Pro Spotlight Ep. 4: Mykaela Wallace On How Taxfyle's Platform Helped Her Pay Off Student Loans
Mykaela Wallace, a Taxfyle Tax Professional living in Oklahoma, has plenty of years as an accountant under her belt. Still, with student loans to pay off, she wanted another way to help keep her financial goals on track. That’s where Taxfyle helped.
Now she’s ahead of her financial milestones and has been able to pay her loans as a member of Taxfyle’s Pro network. This is her story.
Q: Mykaela, what is it that made you want to be an accountant?
Wallace: So I didn't actually go into college wanting to be an accountant. I kind of started on a completely different path, which led to business, and then still didn't know what I wanted to do with business. I had a few accounting classes that I enjoyed and actually did pretty good at so I kind of just by taking the classes and realizing I was decent at accounting, and didn't mind the work.
Q: How long have you been an accountant?
Wallace: I’m going on my fifth year.
Q: What about the industry that sticks out to you the most that made you want to pursue it as a career path?
Wallace: I think just the flexibility. You're always gonna have a job with accounting. Everybody needs an accountant in some way or some form. And then the flexibility with the job. There's tons of different options you can do with accounting.
Q: When you graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State, where did you begin working?
Wallace: I originally began working at Choctaw Nation Casino in Durant as an accountant. That's more of a government side of accounting. Then I went from there to public accounting in tax. And that's also when I moved to Austin, and did tax for a firm there for a few years.
Q: You work at Overhaul now, how would you describe your how much you enjoy working in accounting how much you enjoy being part of the field?
Wallace: It's definitely easier now after graduation. I kind of know a little more than when you first get into the field. They just kind of throw you in. So you're trying to learn everything as you go. And it's definitely not what you learn in school. It's real-world stuff. It is a little bit different than what you learn in class. And I would say that getting out of public accounting has kind of helped a little bit just personally for myself, industry hours aren't as crazy and as kind of made accounting a little more bearable for the day-to-day.
Q: What do you do at Overhaul?
Wallace: I'm a senior accountant overhaul just kind of do everything from day to day accounting to invoicing to miscellaneous stuff that goes on in the finance department.
Q: When did you first hear about Taxfyle?
Wallace: I actually just heard about it around February of this year. Someone on LinkedIn had posted about it, I reached out to them asking for more information and kind of just went from there.
Q: When you first started the onboarding process? Did you have any hesitancies? Did you think that it would be the right fit for you?
Wallace: I just didn't know how well it would work out I guess I was just hoping to break even on the money I put into it. I didn't put a whole lot into it, just getting the PTIN and different things. So I was just hoping to break even at that point. And that was kind of my hesitancy is, just seeing if there would be enough work.
Q: In the little less than a year that you've been part of Taxfyle, how has that changed?
Wallace: Tremendously. I went from just wanting to break even to just make, you know, a portion of my student loans to now I've almost made enough to completely pay off my student loans in this one season and a half that I've been with Taxfyle.
Q: How important is it to have something like Taxfyle to help pay off those loans?
Wallace: I think it's a great benefit. It doesn't really require you know, a ton of your time. Like in public accounting, you work so many hours. And you know, it's kind of usually a set salary. So you're working all those hours, you don't really get the extra income. So you can't really spread yourself out to pick up extra income. And so the benefit of Taxfyle, you get to have all that extra income from it. It really helps when paying extra stuff off.
Q: How has your life changed now that you have a little more financial leeway as part of being a Tax Pro?
Wallace: It just hasn't changed a lot. I just I try to watch what I spend my money on and I try to pay stuff off. And so I'm just right now, like I said, just finishing up paying off my student loans with it, which was the major benefit from it. That's kind of the major benefit I've had so far.
Q: Did you have a timetable for when are you expected to pay off your loan before?
Wallace: Yeah, so I was expecting to take anywhere from four to five years. I just started paying them probably right as soon as I started Taxfyle, and so it's cut that way down.
