While she won’t admit to being the “live wire” of the group, Jessica has an insatiably magnetic personality, making her a great point of contact for Lawhorn CPA’s clients. When interfacing with clients and helping solve their business problems, Jessica Seyler has an amazing personality which puts even the most discerning customers at ease. Watching Jessica work, you can really tell that she cares immensely for the well-being of Lawhorn’s clients. We sat down with Jessica to find out more about her and what drives her passion for excellence. Here’s the interview.
How long have you worked for Lawhorn CPA?
“I started back in February of 2016. I work remotely from Raleigh, NC and get to come to Knoxville and visit with everybody four to six times over the course of the year. I also have family here, so getting to travel for business is a win-win for me. ”
“When I’m in our Knoxville office, I set up meetings with Lawhorn clients and am pretty much in meetings the entire time I am here, assessing different client needs. In our client meetings, we discuss aspects of the client’s finances and resolve issues that can’t be done over the phone.”
What did you do before you worked at Lawhorn CPA?
“I was in the construction industry for eighteen years. I didn’t swing a hammer initially but am pretty handy when I need to be. ”
“I used to work for a small construction company doing project management overseeing budgets, costs, etc. One day, they needed someone to do bookkeeping, so I stepped up and did both jobs concurrently. I did bookkeeping and project management, primarily with commercial construction, although we did some residential work as well.”
What is it like to be a Virtual Financial Officer (VFO) for Lawhorn CPA?
“It’s simple, but it’s not easy. You keep track of what individuals are spending and how they are spending it, and depending on what their business costs are, you need to categorize the expenditure properly. For example, if your company spends money at Lowe’s: was it for repairs or was it office equipment? You need to keep track of all costs and then go through at the end of the month and at the end of the year and see where you spent all your money. As a bookkeeper, we make sure that the books “balance. ”
So everyone in business needs a bookkeeper/Virtual Financial Officer?
“Yeah, pretty much. It’s like needing an accountant: it’s something you got to have.”
What do you like best about working at Lawhorn? What’s your least favorite?
“The people, number one. We have a lot of fun working here, and the clients are great, too. I have a lot of fun with everyone and it’s also a diverse group as well. The environment here isn’t your stereotypical monotonous, uptight group of accountants.”
“Least favorite? Deadlines can be quite stressful; especially in September and October when the extensions are over, and taxes are due. Clients can sometimes worry a lot during this time, so it adds to the tension.”
So, you live in Raleigh you said?
“Yes. I was born and raised there and have family there as well. I love the area. It’s a good central location that’s only 2 hours from the mountains or the beach.”
What do you do in your free time, when you’re not helping clients?
“I love getting out and seeing live music. Recently saw the Naughty Knots here in Knoxville and Black Berry Smoke at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh. I’m also a big fan of craft beer and love that there are so many new places to try in Knoxville. Raleigh has an amazing community of craft brewers as well.”
“I own a home in Raleigh, so yard work keeps me fairly busy. I have one dog named Kylo, and I also foster dogs for a local group. So, I have fostered 9 dogs and helped them have a happy home while waiting for someone to adopt them. I got into fostering when Kylo’s mom was deployed to Afghanistan since she is a service dog for the armed forces. I didn’t want him to be lonely, so I thought fostering would be a great way to add other dogs into his life. Since I have two and sometimes three dogs at home, there’s typically not a dull moment.”
And you’re part of the Lawhorn family?
“Yes, by marriage. Jeff Lawhorn is married to my Aunt Donna, so he’s my uncle. ”
What do your other family members who don’t work at Lawhorn do?
“Well, we have another uncle who works as a CPA. My mom’s a pre-school teacher, and I have 3 brothers, two are in construction and one is a CPA. We are all pretty much numbers and construction people.”
As far as the industry goes, how do you keep up with everything?
“I’m sitting for my NACPB Certified Bookkeeper certification right now, so that helps me stay in line with best practices. I still get the chance to read articles about bookkeeping on LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, and other social media sites to stay abreast of new developments. Also, we have Tricia at Lawhorn who keeps everyone up to date on what’s going on in the industry and ensures everyone is in tune with changes in tax law.”
Do tax laws change often?
“This year was an exception, but usually tax and bookkeeping laws don’t change very much. You may get a little tweak here or there on any given year, but usually, it’s not difficult to stay up to date with what’s going on.”
As far as bookkeeping work goes, is it a good position to be in?
“I think it’s a good industry because of the stability. You’re always going to have new clients and new work. Someone’s always going to be dissolving a business, while at the same time, someone else is forming a new company. I have two new clients to set up this week alone.”
How’s the studying for your certification going?
“Not bad so far, I’m about halfway through with the study material. It’s hard to study when you work from home because I don’t have an off switch, so I work later than normal. The dogs remind me to feed them in the afternoons, so that’s generally my queue to call it a night. I’m excited about the gaining the license so I get the chance to prove to myself that I know what I’m doing. I taught myself to become a bookkeeper and just want to make sure I am doing things for our clients in the most efficient manner possible.”
What type of companies do you work with?
“We have a highly varied pool of clients. Just to give you an idea, I am currently working for a real estate company, construction, moving company, beef jerky company, and even sports training companies.”
Anything else you want to include?
“I just want to continue keeping clients happy. I try to help where I can, like coming in for tax deadlines to help make calls and getting forms signed by clients so that other staff members get freed up to do other things.”
Why would a business want to hire Lawhorn CPA for tax strategy or preparation?
“Customer service; hands down. All the Lawhorn CPA employees are willing to work with you. It’s a great, client relations-driven atmosphere at Lawhorn. Customers seem to want to stay because they have developed these great relationships with everyone they work with here. Virtual Financial Officers/bookkeepers at Lawhorn have a different relationship with the clients than other employees. It’s almost like we are an extension of their business because we work so closely with them.”
At Lawhorn CPA Group, we value our staff members. Our team members work diligently to ensure our customers’ needs are met. If you’ve been looking for an accounting firm with a great staff that’s willing to work hard for you then contact us today–online HERE or via phone at 865-212-4867.