Melissa Boone – 2014 40 Under 40 Honoree
Sep. 08, 2014
Melissa Boone, CPA – 39
Office Managing Partner
What are the key areas of your firm that have seen the greatest change/challenge in workflow over the past few years? (Or, what are the key challenges you see firms facing?)
For up-and-coming professionals, we understand that it’s a challenge to focus on professional development during busy season but we still want to help our people, especially first-time managers, develop soft skills too. And to help managers in their roles and prepare them for the next steps in their careers, we have developed a leadership program to help with business development and management skills.
To what extent have you and your practice/company embraced cloud computing?
We leverage cloud computing where it makes the most sense for us as a business and fits with the security regulations we must adhere to. That being said, we have begun pilot projects on a number of cloud-based solutions including cloud storage and cloud-based email servers.
In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it a better place?
During the course of my 17 year career at CohnReznick, I have always looked for ways to get involved at both the local level and on a Firm-wide basis. I have eagerly accepted the Firm’s request to sit on various committees that dealt with issues ranging from creating efficiencies in the audit department to social impact issues within our local community. I believe that it is important to be part of the process of shaping the future of the Firm rather than sitting and watching from the sidelines.
In what ways do you participate in either the professional community or your local community to help others?
To me, it’s just as important to be involved in your local community as it is to be involved internally. In an effort to learn more about the issues that our local community faces, I completed the Leadership Charlotte program, which focuses on building Charlotte community leaders through inclusive leadership development, as part of Class 33. In addition, over the years, I have volunteered in several charitable and professional organizations. For several years, I sat on the AICPA Not-for-Profit Committee in which our goal was to review potentially new professional standards for the industry as well as educate local not-for-profits on accounting issues. I currently devote my time to serving on the board for Community Link, a local not-for-profit organization which focuses on moving homeless to housing, financial literacy, and home ownership. I have also raised funds and captained a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for many years. And, I volunteer for my church by visiting a local nursing home and cooking meals for members who are in the middle of life-changing events such as births, illnesses, and death.
What major changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
Millennials have definitely impacted the workplace and possibly for the better. Accounting is a pressure-packed profession and highly demanding. Our Firm’s focus on work-life balance helps to meet the expectations of this new class of professionals. We also need to focus on cultivating the next wave of leaders and getting junior staff more involved in client development. Simply handing over audit and tax work does not cut it anymore. Staff needs to be made aware of why we are doing certain things and involved in that process. Our mentoring efforts, Learning and Development initiatives, and programs such as WomenCAN help to make this happen.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
I will continue to immerse myself in the Firm as I have in the past. Following a simple philosophy, I will continue to be involved. Whether that is through Firm leadership initiatives such as WomenCAN, staff development opportunities, or through community involvement, it has always served me well to help others. As the office managing partner for Charlotte, I also have the opportunity to help better our office as a whole and am looking for new ways to do that such as applying changes based on Firm cultural surveys and continuing to stay connected to the staff.
What is your career philosophy?
My career philosophy is simple – work hard and always do the right thing. Show up every day at work and give it your best. Remember that your word and your reputation is the only thing you have at the end of the day so be sure to live honestly and do what you say you’re going to do so those two things stay intact.
Not including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why?
While an accounting career tends to consume one in this industry, I do notice other companies and brands. I enjoy seeing consistency and simplicity in messaging where the takeaways from the brand statement are memorable even if the company provides complex services (like CohnReznick). IBM is one that comes to mind. I also appreciate their ability to adapt over time beyond just computers.
Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.
My parents have been the most important mentors in my life. I can’t choose between the two because they worked together to make me who I am. They taught me the value of hard work, being responsible and accountable, and making an honest living.
Read more about this year’s 40 Under 40 Honorees.