Q: And how did your experience with being an accountant help you out when you started on our platform?
Wallace: So I had experience in many different areas of accounting. I didn't ever specialize in the firm I was in so I have experience with trust, individuals, little businesses, big businesses, everything around there. So it definitely helps to see all the different returns and kind of have an idea of what I'm getting into when I pull a certain return.
Q: For individuals that might be looking for ways to help clear off those student loans. How much of a benefit is it to have something like Taxfyle?
Wallace: it's a giant benefit. I mean, it helps tremendously for myself. Just the fact that I was able to get that extra income to help pay them off much quicker than if I was just, you know, one stream of income, just my nine-to-five job.
Q: With your experience in public accounting. And those long hours that you talked about, how does that compare now to you working at Overhaul and being a Taxfyle Pro?
Wallace: So you still get the long hours just because you know, I have my full-time job, and then I'm picking this up on the side. So I still have long hours. It's just I feel like I'm being more compensated for those long hours. And you just kind of you pick up as much or as little work as you want. So say you don't want to work long hours one week, you don't have to, you just you know, you got to work more to make more. You don't want to make as much, you can work less hours, you can work a few hours on the weekend, a few hours after work, whatever fits your schedule.
Q: During the busy season, how much work did you put in on Taxfyle?
Wallace: I was working two to four hours every day after work, and then at least five hours or so each weekend. Each day of the weekend. So 10 hours each weekend.
Q: How has your work-life balance been managing your job and being a Taxfyle Pro?
Wallace: It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Just because you know, you can kind of make your own schedule, if you know you have something coming up, you don't put in the work that week, that day, you just kind of fit it in on your own time around how you need it to work out.
Q: With that in mind, where do you see your future as a Taxfyle Pro?
Wallace: I mean, I see myself staying with Taxfyle for as long as I can, as long as I can see, I don't see myself leaving Taxfyle.
Q: Is part of that because of the flexibility you have?
Wallace: Yes. I mean, that's definitely a benefit. I enjoy doing taxes. When I was at the public firm, I just didn't really like the public firm atmosphere. And so this kind of gives you the best of both worlds, I can do the industry lifestyle for my day-to-day and then tax seasons, I can pick up some taxes, do it there, and just kind of gives me the flexibility of both.
Q: For accountants that are on the fence about giving Taxfyle a shot, what kind of advice would you give them to get them over?
Wallace: I would say just to give it a try. And I was skeptical at first when I started. And it's really paid off. So I would say just at least give it one or two tax seasons, see how you like it. It's no requirement that you have to do it forever once you sign up. So I would say just try it out.
Q: So what are some of the qualities that you have that you think has made you become a successful Pro on our platform?
Wallace: I would say my time management skills. I've always been pretty good about time management. And I think that's very important when you're, you know, balancing a full-time job and this on the side. And I think that's really kind of helped me.
Q: What do you do to manage your time and make sure that you're able to complete your jobs on our platform, while still not leaving anything else to the side?
Wallace: I mostly just make sure I set a timeout every afternoon to get any open tax returns I have completed. And then one important thing is to not pull too many tax returns at one time. I did make that mistake at the beginning because, you know, tax returns weren't coming in and I was worried I wasn't gonna get any. So when a bunch came in, I was like, ‘Oh, here's my chance,’ and I pulled you know, 10 or 15 returns at once. And then realize I have to find time to do all these returns now. So that was kind of a busy few days. But since then I've learned and I only pull a couple of returns at a time. I'll complete those once I get one or two out. I'll pull a few more just to try to not get overloaded.
Q: All right, and Mykaela, is there anything I may not have asked you that you think is important for people to know about? What it's like being a pro on our network?
Wallace: I mean, I think it's it's great being a Pro you have a lot of benefits. You get to see a lot of different tax returns, especially if you are in the outsource portals and you get to see returns from all numbers that you probably wouldn't see, and I think that's a benefit to make you a well-rounded CPA.