What Level is Your Design Business?

Shirry Dolgin: I Have a CPA so I’m Good, Right?

Episode 552 of A Well-Designed Business®

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business! LuAnn’s guest today is Shirry Dolgin. Hold on to your seat as Shirry humorously recounts her long-ago experience with a sales tax audit that was the furthest thing from funny at the time. You just might identify with the gamut of emotions that she experienced during this period and hopefully learn from her ordeal!

Shirry Dolgin is a rising star in the southern California interior design community. Having established her firm, ASD Interiors INC. in 2004, Shirry has an impressive portfolio of projects, and has been featured in a variety of media outlets including multiple TV appearances. Specializing in large scale residential and commercial projects and an industry expert in construction, she has built a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable renovations interior designers in the industry.

A native of Los Angeles and the daughter of the owner of a construction company, Shirry was exposed to the world of design at an early age. She went on to study performing arts in Boston as a dancer, then attended the prestigious Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising in L.A., first in the visual communication department, then transferring to interior design.  

Shirry’s on-screen career began in 2006, when she was asked to participate in a renovation project for television. Given her background in performing arts, she was a natural. Her TV credits include a design and remodel segment on the KTLA morning show, an appearance on HGTV’s Selling L.A. and a feature of her live/work office on You Live in What? for HGTV. She has participated in several episodes of House Hunters Renovation and was a two-time winner on HGTV’s design competition show, Design Wars. ASD Interiors projects have been featured in Traditional Home and Apartment Therapy, and published in the Kitchen Bible. ASD has received the “Best of HOUZZ” in service and design for the past nine years.

Show Highlights:

  • Shirry shares the backstory that led up to the letter from the State Board of Equalization requesting a sales tax audit.
  • Shirry was working with a CPA that didn’t reconcile her account on a monthly basis.
  • The audit covers a 3-year period.
  • The CPA requested that Shirry gather all of her documents, which was bewildering to an unprepared Shirry.
  • The CPA submitted all of the information that they were able to gather.
  • The State Board of Equalization determined that Shirry was not properly collecting sales tax and demanded a very large sum of money, which Shirry did not have.
  • Shirry requested an appointment with the State Board of Equalization’s superior manager in order to understand how they arrived at their figures.
  • The State Board of Equalization’s response to Shirry stunned her!
  • You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • Shirry shares what she learned from this meeting.
  • “I learned more going through that audit than I did in three years of college to get a design degree.” – Shirry
  • How do you pay back $43,000 that you do not have?
  • LuAnn explains the “Red Pen System” that she uses at Window Works.
  • Find out if the CPA found redemption in Shirry’s eyes post-audit!
  • Learn to speak up when something doesn’t seem right.
  • Your action item:
  • Download the handbook of equalization for your particular state (.gov address).
  • Shirry:
  • Collects 35% across the board for Residential work.
  • Has this “procurement fee” conversation with her clients.
  • Shirry and LuAnn offer additional tips on collecting sales tax.

Links :

Shirry’s Email 

Shirry’s Website

Shirry’s Instagram

Shirry’s Facebook

Shirry’s Pinterest

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Dina Holland #354

Sandra Funk #520



What Level is Your Design Business?