Alicia Greer, Berndt CPA
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Alicia Greer, CPA, senior manager, Berndt CPA.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
My role with Berndt CPA allows me to take an active role in my clients’ businesses. I am an integral part of the creation and maintenance of a business owner’s accounting system and processes. This role alone is challenging and rewarding in many ways. Our work gives us the opportunity to work with many types of clients in all kinds of industries. The initial work — the assistance with the setup of an accounting system — can be very challenging. I have limited time to learn as much as I can about the way this client will do business and I then help them create the system that will ease their accounting struggles. This is also extremely rewarding! I get to see clients realize successes and efficiencies every day because of the system we’ve helped put in place. It is also rewarding because I am constantly brainstorming ways to help in many other various aspects of my clients’ businesses like taxes (of course!), staffing, cash flow, inventory management, and many other areas.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
There are so many people doing great things out there that I really have a variety of answers. I’ll pick a person some might consider unusual because I think it’s always interesting to hear about people you wouldn’t normally. Mike Matheny is someone I greatly admire. For those of you who don’t know, Matheny started his Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is currently the St. Louis Cardinals manager, after many earlier years of catching with the team. In his book, The Matheny Manifesto, Matheny talks about his darkest times — a series of career-ending injuries after several great years with the Cardinals. He was in the worst place he’d ever been. During those times, he relied on a team of advisors — some of these advisors were baseball acquaintances, some great business people, and a spiritual advisor. Matheny knew he couldn’t get through that time without some help. What resulted was a stronger-than-ever belief in himself and the strength and courage to make his life mean something again. Recognizing when you need help is an important step in your career. Having the courage to ask for it is yet another. Building a team around you that takes all of you to the next level is the best way to build your business. Matheny ended up with one of the greatest jobs in baseball because he built that team.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
It may be lackluster, but my high point is today, and it just keeps getting better! I get to work with a team of talented, smart, dedicated, and loyal people. The work we do supports entrepreneurs in such an important way by taking over their financial data management so they can pursue their passions. My work allows me to be an advisor and an educator, and I couldn’t imagine a better or more rewarding combination.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I would have so many things to tell my 21-year-old self! First, one of my favorite quotes today is from Teddy Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s hard for many, myself included, to remember this. Spending precious energy looking at what others have and where others are only puts limits on what you can do. I’d also tell myself to be a better listener earlier in my life. You have the chance to learn and grow with every encounter you have, every day, and every minute. Don’t miss out because you aren’t listening!
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
We have an abundance of activities — there’s always something to do, both professionally and personally! Our talent pool in the professional arena is outstanding and our thriving business community offers so many opportunities for up-and-coming talent to reach and exceed their potential.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I’m a pretty open book so I’m not sure I have many surprises. Probably my best-kept secret is my musical talent. It’s not something I’ve had lots of chances to keep up on lately because my focus has been on my career, family, and building relationships. Earlier in life, I was a fairly decent pianist and hand bell player, and average at clarinet and voice. I suppose it’s like riding a bike and I do have my eye out for a good used piano.
What are your guilty pleasures?
My biggest guilty pleasure currently is bowling! It’s fun, it’s a great stress reliever, and it can be completely social or isolated depending on your mood. My husband and I often visit alleys on vacation. It’s probably not what most people think of when they take a trip, but we like to see what how the sport varies from location to location. We went three separate times on a recent trip to St. Louis and learned that it’s very popular on a weekend summer night in that area and that the approaches [up to the lane] are very short compared to what we’re used to. It was an adjustment for sure! Looking forward to visiting an alley in Denver this year, even if some might find that traveling “just to bowl” is a bit indulgent!
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