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After Hours: David P. Barley’s ‘family affair’

Deadlines are a way of life for David P. Barley Sr., CPA. The most urgent deadlines for Barley and his colleagues at barleyboat1Barley, Martin & Wild, CPA, PL, are March 15 (corporate taxes) and April 15 (personal income taxes), because the firm specializes in taxes. But he says other deadlines unrelated to taxes are common, too, such as deadlines imposed by bankers who have loaned money to clients.

Whether the deadlines are tax-related or not, however, they all create stress. “The most stressful thing about my job is managing the variety of deadlines that occur,” he says. “And there are emergencies that occur and have to be fit in, and you have a variety of people relying on you to provide tax-planning information, so you do what you have to do.”

Doing “what you have to do”—especially in tax season, the weeks prior to federal deadlines—means putting in significant time at the office and away from the family. “Fortunately, we generally know when those stressful, high-volume times are,” says Barley, “and our families know it, too. Everybody just gets used to it. You plan around it.”

Barley truly enjoys his work, especially when he sees clients benefit from his tax and financial-planning advice. “When I see long-term clients who have been able to get their kids through college, prepare for their retirement, and are able to lead a comfortable life equal to or better than what they wanted, that’s probably the most satisfying long-term benefit of my job,” he says.

Running his own firm is also satisfying. “Some people just have an entrepreneurial spirit,” he explains, “I’m one of those people. I like the challenges and risks of owning my own business. You have to worry about paying rent, covering overhead, and keeping the doors open, But it’s very rewarding knowing that at the end of the day you are successfully taking care of your family, as well as providing your employees with good jobs, financial security, and a chance for advancement, training, and learning, as well as taking care of your clients and their needs.”

Despite the challenges of running his own business and the stress of the deadlines inherent to accounting work, Barley has made his family his top priority, and he lives by one simple rule: “I never miss my kids’ activities.” He and his wife Debra have two sons, David Jr., 18, and Ryan, 15. Both boys have been involved in sports since they were old enough to throw a ball. He takes his self-imposed rule of not missing their activities seriously. “Even during tax season, I’ve been fortunate in being able to not miss their activities,” says Barley.

Perhaps more impressive is the fact that for 13 years—including the two years he spent working on an executive master’s degree at the University of Florida— he has only missed one activity of each of his sons. “I had to travel to Gainesville for one weekend a month during the period when I was getting my master’s,” he says. “It was during one of those weekends that I missed an athletic event.”

When deadlines have passed and it’s time to “de-stress,” Barley and his family like to “kick back” at their house on Lake George, in Georgetown, Fla., about 20 minutes south of Palatka. The house is actually on an island, reachable only by ferry or by boat. “When we go there, it’s a way to really get away,” he says. “We ski, knee-board, tube, jet ski. Sometimes we just go out to the middle of the lake, throw down the anchor, ride the jet skis, and relax. The operative word is relax. That’s exactly what we did after April 15.”

When the entire family is at the lake house, daytime hours are filled with activity, with boating, swimming, and even a little fishing (very little; Barley admits he is not a fisherman). It’s a different story when he and his wife enjoy time alone at the house. “We just sit back and enjoy nature and the serenity and seclusion of the island,” he reflects. After meeting all of those deadlines, that’s a good thing.

David P. Barley Sr. and his partners Sonny F. Martin and Vicky G. Wild can be reached at Barley, Martin & Wild, CPA, PL, at 904-694-4272. Their offices are located at 4651 Salisbury Road, Suite 330, Jacksonville, FL 32256.

 

 

SIDEBAR

Two reasons to be part of your kids’ lives

David Barley has found that involvement with his children’s lives has done more than merely give him a way to relax and unwind. “Involvement is something I advise other to do. It serves a twofold purpose,” he says:

• It forces you to get out of the office of time. Kids’ activities are regimented and scheduled, he says. “The activities start when they start, not on your schedule. If you are running late, you are going to miss the game. Being involved forces you to leave the office on time.”

• You get to know your kids. “Kids just want your approval. They want to make you proud. And when you spend time with your kids, you also spend time with your spouse,” he says. That time helps build relationships, something that can be hard to do in hectic times.


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