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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Day in the Life: Tax Senior Associate

Interview with Shaun Cuthbert
Tax Senior Associate
Tacoma, WA
by LoriAnn Boyer, Sr. Talent Acquisition

Shaun Cuthbert, CPA
As a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for McGladrey, it’s my job to share with prospective hires what life at McGladrey is like. I’m sure candidates must think “She’s just saying that life at McGladrey is so amazing because she wants to hire me.” Yes, I want to hire you; however, if you’re serious about a career in public accounting, who better to get to know than our employees! I recently sat down with Shaun Cuthbert, Tax Senior Associate in our Tacoma office. Here’s what he had to say about his career with McGladrey.

How did you first come to be a tax professional with McGladrey?

After separating from the Army (I served as a Combat Medic in A Co., 2/3 Infantry from 2001-2007), I began my career with McGladrey in Internal Client Services as a receptionist/ backup production processor. Through exposure to tax returns, I became curious about the profession itself, and expressed interest in exploring it further. The partners and directors in the tax department were very supportive, and gave me the opportunity to do some basic data input into ProSystem. The powers that be must have seen some potential, as they increased the difficulty and complexity of the work they were giving me to do, and decreased my admin workload to accommodate the tax work. I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree with a Business Admin minor in order to satisfy the requirements needed to sit for the CPA exam (I had well over 100 semester hours from previous schooling) so that I could make official my decision to pursue a career in accounting. And here I am - now a CPA and a Tax Senior Associate in the Tacoma, WA office.

Which tax group do you work in?

I am in the Family Wealth Services/High Net Worth group, so I prepare a lot of 1040s, 1041s, 709s, and 1065s.

What is a typical “Day in Life” at McGladrey like?

My day normally starts with my rolling out of bed after a second or third slap of the snooze button on my alarm clock. After my showering, ironing my shirt and getting my gym bag together, I usually head down to the kitchen to make my morning smoothie, which I try to enjoy as I look over my days upcoming activities and appointments via my firm issued iPad.

Once I get to the office, my morning routine usually consists of firing up my computer, putting my lunch in the fridge if I didn’t forget it at home (which happens more often than I care to admit, but gives me a great excuse to eat at the awesome Thai restaurant down the street), and grabbing my first cup of coffee for the day.

I try to organize my workload for the day so that I self-review returns the morning after I prepare them. This lets me see them while I am fresh, separated a little bit from the prep. During my late mornings/early afternoons I try to clear review points I have received, or review returns I am scheduled to review. Afternoons are usually new/continuing prep work. 

Lunch time varies – depending on whether I remembered my lunch or not. A decent sized group of us frequently have lunch together, with an open invite to anyone else who would care to join us; and others frequently do. Thursdays are especially good days for lunch during the spring and summer as there is an open-air farmer’s market two blocks away that is always bursting with great food, trinkets, and locally grown fruits and vegetables (as well as fresh, locally grown, beautiful flowers to earn some brownie points at home, too!).

I am the Northwest Tax Process & Technology Program Lead, and a Navigator to a new staff person, so my days tend to be filled with more admin time and meetings than is typically normal, but I enjoy the additional tasks. I field a number of client phone calls during the course of a normal day, from requesting information, to answering questions about current year returns, to helping identify potential future planning opportunities and issues.

How does your day typically end?

My days ends with a coworker and I attending a gym to engage in some high-intensity interval-training. My drive home is usually fairly quick (albeit a bit sweaty) as I miss most of rush hour because of the gym.

What do you like about the variety of work you do?

My days are so different it’s difficult to really describe a typical one, which is really what keeps the job itself fresh and interesting. No day is the same, and each presents its own unique challenges. And I must say, my military training has really come in handy for those late-night nerf-gun battles that may or may not randomly break out during busy season :-)

If you’d like to work alongside of people like Shaun then be sure to join our Talent Community and review our job openings at Join The McGladrey Talent Community.  

We currently have the following openings in our Washington state offices.
Tax Senior Associate
Senior/Supervisor Accountant w/CPA or EA
SALT Director
Consulting Senior Associate - Risk Advisory
Assurance Supervisor - Commercial
Assurance Senior Associate - Commercial

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