Exclusive SACC-LA Interview with Emil Abedian Co-founder of Abedian & Totlian

Photo Courtesy: Abedian & Totlian’s website.

Amazing SACC-LA Board Member and CFO Emil Adedian is the co-founder and CEO of Abedian & Totlian, an accountancy corporation, specializing in accounting, tax, and business-consulting services for small and mid-size businesses in service-based industries. With a blend of technology and expertise, Abedian & Totlian liberates their clients from the minutiae of back-office management allowing them to focus on what truly matters—applying their creativity and entrepreneurial vision to growing their businesses.

A SACC-LA Exclusive Interview with Emil Abedian

1.You are a Swede living in LA, what was your motivation for moving to LA?
My Hollywood story is that I was a superstar accountant in Stockholm and got recruited over to LA but to be perfectly honest, I fell in love and moved to cross the Atlantic. My Hollywood story turned out to be a love story. I am now married to that same girl and we have 3 kids together, William 8, Henry 4, and Abedian & Totlian 11.

2. What is one thing you miss about working in Sweden?
6 weeks’ vacation. As much as I love what I do here in LA, it would be nice to once in a while take a couple of weeks “totally” off. Not that I am not taking vacations but my vacations do always include work, and I am not only saying that to be able to take tax deduction for my trips. Sweden is different, even if you would want to work in July, you would probably not get much done because people won’t respond. That’s how it was at least when I lived in Sweden, 13-14 years ago. And of course, all the “fika” breaks.

3. Do you have a favorite place/restaurant in LA and why do you like this place?
I love going to Raffi’s place in Glendale, not only because they have delicious Persian/Armenian food but also because it reminds me of my childhood when I was spending most of my Sundays at my dad’s restaurant “Apadana” in Uppsala.

Photo Courtesy: Raffi’s Place on Instagram (@raffisplace).

4. What is your favorite part of your job?
Preparing financial statements or tax returns is not my favorite thing to do but to help my business owners grow is what wakes me up in the morning. I absolutely love spending time with business owners. I often learn more from my clients than I can teach them. It’s amazing to work with so many entrepreneurs and see how they are overcoming their challenges and to follow them every step of the way to their top.  

5. For someone interested in starting their own business what are your top 3 tips?
Very easy, hard work, hard work, and more hard work. There is no easy way of making it as a business owner. Whoever told you that you have a lot of flexibility as an entrepreneur lied. Running a business is not a job, it becomes part of your identity and you have to live it. The only flexibility you have as an entrepreneur is that you have the option to fit your family in the business, not only by employing them but to have them live it with you. Don’t take shortcuts, even though it’s often easier it will cost you much more in the long-term. If you want to build a big company, act as if you are one even though you are not there yet.

6. What is your favorite thing about working in Los Angeles?
The opportunity to work with so many different people from different parts of the world is just amazing. Not only with our clients but also with our team members at the firm. We learn so much from each other and I think that’s one of the major reasons why the sky is the limit here in LA.

7. What is the first thing you shop in a Swedish grocery store when visiting Sweden? 
The first thing I do when I go back to Sweden is to have a Capricciosa at one of my favorite pizzerias in Uppsala and thereafter buy 1kg “lös godis” that last me for about an hour, nothing beats that.

Five Fast Ones with Emil

Summer in LA or Summer in Sweden

Swedish Pick ‘N’ Mix or Snickers

Excel or Quickbooks

Movie or Book 
(Neither, Audiobook)

Semla or Donut 

Juventus or AC Milan

Emil Abedian

Photo Courtesy: Emil Abedian.