by Erika Stone, Senior Staff Writer
Jasmine Young’s job as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) doesn’t sound very exciting, but it fits her perfectly. “I love numbers,” she says with a chuckle, “and I love to help people from underserved communities become financially literate.”
The founder and CEO of Southern Tax Preparation and Services LLC, Ms. Young learned financial literacy from her parents, who endeavored to reach financial freedom through learning how to manage their own money. In fact, she remembers receiving her allowance as a teenager and being taught how to save and spend to reach her goals.
Now, Ms. Young is reaching other goals — expanding Southern Tax Prep from Alabama to Atlanta, with plans to grow nationwide. She aims to break down barriers to financial literacy and financial freedom by providing people with the resources they need to achieve financial independence.
Meeting a family’s financial needs
It’s a lofty goal, but Ms. Young knows it’s achievable. She notes that “People in the African-American community often don’t know who they can trust for financial support. As a Black woman, I provide those resources along with a shared lived experience.”
Touching on historical trauma and redlining, Ms. Young mentioned that in her small Alabama community, there wasn’t a single CPA firm, and definitely not one that focused on the needs of Black communities. She started Southern Tax Prep seven years ago in her Alabama town, with a small office and staff.
Now, Ms. Young and Southern Tax Prep locations are so busy she regularly has to hire more staff to meet the demands of Black families who want her financial services. “We don’t have clients; we have family members,” she said during the interview. “When someone contacts us, we say ‘welcome to the family,’ and immediately provide resources and assistance that address their financial needs.” Advertisements
Breaking down barriers to financial independence
It’s an organizational culture that is completely different from most CPA firms, who provide their clients with numbers and reports, but not a personal relationship. And that’s exactly what Ms. Young aims to change, empowering Southern Tax Prep family members to learn the what, why, and how of finances.
Ms. Young also wants to empower Black communities to access all the financial resources at their disposal, noting the discrepancy between banking services offered to White people versus people of color. Economic justice is a focus as well, particularly for communities that have not had regular access to financial services.
“I enjoy being able to help my people in a way they didn’t think they could be helped,” said Ms. Young proudly. “Southern Tax Prep’s goal is to break down barriers and provide access to financial independence, one person at a time.”