Derek Carter was racing along the path to partnership at a large accounting firm. He had graduated college with an accounting degree and spent years busting his ass, taking on more responsibility and leading at a large regional firm. He was managing people and working with autonomy in a large organization.

But his former colleague Levi Morehouse kept trying to sell him on leaving. They had worked together before Levi left to start Ceterus and had been pushing for Derek to join ever since. Eventually, Derek decided to make the leap into the startup world.

He’s now the COO of Ceterus, one of the most innovative and fastest growing accounting startups in the country.

Derek shares his backstory, from how he chose to pursue accounting, to deciding to leave his good job at a big firm to join a startup.

Derek is an outstanding example of an implementer joining with a visionary to make big things happen. If you’re working in a traditional role and excited by the possibility of working with a startup, there’s a ton of wisdom for you in this episode.

Covered in this episode:
– Leaning competitiveness from baseball
– Deciding to pursue an accounting degree
– What made Northwood University great
– What are the common characteristics of accountants
– Why public accountants need to learn how to sell to continuing progressing in their careers
– Derek’s experience starting at a large public accounting firm
– The disconnect between auditing classes in college and auditing reality
– How did Derek decide to join Ceterus
– Making the switch from a large established company to a startup
– What does Derek look for when hiring for Ceterus
– Making the decision to seek and eventually take on outside investment
– Advice for implementors who want to work in cool fields, but don’t want to be visionaries
– Opportunities at Ceterus

Show notes and links to all books, articles, and resources mentioned are available at

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Meet the hosts

I'm an entrepreneur, thinker, and communicator dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. I'm the founder and CEO of Praxis, an intensive ten-month program combining real world business experience with the best of online education for those who want more than college.


  • I’m curious to hear ideas, best practices, and habits or paradigms that other entrepreneurs and business owners find effective when it gets tough and lonely.  Trying to build out your vision, win customers, best competitors, outperform naysayers, motivate partners and employees, and keep a positive energy going all take a toll on you personally.  Sometimes, there’s no one around to help pump you up after you exert a lot of energy pumping up others! How do you keep confident and optimistic?  How do you keep the “eye of the Tiger”?  I’ve got some things that often help me, but I’d love to hear from others what works well for you…

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  • Hi All, If you haven’t yet heard of the Life Liberty Advocate program, you might like to check this out: They have a program where you can earn part-time and full-time income promoting the principles of liberty. I’ve listened to many of their materials and it is some of the best liberty education materials I’ve heard. Anyway, if you are looking for a way to be able to afford to devote more of your time to the cause of liberty, this may be a great opportunity for you. Cheers! Pat

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  • Hi everyone, My partners and I recently opened an online store with liberty-oriented Tees and stickers — — and we’re now exploring our options for marketing and promotion. To date, we’ve started Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, we’ve done some SEO work, and we’ve also run a handful of banner ads on and the Libertarian Reddit. (We’re donating a portion of the profits to and the Future of Freedom Foundation.) My partners and I are exceedingly busy with other responsibilities — i.e., full-time jobs, grad school, families, etc. — so this venture is simply a fun side business for which we have limited time. However, we’re intent on success, and we hope to build a venture that 1) consistently covers its monthly expenses, and 2) provides a source of reliable funding for and the FFF. The Internet’s awash in opinions about marketing methods and techniques, and we’re newcomers in a notoriously competitive market segment (i.e., Tees and stickers). We want to ensure we’re making wise use of our limited time, so we’re looking for a knowledgeable, liberty-minded marketer with experience appealing to libertarians, AnCaps, Constitutionalists, and Voluntaryists. For now, we’re simply looking for an initial, strategic consultation, but if we find the right person, it could certainly develop into something more. QUESTION: Do you know of someone who fits the bill? If so, please post below, or drop me a line at info AT Thanks, Scott …

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  • Idea Lab is a place to share and develop your entrepreneurial ideas.

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  • I’ve recently embarked upon a new type of social experiment around social reputation in business. After I was scammed by a provider I had many mutual connections with to the tune of $5,000, I was shocked that she was so willing to risk her reputation just to take my money this one time instead of giving me a refund so we could walk away peacefully. And then I realized the reason she thought it was okay to do this was because she didn’t think I had enough of a voice to make a difference to her reputation. So I made a decision in that moment that I would do everything reasonable in my power to warn others that she was not to be trusted as an ethical professional. Since then, James Guzman and the Borderless team have been kind enough offer me their platform to get the message across (, and perhaps even more interesting has been the public response I’ve received since attaching my own name to this controversial story. I’ve basically received two diametrically opposite responses. I would say most people who I have contacted or who contacted me directly have been supportive and thanked me for sharing the story about Shola Abidoye and her company Converport so they would know not to do business with her. Even people who did not know her previously were glad that I was bringing her crimes to light on principle alone. Some others, maybe 10% to 20% were astonished or angry that I would dare name her publicly for what they considered to be a private dispute. Many of these were people who had promoted her previously, so their own reputation could be harmed if she was outed as a criminal. Others were just offended at the concept, and thought anything negative like this should be kept between the disputing parties. As an entrepreneur and someone who works to help others establish their brand message, I think reputation and identity are everything in business. Furthermore, if we are ever to have a society which does not rely on state intervention to right the wrongs of others, reputation becomes vital for how we choose to interact with each other. Besides sharing my story in the case study above, I have been posting on sites like Ripoff Report and anywhere else someone might look before doing business with her so they can be warned – and she will possibly be incentivized to make restitution for stealing from me.  I wanted to hear other opinions about the best way to handle situations like this where professional reputation is the only tool we have against fraudsters. What other steps should people who have been wronged take to reduce these cases and possibly solve their problems? Gregory

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