Nicole graduated with her Bachelor’s in Accountancy from Walsh College in June of 2015. Her previous work experience includes graphic design and statistical analysis for Oakland County Government, and full-charge bookkeeping for a manufacturing firm in Clarkston, MI. She didn’t always know that she wanted to be in the accounting profession, and actually started her career in engineering, and later nursing. She joined Clayton & McKervey in 2016 and is currently on the Foreign Direct Investment team as a Staff Associate. She is studying to sit for her first section of the CPA exam, and plans to finish her dual MBA/MSF degrees after she’s officially a certified CPA.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I don’t really have a typical day since my week can change in an instant, and the fast-paced aspect of the position can sometimes feel overwhelming, but always rewarding. Some days I travel to client sites to assist with financial closes and meet with management regarding the monthly reporting, and other times I am in the office working on prepared financial statements, helping clients over the phone with software and technical support-type questions, or crunching some numbers for a payroll run. I have a very active phone, and frequently find myself switching gears when urgent requests for accounting support, or software questions come in. I tend to come in to the office a bit earlier than average so I can catch any e-mails from clients in Europe that will need to be addressed ASAP, and I particularly enjoy starting my morning with a cup of coffee in the quiet office before the firm starts to get busy.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

I’m a very collaborative and outgoing individual, so the most meaningful part of my job would be developing and maintaining excellent relationships with all of my clients. When I’m working with a client directly, I try to focus on where their strengths and weaknesses are as a business owner and how I can envision the FDI team at C&M filling in the gaps. I particularly love to teach clients how to get the most functionality out of their accounting software, and I always enjoy a good puzzle that needs unraveling and extra scrutiny.

What do you consider your greatest success so far in your public accounting career?

My greatest success has come from my ability to connect with people, no matter if they are clients, members of the community or other firm staff. I always give every new interaction as much of myself as possible because I’ve always believed I could be the best at what I do, but if no one likes me as a person, I’ll never get the opportunity to share those skills with anyone.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career?

My biggest piece of advice would be to observe and absorb everything, from every assignment and every conversation you have. Watch how the other members of your department interact with each other and with clients and practice making that confidence feel natural when it comes from you. Any comments or corrections received on work prepared shouldn’t be viewed as negative marks, but opportunities to prove you are learning and absorbing what your seniors and managers are trying to teach you. In public accounting, I don’t think there will ever be a point where anyone can confidently say they know everything, so don’t ever feel embarrassed that you don’t it all either. Focus on learning and improving at every step of the way, and the rest will come naturally.