Q: Did you know you wanted to be a Partner?
A: Yes. But, coming out of school you really do not know what a Partner is or does, you just know they are the leaders. I think a lot of new staff enter firms of all sizes and think the Partners have it made because they dress better and have nicer cars, but I don’t think anyone takes a step back and thinks of the hard work and time they put into their business. Partners are essentially the independent business owners, and you must think this way to be successful.
Q: What has your experience been like at KSDT
A: My experience has been amazing. But, as with any job there are high and lows, ups and downs. What works for one person may not work for another. We have many employees that came from big 4 or large firms and I ask them, “why would you leave…?” “I hear they have this or that”. The typical response was that they were burnt out or didn’t feel engaged or connected. I realized, that at the end of the day, it is the people and the opportunity. I feel that KSDT has checked off those boxes for me.
Q: What was your toughest challenge?
A: My toughest challenge was growing or being promoted during a difficult job market. When I started, the job market was tough. But, that allows you to learn and adapt and be ready for opportunity. I learned that you don’t let life happen to you. Now, that I sit on the other side of the table and participate in performance meetings, I feel bad when an employee’s name is mentioned and someone responds, “who is that?”. You need to develop your own brand and more importantly, you need to be the person that raises their hand and say, “I’ll do it”. So, when the time is right and someone mentions your name, everyone says, “yes!”
Q: What advice do you have for new interns/staff?
Never stop learning! The mistake new employees make is that they only focus on CPE credits for their licenses requirements but do not stay current with communication and technology trends. I will never forget the example on of my college professors put on the board. The title was “yesterday’s success is not good enough today” He showed the world record times of 7 X gold medalist, Mark Spitz in 1972 Olympics. Mark completed shattered the previous times. Fast forward to 2016 Olympics and those times would have even qualified for the games. His correlation was that if you continue to do what you did last year, you will get passed by someone coming out of school that has better skills, technology, etc. And eventually, the ‘minimum’ standard is greater than your maximum skills.
Q: What’s your management Style?
Most managers manage how they were managed. But you need to find your own way and what works best to get the best out your team. I feel that you need to be attentive and engaged with your staff but also challenge them to grow. I believe in consistent feedback in informal settings to always be connected. What I like about KSDT is that they have invested heavily in learning & development as well as management tools. We have multiple channels that focus on the employee and want each and every person to achieve their own career goals.
Q: How do you address burn out or staff wanting to leave?
A: KSDT is very fortunate that we have low staff turnover. We have told some younger staff have opportunities at a Big 4 or comparable and I think they are shocked when we say, “Go” and get that exposure and experience. Ironically, many of them came back to us a few years later and our some of our best leaders. We never want to hold anyone back. If there is something that KSDT cannot fulfill then you need to take care of yourself.
Q: Final words?
A: For anyone considering a career in Accounting and joining a firm, make sure you have the opportunity to learn and grow. Have an honest and open communication plan with your manager to discuss your career goals. Instead of working 60-80 hours and making someone else rich, spend that extra time, developing your business and take an ‘ownership’ mentality. Take on responsibility. Learn to communicate effectively. Be patient. And, be somewhere that makes you happy and engaged.