienced staff member.
My value of balance also helps me to gain a better focus on the big picture in my work. I feel that I am being called to help clients not only with tax preparation and accounting, but also with taking a deeper look at the real issues that will impact you greatly in your life.
It is important for me to spend time with you to discuss these issues and to help you make sound, informed decisions. This type of advising isn’t something I want to rush through or avoid altogether, as I would have to do if I were still managing a busy firm. When it comes to retirement planning, for instance, Social Security law is very complex. It takes time and analysis for each individual to figure out how to maximize his or her benefits. I have the luxury of devoting this time to my practice now, and it is this time and careful attention that you will receive in our work together.
Life always has its ups and down and with all the good that I receive, a little rain must also fall. A good friend and teammate in my business. She is no longer with us! Ellen was a great collaborator and would help me during my busiest times. She will be greatly missed! She is holding Buttons (left).
Ellen Bartel 6/29/1955 – 5/29/2017
Buttons Kelly-Blue 5/12/2004 – 9/22/17