Employee Spotlight – Eric Lee

Eric Lee spotlight series Shannon CPAs Kent, WA

Eric has worked in public accounting since 2017. He specializes in international taxation but his His experience spans a wide range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and distribution. learn more here.

Q: When did you start at Shannon & Associates? And how long have you been working here?

I started working at Shannon & Associates in January 2017, so I’ve been here for six years.

Q: What is your current role at Shannon & Associates? Can you take us through a typical day?

I’m a manager, with an emphasis on tax engagements. That includes reviewing and signing tax returns, tax planning, and finding solutions to complex issues – all the while, working closely with clients and the Shannon team. Currently, we are getting ready for the upcoming tax season, we have tax leadership team meetings to review our processes, reflect on the previous year, and look for new opportunities to be more efficient.

A typical day starts with prioritizing, looking at my projects, and determining what needs to be done today and what can I do today that will help with a future project or upcoming deadline. Client and team communication always come first. I will then have a block of time to work on my projects and I usually have a couple of conference calls a week.

What is the best part about working at Shannon & Associates?
I’ve experienced tremendous personal and technical growth while working at Shannon & Associates. School can’t completely prepare you for public accounting, but a workplace with great culture and leadership can. Learning how to make decisions with limited information and understanding the consequences of each possible outcome is a crucial skill to have in public accounting. And I credit my personal growth in that to the Shannon culture.
—Eric Lee

Q: What have you gained from working at Shannon & Associates? Can you describe the career growth you’ve experienced?

I’ve experienced tremendous technical growth while working here. With a degree in Accounting, my goal was to specialize in tax and become a licensed tax professional. To do so, I needed to get my CPA license and the leadership team fully supported that goal. Earning my license was a big accomplishment and paved the way for my career.

From there, a big part of my technical growth was learning how to solve client problems with limited information. In the real world, you don’t always have every piece of information you need to solve an issue, so you must understand your big picture objective – determine what is important and what is not, know what the consequences are for different outcomes, and then use all that plus your experience to make decisions. This was demonstrated to me at Shannon and something I had to learn in my career.

Finally, I also credit the leadership I was able to work under and the exposure they gave me to work on different engagements. Our management team was great at every level, allowing me to work through many projects and tasks. They did not shy away from giving me things that were new to me and things I was going to have to research and figure out – things that were going to stretch me. This was a key element to my technical growth.

I also experienced personal growth by working with team leaders and clients. I learned how to handle stressful situations by observing meetings during my first year. It’s the Shannon method of doing things – focus on the client and their needs, listen, acknowledge their concerns, and work on the best solution for them. Active listening and showing empathy for concerns, and bringing new ideas, all lead to positive outcomes. I had the best teachers and seeing how it was done gave me the tools I needed.

Mentoring is a big part of my growth here.

The mentorship program is goal based. It’s a mix of personal, professional, and client management goals. You work with a mentor to outline the specific things you want to accomplish, and your mentor supports you along the way – keeping you accountable.

One of my goals is to specialize in international tax. I have been able to work on most of the international clients in our firm, focus my continuing education on international, and build relationships with outside international referral sources.
The key is that I have these goals, and our leadership team makes sure they are available to me to ensure they are supporting me in reaching my goals.

Q: How has the Shannon & Associates team helped you in your career journey?

There is a great team environment at Shannon & Associates. Honestly, everyone at the firm has a role, and we are always learning from each other. Everyone has different experiences that they bring to the team, which makes us – us! When I started, I was observing, learning, and given the opportunity to work on a team.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Shannon & Associates?

The opportunities. Goodwill. And company size. I’m involved with a mix of projects while working with a great team. The firm has a large enough footprint in the market to offer great opportunities for complex work, all the while having a very close family feel, which I expect you wouldn’t get at larger firms. The size feels just right because I don’t feel lost, like just another employee in a pool of people. But I know they value me and what I bring to the firm.

Q: And a question about S&A Values: Collaborative and Mentoring, Accountable, Respect and Integrity, Excellence, Strive. Do any of those values stand out to you? If so, why?

Strive! I really like to push myself. I enjoy challenging work and am always striving to learn and grow.

Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of the office?

I have three daughters age, seven, five, and three. And I love being with my wife and kids – getting outdoors, camping, fishing, and more.

Q: Before working at Shannon & Associates, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I worked for the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. I was at the front desk and worked directly with the public, it was very diverse work day-to-day. You never knew what you were going to be up against, and you had to find the humor in that to get through the day.

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

I earned my first degree in Biblical Literature before earning my accounting degree.

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