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40 Under 40 Honoree: Sonya O’Connor, EA — 31

Partner, Applied Financial Planning, Inc., Laguna Hills, CA

40 Under 40 Honoree: Sonya O’Connor, EA — 31
Partner, Applied Financial Planning, Inc., Laguna Hills, CA

EDUCATION: BS Criminal Justice
FAMILY: Boyfriend; Puppy Leonitus (6 months)
HOBBIES & INTERESTS: High Tea with friends; riding quads
with her boyfriend; camping with family & friends; swimming, reading &
playing World of Warcraft. She is definitely an RPG gamer and spends many hours
online with friends vanquishing monsters and gathering loot.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: California Society of Enrolled Agents

What’s the one piece of technology that MOST helps you get through
your normal workday?

“Internet with use of computer — 98 percent of my daily activities
are run through the Internet. I set up client’s brokerage accounts online
and can review their finances through our website 24 hours a day. This is especially
handy when I’m out of town at a tax seminar and one of my clients needs
to have money from their account ‘yesterday.’ Or worse, I get a
Jury Summons notice and spend all day in the Santa Ana Court house; instead
of eight hours waiting, I can remote access my tax software via the Internet
and prepare returns while I wait.”

What will be the biggest change over the next five years in the ways
tax and accounting firms operate?

“More offices will make the transition from paper files to scanned documents.
By scanning and saving client’s W-2s, 1099s and other pertinent tax and
individual information, the tax professional will save time when needed to review
‘old paperwork.’ Ten years ago, when a client called needing information,
the preparer would have to pull the file and then search it page by page for
the correct answer. Now, you can pull up the virtual file and do a document
search, saving lots of time and physical file space.

“I am sure many tax preparers get this phone call: ‘I need a copy
of my tax return and W-2s by the end of the day. I am doing a refinance and
escrow needs it!’ Our tax software can print the return to a PDF file,
and we scan the W-2s. I can then e-mail these PDF files to the client in less
then 10 minutes, all without having to leave my desk. In an industry where a
majority of your income is earned in the first quarter, it is very important
to make the most of that limited time.”

What Sonya’s peers had to say about her:

Sonya is an amazing woman who is striving to achieve new and innovative technological
impacts into her profession. She has a wealth of knowledge and enjoys teaching
others. She makes our profession enjoyable and entertaining. At the same time,
she strives for perfection in all aspects of her work and home life. Sonya is
truly a leader in our industry and age group.

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