Logan Powell is a Colorado Springs native working as a certified public accountant for R.S. Powell, Inc. — his father’s accounting firm, established in 1986. Powell’s father went to Colorado Springs School District 11’s Coronado High School and his mother went to Air Academy High School, where Logan eventually attended. “My family has been here for a long time,” Powell said. “My grandpa — my mom’s dad — owned the Overhead Door Company of Colorado Springs. He later sold it to my uncle, but it’s no longer in the family now. Both sides of my family live here in Colorado Springs — except for my older brother, who is three years older than me; he lives in Santa Barbara.”
After high school, Powell attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley — earning a bachelor’s degree in business management. In college, he met his future wife Laura, who was a business marketing student — who works as a loan specialist for DTS Mortgage, Inc. After graduating, they both worked for Target locations in the Denver area as retail managers. On a whim, they requested transfers, but eventually returned to Colorado.
After some time in retail management, Powell decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He talked with the Business Journal about moving to Nashville, holding Carrie Underwood’s hand, considering working for the FBI, and finding the “home” in hometown.
Tell us about this whimsical move to Nashville.
We, my wife and I, are both from Colorado and had never lived elsewhere. ... We were out walking, and she asked if I ever wanted to live anywhere else. I said, ‘I’ve never thought about it — but yeah, I’d try someplace else.’ We like country music and have friends in Nashville. That night, we both put in for a transfer.
Since it was on our terms — it was our choice or desire to move — we had to wait until two positions opened in Nashville and at different Target locations. It could’ve been two years waiting, but it only ended up being three months, from submitting a transfer request until we were given the go-ahead. I got the downtown location and she got the Franklin store — which is in the fancy part of Nashville, where a lot of country singers live. A lot of them, though, would shop at the downtown location.
We arrived the week before Nashville experienced one the worst floods in its history. It was just steady rain, nonstop. That was our welcome to Nashville, a flood. Honestly, for us, it was both a blessing and curse. Obviously, without question, the flood was horrible — but all these musicians and singers put on charitable, benefit shows. We got to see so many performers that we love. Also, through the flood, we made friends — disaster brought people together.
A friend gave us tickets for the Country Music Awards or the CMT Music Awards, one of those shows — I can’t remember which. You know when you see the crowd of people right up front at the stage, when watching on TV? We were right there in that pod of people. We got to meet people before they went up stage, including David Spade. Carrie Underwood introduced a band to perform — I think it was Zac Brown Band — and after her introduction, the lights went down. There were stairs leading down, off the stage — and of course there’s no railings. Carrie is wearing this gown with stiletto heels, struggling to get down. I put my hand out and she grabbed it; I led Carrie Underwood down the stairs at an awards show.
Also, Taylor Swift would come into my Target pretty frequently, nearly once a week. I never actually met her, but I saw her come in several times. Anyways, my wife and I were [in Nashville] for a year. We moved back [to Colorado], and my wife was promoted to store manager in Glenwood Springs — but after another year and a half or so, we were exhausted on retail, working weekends and holidays.
What did you do?
I wanted to do something different. I talked with both my wife and my dad about accounting. I actually started my undergraduate in accounting, but switched to business management. Anyways, in order to take the CPA exam, I essentially needed to get a master’s in accounting to meet the required credits for certification. I did a two-year program through Regis University; I moved down to the Springs and took classes online. I started working with my dad, doing what I could at the time. After I got my master’s degree, I began the CPA process. That is a monster — there’s four sections; it took a year to do them all. Each section is timed at a testing center. They say it’s one of the hardest professional exams to pass, because it’s constantly changing due to the changing tax laws. I passed each of the first three sections on my first attempt, but I had to take the fourth section three times. The fourth section was international accounting, which I don’t ever use. Earning my accounting certification was such a highlight … I finished it last summer.
What was this interest in the FBI you mentioned, though?
I’m certified as a forensic examiner for fraud accounting, actually. I earned that while I was working on my master’s in accounting. We — my father’s firm — don’t really do any of it, but it’s something I have. There was a point when I thought it would be fascinating to work for the FBI; they hire a lot of CPAs — nearly with any crime, there’s something to do with money. So that’s why I pursued that certification. I’m a CPA and a CFE: a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner.
What’s the worst part of your job, and what’s best?
Tax season is obviously difficult. Other than that, one of the most difficult aspects is staying on top of the constantly changing tax laws. And the pandemic really threw everyone for a loop, even the IRS is so far behind that they’re still processing 2019’s returns. There’s also this perception — that many in the public seem to have of tax preparers — that we are somehow part of the IRS, and that we have this direct communication with the IRS. We submit the returns and have no contact. Some ask if we can call the IRS with ‘our special number.’ What special number? We call the exact same number as you do. I don’t know anyone at the IRS any more than you do. And we’ll get yelled at because a client owes money. We just deliver the news; it’s pretty black and white.
I love the freedom that I have now … outside of tax season. It’s lucrative; it’s a good profession to have, and we realized that it’s pandemic proof. We’re always going to be paying taxes. Death & taxes; always guaranteed. We’re always going to need CPAs, forever.
Where do you see yourself in five years or so?
They say our generation changes jobs about seven times, or something like that. Our generation likes change. We do what we do, try things, and we eventually find something that clicks — but I plan on staying here and staying in accounting. My wife and I love it here in the Springs, and it’s amazing to see how it’s grown. I like that it’s a big town with a small-town vibe. My wife, Laura, works for DTS Mortgage now, and has been for about two years. She went to the same testing center as I did to get certified and knocked it out in no time.
What do you love about Colorado Springs?
I love craft beer; I love all the breweries here in Colorado Springs — they’re all so welcoming. Also, I golf — we golf — my wife and I are members of Kissing Camels Golf Club. I try to hit the links two or three times a week. Laura just got into golf over the pandemic, and she loves it. We’re actually going out later this afternoon, after this interview. It’s a fun sport to play, and I try to not get frustrated with it. I tell Laura that I’m never taking a lesson because, if I take a golf lesson, I’m going start taking it seriously … then I’m guaranteed to get frustrated. If I don’t take a lesson, then I always have that excuse: ‘Well, I’ve never had a lesson.’ I want it to stay fun — but it’s so up and down. The other day, I started out with an eagle — which is two under par — and parred the next hole. I was like, ‘I’m Tiger Woods! Look at me!’ And the course was like, ‘The hell you are!’ I had back-to-back double bogies on the next two, bringing me back to reality. It can go south so quick. There are life lessons there.