Professional of the Month Deirdre Morhet

Deirdre Morhet

It’s Not Rocket Science

By Lesley Boyd

Forbes Magazine once listed the top 32 quotes that every entrepreneur should know and live by. The common thread through each one was a belief in yourself and continuing education, not necessarily through an accredited university, but from those who have been there before you. Deirdre Morhet, founder of BASC Expertise, offers her wealth of knowledge and personal experience to educate small business owners about the road to success in business.

How It All Began
As her clients like to say, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run a business, but it sure helps to have one on your team.”

Armed with a degree in industrial engineering, Morhet began her professional career as a NASA engineer in Houston where she helped train and prepare astronauts for future space missions. She spent nearly seven years at NASA during which time she also went back to school to earn a master’s degree in industrial engineering. Shortly after earning her second degree, she moved to Arizona to pursue a position with Intel and simultaneously started a small business with her sister while also fleshing out ideas for her own small business.

“It was my first experience as a small business owner and I realized I had a lot to learn, but I loved it,” reminisced Morhet. “Leaning on my accounting minor, I was able to navigate most of the financial checklists related to running a business.”

Yet, she wanted to know more. So, Morhet enrolled at ASU to earn her third degree, a master’s in business administration in accounting and finance where she became an expert in tax planning and preparation. In 2004, while working not only at Intel, but also working toward her degree, Morhet launched BASC Expertise out of her home.

Focusing primarily on tax preparation, the business grew to the point that she was able to dedicate her time entirely to her new venture by 2007 when she relocated her business into a corporate building.

“As an accountant, tax preparation is a necessary evil and it is how I was able to launch a new career,” noted Morhet. “For me, however, it’s more of a starting point in working with my clients.”

Because few people plan ahead when running a small business, Morhet is often contacted by overwhelmed business owners who need help fixing a specific problem and frequently are just calling about prices. Morhet, however, does not bill hourly. Because her clients are small business owners, she offers a flat rate and takes the time to determine exactly what each individual client needs.

“Many times, clients call me thinking they need someone to address a specific problem, when really, they need something else,” Morhet explained. “I take the time to go over each client’s individual situation to determine the root of their problem. Sometimes, the answer is not what they thought they needed in the first place. I try to educate my clients, based on my own experience, about the best ways to not only fix whatever problems they currently have, but how to move beyond them and grow their business going forward. Ideally, a client would contact me before something needs to be fixed, but sometimes clients have different ideas about what they have and don’t have and their decisions are based entirely on budgetary constraints.”

Many small business owners consider an accountant as an expense that they can’t afford, but as Morhet explained, the truth is that you can’t afford not to have one.

“By educating small business owners, I am arming them with the knowledge they need to grow their business,” continued Morhet. “I ensure that I never treat my clients like individual transactions, but rather as a partner in their success.”

End Game
“My goal is to stay somewhat small to ensure I am able to provide my undivided attention to my small business clients,” explained Morhet. “But, I always tell my clients if you’re not growing, you’re putting yourself out of business. We’re experiencing a growth period now, but my focus going forward will not change. Although I am very well trained in taxes, I want to continue working with small business clients to help them succeed.”

Although BASC now has a staff of five full-time employees, Morhet continues to give her personal attention to each client that walks through the door. She also completes all of the tax work for clients herself.

Additional Small Business Advice
A published author, Morhet contributed a chapter to a book called “Office for One: The Sole Proprietor’s Survival Guide” by Christina Hamlett and Scott Hauge. She has also captured her views in an eBook that is due to be published in May 2015. In the book titled, “Financial Foundations for your Business,” Morhet discusses important steps in the establishment of a new small business including: how to set it up, where to go to get loans for greater chance of success and guidelines for positive cash flow.

“A lot of people try to build a business on a trade. For example, someone who is great at fixing air conditioners decides he wants to go into business for himself but finds that they have trouble with cash flow. The problem is that a successful business needs to be built on a solid foundation, not a whim,” explained Morhet. “My book describes the steps that need to be taken in order to create a successful business model.”

Giving Back
Not only does Morhet dedicate her firm to helping small businesses succeed and her clients realize their dreams, but she also makes sure to find the time to devote to philanthropic causes as well. As a trusted small business owner with a diverse background, Morhet is frequently approached to sit on the boards of local nonprofit organizations. Previously, Morhet sat on the board of Third Biotech, a nonprofit dedicated to furthering the biotech industry in Arizona through education. Recently, she has been approached by a startup organization that is dedicated to creating bonds between animals and autistic children.

“I think it is a privilege to give back to the community that supports me,” said Morhet. “Because of my love of children and animals, I welcome the opportunity to work with a nonprofit that combines both in such a positive way.”

Away from the Office
Because spare time is limited, Morhet treasures weekends with her family – husband, Michael, daughters, Alexandra, Savanah and Gemma, and son, Teddy.

“My weekends are devoted to the most important part of my life – my family,” said Morhet. “Whether I’m watching my kids play their individual sports or supporting my husband’s live sound business, we try to spend as much time together as possible.”