This is the busiest time of the year at Smith & Radtke.
“We’re open six days per week this time of year,” said Brian Smith.
He and Jason Radtke are partners in the business, which was voted No. 1 in tax preparation in the latest Best of Waupaca Area contest.
“We thank the people for voting for us. People have to take time, effort to fill it out,” Smith said.
Smith likes to arrive at the office as early as 6 a.m. during the tax season and may also work on Sundays.
Radtke prefers to work into the evening, sometimes as late as 11 p.m.
Both of them meet with between 14 and 20 people per day during the tax season.
And, the eyes of at least three people see every one of their tax returns.
Things start to slow down a bit after March 15.
“Within a week after the tax season is over, I go on a long weekend, where I just sleep and relax and watch other people work,” Smith said.
Outside of the tax season, their work includes payroll processing, tax assistance and for Radtke, investments.
The office closes at noon on Fridays, with flexible schedules for them and their employees.
Before starting his business, Smith taught in Racine for about five years, following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
One of his co-workers did tax returns on the side and encouraged Smith to consider doing so as well, saying it was a nice way to supplement a teacher salary.
During his years teaching in Racine, Smith did tax returns for friends and family.
In 1983, he and his family returned to Waupaca, and Smith taught at WHS and continued to do tax returns on the side.
“When I decided to leave teaching, I had to decide which direction I wanted to go. I chose to go on my own,” he said.
Smith started his business in 1989, and it has always been located on Union Street.
“My first big step was to hire a second accountant,” he said.
That was in 1996 when he hired Karen Murphy, who continues to work there.
“Through the years, it was basically her and I until 2003 when Jason Radtke came on board as an employee. In 2006, I did two things. We became a partnership, and he became 50 percent in the business. And we also opened an office in Manawa,” Smith said.
He said the business continues to grow.
“In 1989, when I started full time, I had 300 clients. Now we do over 3,000 individual returns per year, and that doesn’t include businesses,” Smith said. “It’s grown quite a bit.”
He said they do a better job for less.
“We have a lot of experience. We’re here year-round. We get your tax return done in a reasonable amount of time. We give you a great price for it,” Smith said.
He said they also love the community and pride themselves on their personal connections to their clients.