Yuko Tsuchida, a Certified Public Accountant and founder of Hito, LLC, a tax consulting firm, has helped her clients, including Fortune 500 companies, save over $100 million in tax incentives and credits since 2016.
Yuko’s firm helps companies reduce taxes by utilizing tax cuts and incentives like Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) and Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D). Yuko Tsuchida says that she started the company because she realized there was a lot of ignorance amongst the companies regarding tax-credit incentives. For example, ERC, offered by the United States government, was only utilized by 20% of companies that were eligible during COVID-19.
Many CPA or accounting firms do not have the skill set or time to look for tax incentives or credits for their clients. That is where Hito comes in to do the job for such clients. Yuko’s company explores how its clients can apply, identify, and negotiate tax credits with the federal and state governments.
All state governments have offices that can negotiate tax credits or help negotiate the process. So, Yuko looks at her company’s work as a partnership between the client company and the government. Hito has clients that range from companies with ten to thousands of employees. Yuko says that she also employs the services of transactional lawyers to further identify the state and federal tax credits.
Hito puts a lot of effort into understanding the financial strength and economic process of the company and facilitating a conversation between the government and the company.
Yuko’s parents had a construction company in Japan. Back then, she thought she would become a math professor, but when CPAs visited their house, she learned what they were doing for her parent’s company, which eventually got her excited about tax and accounting. She decided that tax and CPA might be the right way to start her career. Though Yuko Tsuchida has been in the field for 15 years now, her path has not been one without hiccups.
In 2016, she broke away from the partnership of a tax and CPA firm that she had co-founded and did not think she would go back to accounting. Since Yuko’s other passion is social service, she went to Spain and South Africa to pursue the same. She wanted to support the organizations working in the field of early childhood and domestic violence.
In 2017, while she was waiting for the United Nations to decide whether they would hire her, her friends and old clients came to know that she was back in the US, and she started getting calls. In the end, it prodded her to reinstate her accounting career and start Hito (meaning ‘another person’ in Japanese).
Earlier in her career, Yuko struggled a great deal. As a woman and a foreigner, she had to put up with a lot of stereotypes. If you look at the accounting and finance profession, it is pretty much dominated by men. Eventually, Yuko “learned to be comfortable in her skin and realized that she can do whatever she wants.”
Why Hito, LLC.
Companies often ask Yuko this question as to why they should employ the services of Hito when they have a dedicated CPA. However, Yuko says what her company offers is quite different, and you need to be in contact with a person who specializes in a particular area. When Yuko’s company works with clients, it understands their plans and tries to work with their goals so that they can properly evaluate their credit incentive prospects.
Normally, Hito does not take any money from the client companies until they have received tax credits from the government.
“When a patient is sick, he may consult the family doctor, but he would go to a cardiologist in severe cases like a heart attack. The tax world is quite similar with various types of taxes and for the general taxpayers, going to a CPA is not enough. People need specialists.” ―Yuko Tsuchida
Word of Advice
Yuko is a self-made person, a first-class accountant, and a woman entrepreneur who has created a niche for herself and her company in the tax world. Her advice to women starting out is, “Be yourself; put your head down and do not forget the bright future and the big picture.”
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