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Knoel Kambak, Meicher CPAs

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Knoel Kambak, audit manager, Meicher CPAs.

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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most challenging aspect of my job is managing the workflow from clients. For those who do not work in public accounting, it may come as a shock that some clients do not always provide requested documents or information when they say they will. Or the information provided may not meet your needs. I’ll schedule out the coming months of client projects I am responsible for, but in reality that schedule goes through many adjustments as the weeks pass. The key is in effectively dealing with the little hiccups in workflow so that they do not snowball into a giant mess. The reward is in successfully managing that workflow, through lower stress in the day-to-day aspects of my job, and the positive feedback from clients in meeting (or exceeding) their expectations.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Bill James, baseball writer and statistician. I have been an avid sports fan nearly all my life and someone who really enjoys analyzing numbers. The rise of sabermetrics was a perfect complement to those interests, and something that broadened my perspective [about] success or failure. Bill’s work was focused in baseball, but the underlying ideas incorporated in sabermetrics have applications in many areas outside of sports. Additionally, Bill being a baseball outsider (someone who was not a professional player, manager, etc.) was an added bonus. I’m sure many of us, myself included, have had new ideas receive resistance because one does not have the traditionally accepted background or experience. Never dismiss an idea just because of who proposed it; rather, dismiss an idea if you can provide adequate reasoning for why it would fail.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

It is a reoccurring moment over the years, but the high point for me is when you win over a client who doubts what you can do for them. The first instance of this I always go back to was when I was just over two years into my public accounting career and I was put in charge of a large audit engagement due to the in-charge person leaving the firm and me being the most experienced staff person with the client. I was in charge of four staff and spent a few weeks leading the team through completion of the audit. After the firm had issued the audit report the partner on the engagement took me aside and told me that during planning discussions the client was pushing to have someone else with more experience in charge of the audit. The partner had to persuade the client to give me the opportunity and ultimately the client was very happy with how the audit went and I stayed in charge on that client’s audit in subsequent years.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Stay at my undergraduate school longer. I was an undergrad at UNLV when I was 21, so present day me would really push the idea of sticking around campus longer. Go after some master’s degrees or a PhD, if needed. Las Vegas is not the worst place to have to spend your 20s. Embrace the ability to wake up at noon on weekdays without repercussion. There is no rush in getting into the workforce. Actually, I’d pass that advice on after giving myself some really solid stock tips since present day me has the benefit of knowing how things played out in the markets years beyond when I was 21.

(Continued)

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