Meet the Difference Makers: Karen Havens

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Experienced tax professionals can add important value for clients by examining the past in order to plan strategies for a brighter future. One great example appears in the story of how Intuit tax pro Karen Haven helped guide a client towards an improved insurance settlement after an automobile accident. The settlement very likely saved the client’s young business, giving renewed life to her career dreams.

“This self-employed client was building a massage therapy business,” writes Karen in her grand prize-winning entry in our Meet the Difference Makers Contest this summer. “She sustained neck and vertebrae injuries that left her unable to go back to work for almost a year.”

Soon after the accident, Karen helped the client with a tax return that led to a $10,000 refund.

“She was in tears because that money was going to help her,” Karen recalls. “That’s when she told us about the accident.”

Although the insurance company for the at-fault driver offered a $35,000 settlement for lost income and damages, “I advised her not to take it,” says Karen. She had calculated that her client was justifiably entitled to considerably more.

“I had been assisting with quarterly sales and expenses and filing her tax return for several years,” she explains. “I was able to provide numbers to prove the growth of her business over the last three years, to project forward. This enabled her to get a settlement of almost $440,000.”

The client’s family members had been buying gift certificates that they didn’t need in order to encourage her and help keep the business afloat. The enhanced settlement, however, alleviated all of the client’s financial burden and worries. She has since rebuilt her business and her aspirations.

“She’s booked solid,” says Karen. “Her business has come back. Her clients have come back.”

A self-employed tax professional since 1985, Karen is family-oriented – both her son and her daughter are employees in her practice – and has always tried to make a difference for people.

“Our philosophy is that we try to do the right thing,” she said. “When this woman recounted her story and we saw that nobody was doing anything for her, we were compelled to help. We thought that there must be something we could do, and we did.”

Although modesty makes her somewhat hesitant about the free advertising included in the contest’s grand prize package, Karen reports that she is proud to be a Meet the Difference Makers winner.

“I was getting caught up on my emails and when I saw the contest, I thought, ‘Hey, we do good things too’,” she says.

Karen hopes that professional peers might be inspired by the difference she made: “It was very rewarding to us. We didn’t help just a little. We invested time and effort where others didn’t.”

Karen was a dedicated user of Intuit® EasyACCT long before it became an Intuit product. She recently became more proficient in QuickBooks®. She particularly appreciates how well Intuit ProSeries® software integrates with both EasyACCT and QuickBooks.

“We get greater efficiencies by having them all work together,” she explains.

Assisting folks who live chiefly in rural areas, Karen is accustomed to clients who need personal tax services, as well as support, for their side businesses, such as farms and daycares. For many of these clients, taxes are intimidating and sometimes an obstacle. Karen sees that as an opportunity to be a difference maker.

“We help them through it,” she says. “I like helping people get to their end dreams.”

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