Ronee is a 51-year-old grandmother of five who did not always see herself on her current accounting path. Facing a sudden career change, she began attending college taking advantage of Shannon & Associates’ offer of a retraining program and flexible schedule to fulfill her goal of a long-dreamed-of degree.
Q: When did you start at Shannon & Associates? What about at CWU Connecting with Shannon – how did that go? Was there something unique about the conversation?
I didn’t always see myself in the accounting role I’m in now, but I’ve always been looking for a fulfilling career. And it really started with my former career in telecommunications. A few years from retirement, my position was cut. And I was given the option to take another role at the company or the severance package they offered me.
I decided to take advantage of their offer, so I started taking classes at Renton Technical College, where I quickly found I had a love for accounting. In fact, I took as many classes as possible before transferring my credits to Central Washington University-Des Moines on the path to a degree. They have a great accounting program!
At Renton Technical College, I met counselor Laura Knight. At CWU, I met professor Jenny Cravens who encouraged me and helped me set the path I needed to graduate. Jenny also helped me network at accounting events and encouraged me to not just look at the largest accounting firms but find the right firm with an ideal work-life balance.
At one of these events, I had the pleasure of meeting Bridget Taylor from Shannon & Associates, and let me just say the rest is history. The Partners at Shannon agreed to work around my class schedule and just knew this was the right place for me.
Q: What is your current role at Shannon & Associates? Take us through a typical day.
I work on the tax side, and I love it! I have a lot on my plate and typically work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, then shift my mind to classwork. My challenge is to stop at a certain hour because I have to realize I’m still in school and have another obligation in classwork. This will, of course, help me grow as an accountant and make me a better employee, which is extremely important to me.
Q: What have you gained from working at Shannon & Associates? Can you describe the career growth you’ve experienced?
I gained 20 pounds! Mainly because of the amazing food at some of our meetings and events. But seriously, I’ve found that most of what I learned in school had to be thrown out of the window.
Yeah, you learn the basics, but there is nothing like real-world experience to bring it all to light. I’m learning about 040 tax returns and all of their intricate details” Schedules A, C, D, etc. They assign a mentor to you, so you don’t feel like a “fish out of water.”
Your mentor works to understand your ambitions, and where you want to go, and works with you to define a path to get you there. We have monthly meetings and set monthly and year-end goals.
What makes Shannon & Associates a great place to work?
I found a love and joy in accounting and the team at Shannon & Associates was willing to work around my schedule to help me fulfill my ambitions. They expect you to work hard but they empower you and help you grow. It’s a great atmosphere with excellent people and I love it.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Shannon & Associates?
The people, no doubt! Everyone has a unique personality, we all get along, and I love the environment here. I think it’s because Shannon & Associates talks about their culture and team spirit during the hiring process, and they don’t just hire anyone. They’re looking for people with qualifications and the soft skills that matter.
Also, no question is silly here. Many firms say this but don’t practice it. The team at Shannon & Associates says this and practices it daily. And the partners are more than willing to listen, help, and advise. They make it known that they are here to help and keep you on the right path. It’s wonderful.
And trust me, it’s unusual because I have friends whose experiences are not as great as mine. We’ll leave it at that.
Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of the office?
I love to dance. Chicago-style steppin’ to be specific. It’s an eight-count partner dance I would describe as soulful salsa. I’ve been dancing Chicago style for a while and I love it.
Q: What are your big goals. Does it involve teaching?
I have two big goals: To become a CPA and to teach at CWU-Des Moines. There needs to be more black and brown people in business, especially in accounting (and professional services in general). I want to encourage others and tell them they can do what I did, no matter their age or skin color.
Q: What inspired you to make such a big change at 51?
The accounting class. When my position was cut at my former job, I had a pity party first, wondering what the heck I would do at the age of 47. I took that class and almost immediately knew this was it. I wanted to rebrand myself, become an accountant, and fulfill my purpose in life.
Q: How would you describe Shannon & Associates?
Team players. Amazing work-life balance. Resourceful people.
Are you interested in joining our team?
Explore our careers page to learn about our culture, team spirit, and what it’s like to work at Shannon & Associates.