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Firm Management

Lucas Matesa, CPA – 2015 40 Under 40 Honoree

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees are among the best and brightest talent in the accounting profession. They are all active in the professional community, as well as in their local communities, where many are small business owners and employers.

Lucas Matesa 55f98390cdb7e

Lucas Matesa, CPA – 37

Partner, CohnReznick
Baltimore, MD


What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. I read this book when I was just starting my career and I really had no idea how to navigate the professional environment. I am very driven by leading others and helping them achieve their full potential. I came to realize that this was not just about professional relationship building but building personal relationships as well, and it’s important to understand how to adjust interactions and communication styles depending on the audience or individual.

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
I believe I have taken an active, leadership role in people development. As a professional service firm the most important assets we have are our people, so great bench strength and talent development are key to the growth and success of the firm. I have both lead and participated in various committees in my office, and on a national level, to enhance the career development of our staff. I am currently our office leader of the Leadership
Development Program, a firm-wide moderator and partner participant of the Affordable Housing Emerging Leaders program, and office champion for our CohnReznick Reality Check, which is tasked with identifying and addressing opportunity for firm-wide cultural advancements.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?
The biggest impact I have is within the interactions I have with my clients. Being in the public accounting industry I can impact many clients by being a technical resource and providing sound advice on accounting and business issues significant to their respective industries. Often I will provide training seminars on recent account pronouncements and technical issues, specifically in the real estate and affordable housing industries. I have spoken on reporting requirements on the HUD loan closing process, and have participated in developing and providing training to HUD staff, broadcast nationally to HUD’s field offices. I am viewed as a resource and advisor to my clients, and the information I provide can have a significant impact on business decisions and reporting to investors, lenders, and the general public in some cases.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
It’s incredibly important to me, and our firm, to give back to the local community. I am currently devoting my time as a board member and finance committee member at Project PLASE, a nonprofit organization which provides essential housing and support services to homeless citizens in Baltimore, City. I also spend much of my personal time volunteering as a soccer coach at my local community recreational council. As a parent shaping young minds and impacting our youth in a positive manner is something that I am very passionate about.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
I think changes in technology, our ability to adapt to new technology and to effectively integrate new technology will continue to be a significant influence in the accounting profession. The development of new accounting systems, cloud computing, and the ability to work remotely have significantly changed how we do our work and how we interact with our clients. As many of us have experienced, technology is both an asset
and liability because it can create significant efficiencies in completing work, yet it can’t replace the personal relationships that must exist between a client and their professional service provider.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
I see myself having a significant impact through continued active involvement in firm initiatives and being a leader in developing the next generation of talent. The audit and accounting profession continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace, and there are a number accounting changes under consideration that will have an impact on many industries. Currently, we are working on an initiative to improve efficiencies in our audit and accounting practice. This will have a significant impact in our ability as a firm to be flexible and nimble in providing sound advice to our clients, while continuing to stay ahead of any changes in auditing and accounting standards. The public accounting industry can be fast paced, and I am very driven in helping others be successful. I believe creating a talent-rich environment is incredibly important to client and staff retention.
We need to constantly be developing our next generation of leaders, and be ready as partners retire to fill the gap in knowledge and leadership.

What is your career philosophy?
My career philosophy has always been to work hard, and take advantage of every opportunity provided. I think so many things can be overcome through a good work ethic, and I believe things we often perceive as challenges are, in many cases, really just opportunities. Work hard, always tackle challenges head on, and be true to yourself and your beliefs.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.
I would have to say the people most important, and significant, in shaping my life has to be my parents. They provided the foundation for hard work, good judgment, and an


See all of the “40 Under 40” honorees for 2015.