Rudy Schmid, Author of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide”

Rudy Schmid
Photo Credit: Rudy Schmid

By: Seraphina Quinn

Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives economic development and innovation. It is critical to the development of jobs and the evolution of industries. However, the path to entrepreneurial success is laden with formidable challenges. Entrepreneurs encounter obstacles, from securing funding and navigating market competition to adapting strategies and persevering through setbacks. Despite these difficulties, it is in surmounting these challenges that entrepreneurs truly demonstrate their mettle and contribute to transforming the business landscape.

Rudy Schmid, Author of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide,” offers a unique perspective on the challenging entrepreneurial journey. His experiences navigating the complexities of numbers and insights into the financial industry provide invaluable guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Discovering a Passion for Numbers

Working with numbers didn’t come naturally to Rudy Schmid, the author of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide.” He struggled in his early math classes, but his fascination with numbers, especially in the context of financial matters, drove him to work harder and gain a deeper understanding of working with numbers.

Early Foundations and Academic Pursuits

Building upon what he learned in his early years, Rudy continued to find ways to develop valuable data using ratios, comparative figures, and analysis. After his time in the Army, Rudy attended UCLA, graduating in 1958 from the Business School with a degree in Business Administration.

Venturing into Auditing and Business Insights

Following school, Rudy began his career in auditing with Ernst & Ernst, CPA’s, now known as Ernst & Young. During his time as an auditor, he discovered an aspect of his job he had not considered earlier – the opportunity to meet the owners, managers, and other professionals in various business sectors and gain insight into the inner workings of these companies. Meeting individuals from diverse industries, including publishing, construction, retail sales, and weather control, was a new and exciting experience for Rudy.

Constructing Insights from Financial Data

One of Rudy’s favorite tasks during audits was writing closing reports highlighting businesses’ strengths and weaknesses based on the development of ratios and other data found in financial statements. Forming conclusions in this manner gave him great satisfaction, allowing him to provide constructive data for management.

The Entrepreneurial Leap

After three years with Ernst & Ernst, Rudy realized that his goal in business was to own his own company, make policy decisions, and manage it himself. He established his business on January 2nd, 1960, in Santa Maria, CA, as Rudolf F. Schmid, CPA, and never looked back until his final retirement in 2022, 64 years later. He says,

“I believe there is a right place for everyone in the workforce. Some folks are more comfortable as employees, while others find their best place as company owners. Both positions are highly important and vital to the business community.”

To his delight and continued satisfaction, he served as a CPA in every imaginable industry, providing accounting, income tax services, and consulting.

From Auditor to Business Owner

By 1968, having built a flourishing clientele, Rudy sold his accounting practice over lunch to another local CPA firm and moved to Santa Barbara. During this period, when limited partnership investments were gaining popularity, he developed a large following. He also discovered a specialized area of work in which he could serve as a part-time controller for mid-sized companies. In this role, he provided partial management for a publishing company and a soft drink bottling company based on his knowledge of the numbers in their financial statements. He recommended constructive steps for refinancing, employment, and other vital areas.

Tech Ventures and Teaching

In Santa Barbara, at the dawn of the personal computer era, Rudy was offered the opportunity to become the president of a new software company. He accepted the offer and undertook a project to develop data in the airline industry. This project aimed to replace services being done manually and, by computerizing them, save up to 80% of time and labor costs. Although the project was successful, it was quickly overshadowed by a competing software company with a much more substantial marketing budget. “Our company proved to be under-capitalized and unable to survive the setback,” said Schmid. “I learned many valuable lessons that would serve me well in future years.”

While in Santa Barbara, Rudy also served at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a lecturer in accounting subjects, which helped him sharpen his teaching skills.

Working on Unique Cases

Among his regular accounting responsibilities, Rudy fondly recalls some side ventures—one such assignment involved flying to Kansas City, where a client owned a motel. The owner suspected substantial funds were missing and asked Rudy to investigate.

Rudy analyzed the guest records, compared them with the cash receipts by shift, and quickly identified the night clerk responsible for the missing funds. The clerk chose to confess and returned the stolen funds immediately, resulting in the case’s swift closure – all within a single day.

Financial Stewardship at a Multi-Company Organization

In 1985, Rudy accepted an offer from a firm in Baltimore, Maryland, to serve as the controller of a multi-company organization. This role encompassed operations in cattle raising, dairy farming, and grain farming and eventually expanded to include accounting and reporting for numerous real estate development communities. The most prominent among these was a $250 million residential community in the suburbs of Baltimore. Rudy’s responsibilities extended to continuous planning, forecasting, and reporting of the income tax aspect for all seven companies in the conglomerate.

As part of the real estate operation, periodic Board of Director meetings were held. Rudy was asked to present reports that included the financial statements and his comments and analysis of the statements. Over time, his reports became so well-received that they became the focal point of the meetings. Rudy began to realize that his ability to convey information about the company in a meaningful way was of exceptional value to the directors, influencing their plans and decisions.

The Birth of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide”

Rudy believed that his ability to convey helpful information could be reduced to writing, which ultimately became the inspiration for his book, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide.”

A Remarkable Career and Family Life

Rudy continued as a controller for 37 years until his 90th birthday in 2022. During his 64 years as a Certified Accountant, Rudy could provide his services to clients in a wide array of businesses. Reflecting on his career, he recently commented,

“Many believe that accounting is boring, just bean counting! But I discovered years ago that in the measurement of profits and losses in business, I had the extra good fortune of meeting many great people along the way! Can’t beat that.”

Rudy has enjoyed a fulfilling family life throughout his years in accounting. Today, at 91 years of age, he is the proud father of seven children, thirteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. In good health, he resides in Sykesville, Maryland.

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