Rachel has nine years of experience in public accounting, focusing on tax services and preparation for clients of many sizes and industries. Rachel works most often with closely held businesses and individuals, with experience also in tax services for estates and trusts. here.
Q: When did you start at Shannon & Associates? And how long have you been working here?
Seven years ago, with three years of public accounting experience and after having my second child, I was looking for part-time accounting work and a shorter commute. A friend working at another accounting firm in Auburn connected me with Julia Atwood, Partner/COO at Shannon & Associates, who was looking for a CPA.
At the time, finding a part-time accounting position was a challenge, but after meeting with Julia, I discovered that Shannon was a flexible, employee-focused firm that values talent. The meeting went well, and I was hired as a part-time employee.
Q: What is your current role at Shannon & Associates? Can you take us through a typical day?
I’m a Tax Manager and manage tax engagements from high-net-worth individuals to S-Corps, Partnerships, and everything in between. But preparing and reviewing tax returns, client emails, and phone calls are only part of what I do. Employee development, education, and training are part of my job, and I’m now mentoring someone new to the firm.
I normally work part-time, but if I ever need extra hours, the Partners are open and accommodating.
What do you like the most about working at Shannon & Associates?
Shannon & Associates fosters a team environment. We are encouraged to have autonomy, but when we need help, there are no closed doors, and we know that we can approach anyone with a question. We should never feel l like we’re on an island or thrown into the deep end of the pool.
Q: What have you gained from working at Shannon & Associates? Can you describe the career growth you’ve experienced?
I am now a much better accountant! Moving from a large to a medium-sized firm, you are in deeper waters, leading to more exposure and personal accountability. These things are part of the process, so you learn fast! Soon after I started, I quickly discovered how underdeveloped I was, but the environment made me a better accountant in short order.
It’s not a sink-or-swim experience because support is always available, but the environment forces you to develop yourself by having more accountability for issues with a broader scope of general knowledge.
I realized after coming here that it’s not a one-layer job. You are responsible for multiple layers – researching, spearheading, taking the lead on client interactions, etc., and continually developing your knowledge base.
So, by virtue of the number of employees, management interactions, and mentorship, you learn and get better quickly. Shannon fosters a team environment, you are encouraged to have autonomy, and when you need help, there are no closed doors. People are always open to talk.
The leadership doesn’t just talk about work-life balance, they embody it. Many businesses talk about work-life balance but don’t act on it. That is certainly not the case with Shannon & Associates. It’s been an eye-opening experience, and I have a great appreciation for a firm that walks the walk, so to speak.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Shannon & Associates?
There are several that stand out. The first is a top-down emphasis on teamwork because the partners exemplify the values they promote: Collaborative and Mentoring, Accountable, Respect and Integrity, Excellence, and Strive. Every month we focus on a different core value and recognize someone that month who exemplifies that value.
Plus, there is an open-door policy, and knowing I can approach anyone with a question is a big deal because they want us to grow!
This all circles back to values. They exemplify the firm’s core values through guidance and leadership.
Q: 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?
I love them all! I see value in each, as they complete a holistic approach to leadership and management. One without the other would upset the balance.
Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of the office?
Baking, reading, and traveling.
Q: Before working at Shannon & Associates, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
During college, I worked as an assistant manager at a local chain of tanning boutiques. The owner was a CPA and a JD, and to earn commissions on product and service sales, he required all employees to pass a knowledge exam that was loosely based on the bar and CPA exams (with different content, of course). I learned a lot about customer service and management at that job!
Q: When people make mistakes, how is that handled?
Here, compassion and understanding are a big deal, so it’s handled well. Support is given and it’s looked at as a learning opportunity. Mistakes are handled with grace and with an eye towards development rather than chastisement.
Q: What is something people don’t know about you?
I’ve had only five jobs since turning 16 but attended four colleges. I guess one could say I’m loyal to an employer but found it difficult to settle down at a school. I moved so much as a child that I attended three first grades within one school year.