Having an impact on the community: I graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. I was good at math and majored in accounting and finance. When I graduated, I wanted to go into business. As a senior tax manager at HoganTaylor in Oklahoma City, I focus on high-net-worth individuals and nonprofit organizations. Working with tax-exempt organizations in our community gives me a lot of joy. I enjoy learning the stories behind these organizations and the impact they are making in our city.
In 2018, my husband, Ryan, and I started a bicycle touring business called Ride OKC because our favorite way to see a new city is by bike. It’s a quick way to explore parts of the city in a short time and provides a more immersive experience than touring by bus tour or car. We are now in our fourth year, which is pretty exciting. In both aspects of my career, my pleasure comes from interacting with people. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being a CPA is that we prefer sitting behind a computer, working alone. I enjoy my co-workers and my clients, both in accounting and at Ride OKC.
Starting a business requires passion: I have a passion for both accounting and cycling. Ride OKC is a great outlet, and working in both areas provides balance. At Ride OKC, we hire tour guides to lead most of the tours. My husband, who is a self-employed architect, does our advertising and social media and leads some of our tours. I handle the business side. We’ve set up automated processes to make Ride OKC run almost seamlessly — from scheduling social media to setting up technology systems that feed data into QuickBooks. We also keep an inventory of bikes and add to our fleet as needed. The bikes use belts instead of chains and come with puncture-resistant tires to minimize day-to-day maintenance.
Owning and running my own business positively impacts my career as a CPA because it helps me understand the ins and outs of being a small business owner. The skills and insights I’ve acquired and the problems I have help me relate to my clients because I understand what their world looks like.
Striking a balance is challenging: Ride OKC started as a small side hustle. When we launched, we didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it. But we’ve adjusted and now that my husband is self-employed, he has more time to spend on the business. Also, I work a 90% schedule at my firm, and that helps, too, especially now that we have a 2-year-old son. The most challenging aspect of my dual career is juggling the details of my company and the needs of my accounting firm clients, while making sure my family has time to spend together doing the other things we love.
Favorite food: Mexican — specifically tacos.
Favorite music: A little of everything — my favorite artist is Taylor Swift.
Favorite travel destinations: My two favorites right now are Tuscany and Mexico City.
Favorite place to ride your bicycle: In my neighborhood. We have a little seat for my baby, and we ride bicycles to breakfast on the weekends.
— As told to Teri Saylor, a freelance writer based in North Carolina. To comment on this article or to suggest another subject for Last Word, contact Courtney Vien at Courtney.Vien@aicpa-cima.com.