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Firm Management

Justin Edenfield, 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.

Justin Edenfield 55f977e40f230

Justin Edenfield, CPA – 35

Director, Tax Services; Quality Control Coordinator, Tax Services
Thomas Howell Ferguson, P.A. CPAs
Tallahassee, FL

What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?     

True Professionalism by David A. Maister. Mr. Maister is a well-renowned author who has written several books on managing professional service firms. In True Professionalism, he discusses the outlook and priorities that every professional in the services industry should follow in order to be viewed internally and externally as a true professional. I would recommend that every individual with a career in a service firm read this book.
In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

As a Director, I provide tax compliance and consulting services for multiple entity types. My current responsibilities include coordination of the insurance tax compliance practice, as well as acting as the Quality Control Coordinator of Tax Services which I took over in 2013. In addition, I assist clients with planning issues including entity selection, distribution and dividend planning, review of controls, mergers, work-in-progress schedules, and various tax planning. Throughout my career, I have been involved with numerous IRS exam cases, representing taxpayers with the IRS Large Business and International division in Tallahassee and the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.

In 2013, I was selected to serve on the People Initiative Task Force, a committee that was initiated to improve THF’s employee retention, as well as the subcommittee that introduced a structured bonus plan for CPAs and CPA candidates within the firm. One of my passions is fostering the education of fellow CPAs, and I enjoy leading various CPE in-house training seminars each year. I have presented on such subjects as preparation of small business returns, income tax provisions for corporations, fixed asset training, and taxation of insurance companies to our Tax Services Department.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

In 2009, my fifth year with the firm, I was accepted as a member of the FICPA Federal Taxation Committee. I also served on the 2013 Legislative Tax Guide Committee and have been appointed Chairman of that committee for 2014 and 2015. The FICPA Legislative Tax Guide Committee is a subgroup of the Federal Taxation Committee. The Committee provides an excellent 45-page reference document to all Florida legislators, which assists legislators in preparing their various income tax returns as employees of the State of Florida.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

In 2009, I served as a loaned executive to the United Way of the Big Bend. The purpose of the loaned executive program is to have local professionals volunteer their time and experience for the purpose of helping the United Way raise money for their annual campaign. This commitment involved presentations and speaking engagements to numerous local businesses in the Leon County community and the surrounding area. It was a very rewarding experience. Not only did I learn a lot about the United Way and all the different services and programs they offer, but it gave me an opportunity to meet and learn about different businesses within our community. Because of this experience, I have been a United Way Leadership Giver for the past several years.

In 2011 and 2012, I served on the golf committee for the Suwannee River Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The golf committee’s responsibility was to coordinate an annual golf tournament that raised funds for scouting. During my second year on the committee, we helped increase participation in the tournament by more than 50 percent.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

I believe two current items will collide to provide opportunities for the current leaders of the profession to reshape how the profession moves forward. The first item is the transition of current firms to the second and third generation of leadership groups. The second item is the transition of the workforce to the younger generation. As these two items merge into the profession concurrently, I believe the profession will have to adjust the way work is performed. Markets and service areas will be altered by the increased implementation of technological advances and work-life balance will be altered due to the shift in the generational composition of the workforce.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

I have learned that the accounting profession is truly a people business, both internally and externally. As a CPA, you are only going to be as successful as the personal relationships you are able to build. Internally, the people you are able to assist with their personal and professional development are the foundation for being a successful leader in an accounting firm.

What is your career philosophy?

I practice the following philosophy on a daily basis: Always provide quality work and be prepared for the work you agree to undertake. Second, service the client. In the competitive business world, you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from your equally qualified competition. In order to do that, you have to be attentive to your client’s needs and be prepared to service those needs in a timely and professional manner. If you perform quality work and make sure to service your clients, the financial aspects of the profession will take care of themselves.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

The first shareholder I worked directly with had a huge influence on my professional development. I had the opportunity to work directly with this individual for the first 12 years of my career. He helped mold my philosophy of the accounting profession and showed me what is required in shifting from having a job to developing a successful career. His belief in me early on in my career helped me to develop confidence in myself and my skills and be successful in this profession.


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