Craig’s Don Jones voted best accountant by Craig Press readers
For the Craig Press
Public accountant Don Jones considers serving Craig to be one of his life’s greatest privileges.
Jones, owner of Jones & Associates, found his calling as a Craig teenager – only briefly leaving the city to earn his bachelor’s degree in Durango. His family has a long history in Craig, which imparted him with intimate knowledge of the region’s economic circumstances.
Jones was voted best accountant in the Craig Daily Press’ 2021 Best of Highways 13 & 40.
He started his career under accountant Greg Hamilton, and later worked with Denise Arola of Arola & Associates before buying the company more than a decade ago and re-naming it Jones & Associates.
In the past year, Jones has worked tirelessly to answer residents’ questions about federal stimulus checks while addressing similar pandemic-related tax concerns.
Even before COVID-19 hit the country, Jones and his staff of three shouldered heavy workloads – sometimes putting in 90 hours a week to promptly file more than 600 combined individual and business returns each tax season. Staff members complete extensions and businesses’ bookkeeping in the off season.
“The pandemic has made the past two years very challenging,” Jones said. “I’m in the office seven days a week, and we can’t always focus on the task at hand because we’re trying to answer questions about federal stimulus checks, unemployment and other things.”
Last year’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act delivered a number of retroactive tax relief measures to clients, and Jones’ team amended returns from years past while simultaneously answering questions about changes in Washington D.C..
“We spend numerous hours keeping up with all the changes and having answers for the general public as best we can,” Jones said. “The IRS expects everyone to go to IRS.gov, but I’m often the first step before they call the government.”
Jones lauds the company’s customer service approach; he’s always willing to meet with clients interested in establishing a rapport. Communication became more challenging amid COVID-19 restrictions, he said, because customers often don’t wish to discuss taxes via phone or Zoom.
“Customer service is our number one thing,” he said. “I try to meet with every client, which does take a little longer, but I think communicating with individuals was difficult these last two years. We didn’t do a lot of in-person meetings, and it’s sometimes hard to get documentation…”
Despite the new time constraints, Jones continues to find joy in accounting. He feels fortunate to give back to the community that raised him.
“It means a lot,” he said. “In a small town, we don’t lose many clients, and it’s nice to have people calling our office asking for help with their taxes. Serving this community means a lot to me.”
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Kelsey Loya grew up watching her mom work in her hair salon, but she didn’t necessarily plan on becoming a cosmetologist herself.