A Helping Hand: Jose Antunes Gives Startups & Entrepreneurs Accounting and Tax Advice

By Cowerks

Chances are that if you’re a startup, you’re doing your taxes wrong. Yeah, you could go look up “8 Common Tax Mistakes That Startups Make” on Mashable or “5 Tax Mistakes that Startups Make” on Entrepreneur. But those are just two more lists from two more people who probably don’t know the real deal.

As a member of WithumSmith+Brown’s Technology & Communications Group, accountant Jose Antunes enjoys helping self-starters with sage tax and accounting advice. And many entrepreneurs at startups nowadays need that advice in order to avoid being blindsided by taxes, technicalities or unseen laws.

“I’m very involved with our tech niche at Withum,” Jose said. “That’s why I come to Cowerks all the time. I thought it would be a great idea to start coming in and offering my services to anyone in the space.”

Jose Who?

Jose Antunes.

He has seen both sides of the coin, working in the private accounting industry for about 5 years and with WithumSmith+Brown for the past 15 years. He has helped on varying projects with mergers and acquisitions, training, and transitions.

“When I was working in private, I wanted to expand my knowledge,” Jose said. “I was getting bored and I wanted to something different. I was so adapted to that lifestyle that I would finish by 10am.”

Keeping a fresh perspective on your work can be tough. However, in working environments that encourage collaboration and independent thought staying engaged isn’t that hard.

There’s a saying and it goes, “You are the company you keep.” Choose the people you spend time with wisely because it rubs off on you. And pick the company you work for carefully, too. Dual meanings rule.

Jose went on to say,

“Every day at Withum I do something different. Conferences, incubator spaces, speaking at conferences – it keeps my mind fresh and active.”

Withum is currently the auditor on the largest special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPO since the 2008 financial crisis, CF Corporation. It’s not an exaggeration when we say Jose know ledgers like the back of his hand and is bilingual in reading financial analysis reports.

Jose Hits His Stride

Having a lot on your plate is a great way to avoid boredom, but stress can build up.

“I try to run every other day, it’s my me time,” Jose said. “I literally plan out my day and future in my head. It’s a great stress release for me.”

Jose helps himself by running and helps others by giving the best tax and accounting advice. Let’s put it this way, you know the friend in your circle who always has the best advice when it comes to complicated stuff – that’s Jose.

“A lot of what I do is project management for clients. We’ll be doing a lot more management consulting moving forward,” Jose asserted.

When it comes to taxes, everyone always seems to be either confused or know everything. Let’s just cut to the chase and go to someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

“If a client is having trouble with a product, I would come in and make suggestions. It’s a service we can provide so why not give them what they need. I do this a lot internally within my company as well.”

Keeping Busy

Often times, people think this saying has a negative connotation. But there’s bad busy and then there’s good busy. The ladder of the two implies that your mind is engaged and you’re accomplishing goals at a healthy pace.

Withum has been good busy.

There is a lot of opportunity in a business that adapts to its times.

“Trying to keep our business model the same but having to adapt to millennial lifestyle has been a point of focus for us,” Jose said. “Millennials are our future.”

Good busy can also mean mixing things up a bit.

“A lot of other big name accounting firms out there have rebranded and had their names changed,” Jose reported. “We wanted the rebranding process to give our firm a new look.”

Although rebranding itself earlier this year as just ‘Withum+’ (keeping the plus sign in their logo because there was equity in that for their brand) the firm is legally still called WithumSmith+Brown.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.55.00 AM


Disclaimer: No toes were stepped on through this rebranding process.

“Smith and Brown were totally fine with the rebranding, they know it’s the best move,” Jose said.

In addition to the rebranding process, Withum has kept up acquisitions and mergers to perpetuate its business further.

“Withum is merging with some firms and helping them on board,” Jose said. Most recently McGuigan Tombs & Company, a $3 million-plus certified public accounting firm based in Manasquan, NJ, joined Withum. All of McGuigan Tombs’ team will relocate to Withum’s Red Bank, NJ, office located on Newman Springs Road.

Withum has some high profile clients, like the largest SPAC IPO of Q1 2016 with the $500 million IPO, Silver Run Acquisition Corp, Which has an energy-focused private equity sponsor Riverstone Holdings, LLC.

Jose loves what he does because he does what he loves. Following tech trends is also one of his favorite things to do.

How Do You Stay Ahead?

The tech landscape is more of an amorphous blob – it changes all the time and you never know what it will become.

Jose told us he prefers Jersey Shore Meetup, New York Meetup, NJ Tech CouncilNYTech events to stay ahead of the game. Withum has an office in New York City and Jose goes frequently for training sessions or conferences.

Lunch & Learn With WithumSmith+Brown & Congressman Frank Pallone
Jose with Congressional Representative Frank Pallone on Start-Up Day Across America

“When I go into the city, the first thing I do is check out if there are any meetups,” Jose admitted. “It’s a guaranteed good time. And why not go to a meetup with a bunch of venture capitalists.”

Staying in tune with the pulse of the tech industry allows Jose to always know what’s going on and to fuel his love for helping people.

One of the defining characteristics of a startup is the lack of funding and without that funding, entrepreneurs are usually left to fend for themselves – not spending money on accountants or lawyers.

“I love working with startups and entrepreneurs. My favorite clients are the one’s I help get started but I’ve also helped with their exit plan.”


Stop by Cowerks for our next Lunch + Learn with Jose and his team on September 16th.In the meantime, you can find out a little more about what Jose is up to on his LinkedIn profile.

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