Robert Thaggard is a Certified Public Accountant, tax professional and financial advisor whose services include accounting and auditing, lifestage financial planning, financial solutions for retirees and tax planning and preparation. Thaggard grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa. In 1986, he and his wife, Alice, along with their children, Kyle and Carly, moved to Alaska. He and his wife moved to Vilano Beach last March to be closer to their aging parents. Thaggard’s practice is located in the Town Plaza Offices at Nocatee. He was drawn to Nocatee in part because of its small-town feel: a community structured around a town center similar in nature to the small towns he worked in while living in Alaska.
What does your practice focus on?
I’ve oriented my practice more towards tax preparation and planning and financial planning with an emphasis on retirement income planning.
Why have a CPA do your taxes instead of doing it yourself?
In order to maintain your CPA license, you have to take continuing education. The emphasis on the classes is what the current issues in taxation are, so the education requirement keeps a CPA more at an edge than maybe an uncertified preparer.
What do you enjoy about your job?
A lot of people think that accounting is just working with numbers, but what I’ve enjoyed most is the variety of people I’ve worked with – individuals or small businesses or non-profit organizations. Whenever I help someone to improve their financial life, that’s more of a rewarding feeling for me than sometimes traditional accounting services are.
How do traditional accounting services vary from what you specialize in?
Traditional accounting services are more dealing with history – taking what’s happened in the past and preparing financial statements. When you’re doing financial or retirement planning, you’re looking ahead. [When] you help someone, they have a plan to follow. You can’t really follow it rigidly because circumstances change and then you have to adjust and council people through that period.
Why did you decide to open your practice in Nocatee?
We had some friends that lived in the Del Webb community here in Nocatee, and we came to visit them. I liked the way the community was laid out. In a way, it has a rural feeling, and we were accustomed to that living in small towns in Alaska.
In a small town, you had sort of “the core,” the central business district where all the services and retail shops were located. I just wanted to be in a community like that. And [it’s] also where people were moving in, and a lot of people are moving from out of state, so they are changing doctors and lawyers and CPAs and financial professionals. I just wanted to make it convenient for them in Nocatee — to be able to reach those kinds of services. So that’s why I picked Nocatee over St. Augustine or Jacksonville.