A Day in the Life at Calibre CPA Group-
Patty Lovett, CPA, MBA, and Partner
Why did you initially get into public accounting?
I think it goes back to my tenth-grade accounting teacher in high school. He said if you go into accounting you can always find a job. I pursued accounting as a major when I went to Gettysburg College and then began working as an auditor for a large firm right after graduation.
How has your career evolved?
Overall, you could consider me a boomerang in the accounting industry but a long boomerang. I worked in private industry accounting for many years and got my MBA in the midst of that. I didn’t get back into public accounting until coming to Calibre. It’s a different viewpoint being in the Accounting & Financial Services (AFS) division as opposed to audit because we’re on the client side. My experience as an auditor was essential in helping me understand how to keep my clients’ books in good order. Accounting is a puzzle that you have to figure out; there’s always an answer and everything has to balance.
What do you like about working for a specialized firm?
Working at Calibre, I really appreciate the interaction with people from all different departments such as tax and audit and being able to collaborate. I often have tax or compliance questions and it’s great to have people to bounce those ideas off. I also enjoy working within the nonprofit sector, and have a wide range of clients of varying size and mission and I always feel like “part of the team” when working with them.
Now that you have recently been promoted to Partner, do you expect some things about your job to change?
I’m hoping to spend more time on firm management and business development. I enjoy marketing the services that Calibre provides and I’m looking forward to doing more of that.
What are three things you do every day? Do you have any morning “rituals”?
All of my colleagues joke with me because I’m a very early riser- like 3am. I try to sneak some kind of exercise in many of my mornings, drive my daughter to school, and of course, grab my Starbucks before heading to the office. My location often changes from day to day, week to week, and some days hour to hour so there’s never a dull moment.
How do you keep up with the latest updates/trends in the accounting field?
I utilize resources we have at Calibre, such as newsletter updates from the A&A committee. It’s also nice to be able to collaborate with other staff, managers and partners. The GWSCPA nonprofit symposium is a good place to learn about the latest software and other trends that pertain to most of my clients.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?
I really enjoy the client relationship part of the job, but sometimes that can be a detriment for me because I get too involved in the work instead of delegating the work to our team. That’s the toughest part for me: balancing the relationship and pulling back so I can free up time for other firm management projects. I love both.
Because my primary focus is nonprofit organizations, I have all different groups: religious, advocacy and small unions. I think being able to assist them with their financial processes helps our clients focus on their mission. When you go to a board meeting and an organization compliments Calibre’s work, it’s also rewarding. We have a great team in AFS and Calibre as a whole.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a role like yours? Are there specific character traits or skills/certifications you should possess?
I think a lot of times people can stereotype accountants as being quiet and boring people. But, I think it is so important to become part of the client’s team. We are invited to their holiday parties and team lunches. In this role, you need to be a team player and build those types of relationships with your clients. A critical skill is being organized, especially when it comes to time management. This is an important part of career progression. For example, I currently have more than 20 clients, most of whom I virtually connect with in some form each week.
What are some of your passions outside of the office?
I enjoy cheering my daughter on at her lacrosse games, especially in the spring. I have two other daughters who are in college, and I love to spend time with them whenever possible.
If I can carve out a full day in the kitchen, I really get into my groove. I love to cook and bake, usually Italian food or anything sweet. My family typically requests those things. If I wasn’t an accountant, I’d love to be a chef!