Jason B. Wells, CPA, ABV, CFF, CVA, CFFA — 39
Principal, Jackson Thornton & Co.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Birmingham Southern College, Master in Professional Accounting, The University of Texas, Austin
Professional Associations/Memberships: Montgomery Estate Planning Council, National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA), Montgomery Lions Club - President
Hobbies: Cooking, hunting, travel
What are the key areas of your firm that have seen the greatest change in workflow over the past few years? Are you using automated workflow tools? In the areas of business valuation and litigation support, the ability to work with large data sets effectively allows me to answer my clients’ questions in a relatively short period of time. This ability has helped me move from someone seen as a technician towards a true business advisor. Today’s staff comes out of college or graduate programs with a high level of technological skill. Understanding that they have a high proficiency with technology and being open to allowing them to express their opinions as to the most efficient ways of getting work done has made a significant difference in our workflow and processes.
Have you embraced cloud computing for your practice? Are you moving your clients to the cloud? Jackson Thornton Technologies has been recognized by IBM as a Mid-Market Leader and Premier Business Partner. Because of such, cloud computing has been and will continue to be a vital resource not only to our Firm but our clients as well. While this service is not necessarily a fit for all clients, we have seen success in this growing market. We maintain space in a state-of-the art Tier 4 Data Center to facilitate a safe Cloud environment for the Firm and its clients.
On a broader scale, how do you see new technologies changing the accounting profession in the near term (3-5 years)? The era of 13-column ledgers is officially dead. Today’s environment demands a nimble mind and willingness to accept new technologies. Accounting issues are expanding in complexity but the automated process has enabled our Firm to become more efficient and cost effective for our clients. While technology is increasing at an ever-expanding pace, I believe that we as professionals must continue to develop ourselves and our staff to be able to understand complex issues that will never be solved by automation.
How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance? I can be as mobile as I choose. I try to limit the influence work has upon my home and family life. However, we are in a client service industry and I believe providing superior client service is what separates Jackson Thornton from our competitors. In today’s world, a strong client relationship is never 8 to 5. Maintaining technological mobility is one of the key factors in developing and keeping a strong client relationship.
Have you found business success via social media, either via recognizable ROI, new customers, marketing or networking? While I understand the benefits of social media, I prefer to build business relationships face-to-face. Perhaps that makes me “old school,” but the nature of my practice is built upon direct client interaction through collaboration and strong client service.
What tips on social media do you think are essential, but perhaps missed, by professionals and small businesses? I have not developed my practice through utilization of social media.
What single piece of technology do you find the most important in your professional life? My Smart phone is critical in maintaining strong relationships with my clients and colleagues in addition to allowing work-life balance.
Not including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? I have always respected family businesses of all sizes. These entrepreneurs face risks never seen before in our country. When I speak to these men and women, it’s evident that the American spirit is alive and well in their hearts. I am proud to work for those who are willing to step forward and lead in their companies and our community and believe that they are the cornerstones of our nation..
What brand/model mobile phone do you use? iPhone 5
Do you use a tablet for work purposes? Yes, primary an iPad for email-related tasks.
How many monitors do you have on your desktop workstation? I have three monitors on my desktop.
Read more about this year's 40 Under 40 Honorees.