FACES of Flint & Genesee Business: Marlena Curtis, Curtis Accounting & Tax Services

In 2014, Marlena Curtis left her job at a local tax firm to branch out on her own. She had learned a lot from her time with the company and wanted to take those lessons and build upon them. 

“I left there because I had maximized my opportunity for advancement,” says Curtis. “I learned a lot from that business, especially about wasteful spending and ways to save money.” 

That is the reason that Curtis Accounting & Tax Services runs completely paperless. She learned that by trying to save money by avoiding printing, she would also need to make her company virtually integrated as well. This helped her be able to serve a wide variety of clients without having them travel to her location in North Flint. It was also unexpectedly a benefit when the pandemic hit in 2020. 

“We were already set up to be virtual,” says Curtis. “It really wasn’t hindering me from servicing people.” 

Currently, the bulk of Curtis’ business is tax preparation for individuals and businesses. However, she has recently begun expanding her services to include bookkeeping, auditing, payroll, and tax advocate services.  

Curtis Accounting & Tax Services was a recipient of the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant program, a partnership between General Motors and the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance, in 2019 and 2023.  

What has been your proudest achievement in business so far? 

This past year I challenged myself and went for the enrolled agent designation. I studied and obtained it in two months. An enrolled agent is the highest designation you can receive from the IRS. Now that I am an enrolled agent it means I have unlimited practice rights before the IRS when it comes to individuals and business. 

Why did you decide to open in Flint? 

I was born and raised here. Before working in this field, I used to teach high school math for Flint Community Schools as a long-term sub. When I left, my thought process was that if I was no longer teaching the students maybe I could teach some kind of financial literacy to their parents.  

What is your business philosophy? 

Transparency – you have to be transparent.  

Where do you spend your time in Flint & Genesee? 

I do a lot of bar hopping in downtown Flint. I love Soggy Bottom Bar! 

How did the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant program help your business? 

The first time I received the grant it helped me maintain my office manager all year round instead of seasonally. This time it helped me with my training to become an enrolled agent. Furthering my education allowed me to expand my services and basically rewrite my business plan. 

What advice would you offer other business owners or future entrepreneurs? 

Take the time to create a business plan. It is easy to start a business, but you want to stay in business.  

For more information about Curtis Accounting & Tax Services, visit CurtisTaxService.com