Faith Bynum of Raleigh, NC: It’s In The Numbers

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | November 14th, 2018
Faith Bynum (Photos by Pharenheit Photography)

Faith Bynum (Photos by Pharenheit Photography)

When was the last time you were forced to move in a direction before you thought you were ready? Were you downsized in your position at work, did you get sick and have to focus on your health, are you and your spouse empty-nesters and must now figure out how to navigate without a little person in the middle?

Well, that’s almost what happened to Faith Bynum. She started entrepreneurship rather unconventionally. Her plan was to go into business for herself when she turned 40 years of age, but as fate took over, it happened sooner than she expected. Upon receiving her CPA license in 2012 she celebrated by posting the accomplishment online. She was immediately contacted by a gentleman with whom she’d met on the political scene months prior.

“He ‘inboxed’ me and asked me to do his books for the nonprofit he worked with. I tried putting him off and referred him to another accountant who was more seasoned and well-trained. He told me, ‘If I wanted others, that’s who I would’ve pursued.’ ” Faith was taken aback by his persistence and even called her dad to vent about this pushy guy who attempted to tell her what to do. Well, she didn’t get much sympathy. Her father reinforced the gentleman’s point and reiterated that she didn’t get the license just to sit on it.

The involved process of obtaining a CPA license is one for the determined. Each state has their own qualifications, but first you must have at least a bachelor’s degree and/or the proper number of hours in the field. Then there is a four-part exam similar to the BAR exam that those aiming to legally practice law take. At the time, Faith was expecting and had difficulties passing the first exam. She took it 4 times with the last session landing her 4 points shy of a passing score. “I was crushed,” she admits. To come so close and not hit the mark can be devastating for anyone. But, it forced Faith to step back and analyze her next move. She decided she needed more education and preparation and enrolled in Baker College, an online school offering an MBA degree with a concentration in accounting. Soon, Faith started to have faith. She doubled-up on classes and managed to complete the program a semester early.

Conviction coupled with circumstantial motivation charged her to learn more than she ever had and she ultimately passed each exam required for licensure. Finally, her upgraded status could open doors that had been closed for so long. The new CPA started gaining clients simply by word-of-mouth after the first client demanded she accept his business.

“For two-and-a-half years I worked full-time and fostered my own business, until I started to feel really torn. I was building a strong passion for my business, yet I didn’t know how to step out on my own because there is no security in entrepreneurship in the first few years,” says Faith.

Most jobs offer a benefits package, paid time off, and other perks that are completely dissolved when you become your own boss. Those expenses can often eat into profits and result in important corners being cut.

One day Faith found herself emotional and confiding in a client, that she wanted to work with her own clients instead of someone else’s. “He told me, Faith, you’re pregnant with vision, but it’s not your time to deliver.” Her delivery date arrived in almost the same gestation period that a human child develops in a womb. In the fall of that year, she was unexpectedly laid off. At the time, she was devastated, but in hindsight she realizes that it was the best thing that could’ve ever happened. She signed a lease to her first office space three-and-a-half months later.

As soon as she opened her doors, she utilized the skills her former job had cultivated. She had grown particularly close to her former supervisor as she prepared Faith in ways she was unaware. “During those years, she had me presenting at the budget and finance committee meetings, and presenting the financials to the board of directors, and meeting with the bankers.” Essentially, her mentor helped develop a presence of leadership that Faith would later apply.

Her firm initially began in one simple office suite. Within months, she had to hire two assistants. The very next year Faith Bynum, CPA, PC was bursting at the seams, and transitioned to a larger space, then added another room. Just last month she signed a lease for an even larger space to house her staff of eight and the ever-growing list of clients they serve.

The proud CPA has built such a strong team that she can now relinquish the bulk of her duties and focus more on growing and diversifying her business as well as take on new goals. Faith hosts a bi-weekly radio show called ‘Money-making Mondays with Faith Bynum’ where she discusses entrepreneurship and how the mental and emotional challenges can affect finances. Her words of wisdom can also be found on the pages of her book, ‘Build Faith in your Business’. It’s an inexpensive quick read, that can be found on Amazon, encouraging those with even a small idea to build on it and the steps to get it off the ground.

“My belief is that our financial conditioning stems from where we are mentally and how we feel emotionally. I want to break the negative stigma that everyone has it all together.” Faith is often dubbed a financial therapist. She embodies her motto, ‘…where people matter’, even outside of the financial realm, with her clients as well as her valued staff, she believes this.

She is excited about the trajectory change with the new generation. “It’s now cool to invest. Or, it’s cool to buy all the houses on the block. Our culture has shifted.” Now athletes and entertainers are setting the bar higher and their fans tend to follow suit.

Through the years, Faith has dedicated herself to the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. Although her firm has had steady growth, it did not come without challenges. They’ve learned great lessons from their mistakes and make a habit of self-assessing yearly to make sure they’re doing their best to serve the customer.

Overall Faith is optimistic with the direction her firm is going in. Her passion for this work continues to grow and she strives to live a purposeful life in her daily walk.

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