Veteran accountant ‘at home’ with tax season

Find a job you love, goes the adage, and you’ll never work a day in your life. But imagine finding a job you love, and discovering you can make a living by working from home. Carole Duke, president and owner of Accurate Accounting Services LLC, enjoys such a profession. Yet, both figuratively and literally, it has been a long journey home.

Born in Beech Grove, Duke’s first “numbers” job was as an accounts payable clerk at Western Electric. “I always said, my dad was a bookkeeper, and I am not going to be a bookkeeper. I worked in factories all my life,” says the southsider, who admits to harboring the enduring urge to leave Indianapolis. Yet in the early ’80s, change was imposed upon Duke when Western Electric shut down. Sadly, it was around this time when she lost both parents within six months. “I realized that maybe my dad had been right: there was no future for his daughter in a factory.”

Refusing to “mope around,” Duke made a simple maneuver. “I decided to get my GED,” subsequently receiving an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech, graduating with a 3.7 GPA. Her granddaughter, Samantha, is currently a college student. The accountant chuckles, explaining she uses that grade-measure as a lighthearted challenge to her granddaughter.

During her Ivy Tech days, Duke’s life revolved around working and studying. During a rare break from the books, Duke spent a night out with friends. That night she met David, a plane navigator from California who was in town for six days.

“I thought I’d never see him again,” said Duke. On the contrary. “That’s how the good Lord works,” she says. “We make plans and he just laughs.”

The two kept in touch, and eventually the couple married. What followed was a fulfillment of Duke’s wish to see the world. “From California, we went to New Zealand, where I got a bookkeeping job in an accounts payable department at a travel agency.” The Dukes were New Zealanders for three years, occasionally visiting Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.

In the late ’90s, Duke found herself back home in Indiana. Again, she obtained work as a bookkeeper for a property manager, only to be pained by news of a layoff. But this turns out to be the preface of a happy, life-changing chapter. “The property manager said he needed my help, so he agreed to let me bring the work home.” Thus, her former boss became her first customer. “Here I am, 14 years later. I do everything from taxes to setting up companies.”

Duke offers three general tips during tax season.

1: “Believe it or not, I see it all the time. Keep your documents in a safe place. Open your mail, and don’t throw anything away.”

2: “If you don’t think something’s deductible, tell your accountant. I’d rather have too much information than not enough.”

3: “Ask a lot of questions. This is how you find a good tax accountant; if your adviser doesn’t seem nosey,” Duke laughs, “then go to H&R Block.”

AAS offers a tax checklist on its website: accurateaccountingsvcs.com. Duke can be reached at lcduke@gmail.com or (317) 782-0384.

For Duke, working from home has less to do with convenience and more to do with her reputation. “My brother says, ‘You just like making money.’ I say, ‘No. I love pleasing my clients.’” And she doesn’t calculate working another day in her life.

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