Skip to main content


Papa, CPA

A Productivity in Practice Feature

Seniority carries benefits. Among them is the wealth of experience gained over
the years, both from good decisions and the other kind, as well as the general
building of professional knowledge and business relationships. With 42 years
as an accountant, Bob Waldrop is certainly the beneficiary of all of these.

From his practice in the Denver suburb of Thornton, Colorado, the CPA can look
out at the snow-dusted front range of the Rocky Mountains above Denver, a view
he’s appreciated since starting his current practice in 1981. In years
prior, he had been in partnerships with other professionals and had worked for
Peat, Marwick & Mitchell, predecessor to KPMG. But his current practice
has been the most rewarding.

During his years serving clients, Bob has seen companies come and go, but some
have now been with him for more than 30 years, including the first, a local
manufacturer. A few of these mostly family owned businesses are now on their
third generation of owners, with Bob servicing the grandchildren of his original

He was drawn to math and business early, so when the college years came, accounting
was a natural fit. After graduating from Florida State University, Bob’s
accounting experience started in the U.S. Air Force where he served as an auditor
and attained the rank of Captain. He was also able to earn his MBA from the
University of Colorado while in the service and had hoped to become a professor
at the Air Force Academy, but circumstances would guide him into client-focused
public accounting instead.

Bob’s firm has about 500 clients and specializes in tax compliance for
small business and individuals, as well as write-up and other accounting services.
In order to stay focused in this arena, he doesn’t do nonprofits, audits
or reviews. With one other full-time accountant, Marsha Taylor, and part-time
clerical, the practice relies heavily on technology to help them be more productive,
but stay at the small size Bob prefers.

He was an early proponent of technology in the professional practice and has
more than kept up with the innovations that have evolved in and around the public
accounting space. The firm utilizes 19-inch triple-screen computer monitors,
keeps a production-level printer on each desk, and has a total of four scanners:
a unit at both workstations and two workgroup models.

The multi-screen monitors are a part of the practice’s movement toward
a paperless (or at least less-paper) process over the past couple of years.
They use the Zen View Manager from, which provides taskbars
on each monitor and other features. The office also uses paperless FAX and digital
PDF file storage for all workpapers, client e-mails and documents.

“Multi-screen monitors have really increased our efficiency,”
Bob said. “We’re not completely paperless and probably won’t
be. We still keep anything with a signature, like engagement documents and Form
8879 authorizing e-filing. Otherwise, we scan and return source documents to
our clients.”

Other technologies have also enabled the small practice to thrive, including
remotely hosted programs and remote access capabilities that let Marsha and
Bob work from home when necessary, and to use remote temporary workers during
tax season.

“Online programs and access just make sense, especially during tax season
because we don’t have to perform any program updates and we can work from
anywhere. We tested outsourcing years ago, but it wasn’t cost-effective
for us, so we turned to people we know who live in other states but act as employees
of our firm.” Bob keeps in touch with his remote seasonal staff by e-mail
and phone and works with an IT professional to ensure the security of all data
and computer systems. The small practice’s advanced use of technology
earned it a score of 233, which is impressive when considering its size and
service focus.

Another benefit to running your own practice is that your life doesn’t
have to revolve around your work. A more recent credential than his CPA credential,
Bob also has the title of Papa to four granddaughters, including a six year-old,
two four year-olds and one 18 month-old. With two in the Denver area and the
others not too far away in Texas, the role of grandpa has turned into his biggest

“I love being a grandpa but don’t spend as much time as I would
like with my beautiful little girls,” he said. “I plan to change
that as I phase down.” The whole Waldrop clan will be together for Christmas
in Denver this year, including the families of his son and daughter, and his
wife Fran, who prefers to winter at the couple’s house in Venice, Florida.
Bob frequently joins her, especially after tax season, but says he prefers the
drier and cooler summers in Colorado to the humidity of the Gulf Coast.

Marsha manages the practice during his away time, but because of the firm’s
remote access technologies, he is able to keep up with work and client communications.
He prefers to spend most of his Florida time with his wife, or out fishing and
golfing, and the couple maintains a membership at the Capri Isles Golf Club
in Venice. Bob and Fran are also occasionally able to visit a client’s
hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico.

He stays active while in Colorado, too, hitting the gym a few times a week
with a trainer and golfing at the Fox Hill Country Club in Longmont. And when
FSU comes to play at CU’s Folsom Field as they did this past fall, he
is probably one of the few who has to decide which team to support, since he
has degrees from each school.

Like many professionals today, Bob doesn’t necessarily see full retirement
in the picture, although he has decided to transition his practice within the
next couple of years. A self-proclaimed workaholic, the idea of semi-retirement
is more to his liking, so he plans to work for a colleague’s practice
in Venice so he can spend more time in Florida. He’s also going to keep
a home in Colorado so he can enjoy watching his granddaughters grow up.

Yes, Bob Waldrop is their Papa, and he wears that title proudly.