A Day in the Life at Calibre CPA Group-
Brian Isenstein, Director of Information Technology
What is your title? Describe what you do.
I’m our Director of Information Technology. I oversee the 3 S’s of our IT program: Security, Software and Support. If it connects to the internet or plugs into an outlet, I’m somehow involved.
Why did you get into the accounting/audit industry?
It was not my intent to get into this industry. Maybe 2 weeks after graduating college (University of Wisconsin, Madison) I got a call from a family friend who was an IT consultant. He had just had a meeting with an accounting firm in Chicago who was looking to hire someone to help assist their “tech guy / CPA.” I had a good interview and then a new job the next week.
What are three things you do every day? Do you have any morning “rituals”?
My morning ritual is to make a fresh cup of coffee and catch up on all my emails. I grind my beans fresh and prefer coffees from Eastern Africa, then brew with an Aeropress. Ohh, this is about work, right…
After email time I catch up with my team and plan my tasks for the day. I usually have a lot of different projects going on simultaneously and it’s hard to stay organized without systems. Going through my project lists, I create a task list for the day based on priorities and deadlines.
I also try to find time to check in with coworkers on an informal basis. I work with people in all offices across the firm and have found you have to be proactive to grow those relationships where you don’t just casually see people.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?
The most challenging part of my job has been in my transition from IT Manager to Director. I love the problem-solving part of IT work and delegation doesn’t come naturally to me, so it can be a challenge to give someone else an interesting project to work on.
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to solve problems for my co-workers. I love finding solutions and positioning people to work smart, not hard. Can I say that in this interview?
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a role like yours? Are there specific character traits or skills/certifications they should possess?
A key ability in a role like mine is being able to translate different perspectives. I think I have found success because I can speak geek and human fluently. It’s crucial to evaluate IT decisions in the context of the firm’s needs and not just in a techie silo. I also use this ability to provide customer service to our employees and clients.
A sense of humor and humility will help you go far. There’s always more to learn and there’s no reason we can have fun along the way.
What makes Calibre CPA Group different than your previous workplaces? What do you like best about Calibre?
I have been very lucky to grow alongside the firm. In my 16 years here, I have had a huge roster of wonderful co-workers and supportive partners.