Nicole Gralapp, SVA Certified Public Accountants

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Nicole Gralapp, CPA, CExP, SVA Certified Public Accountants.

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

The most challenging part is the variety of clients I work with and being able to provide customized solutions to meet their needs. I know my job will never be routine because my clients are continuously challenging me and that is the best feeling. The challenges are what also produce the best rewards. The most rewarding part of my job is helping my clients and staff achieve and exceed their goals. I love being part of a team and helping others succeed.

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

It sounds a little cliché, but honestly my parents have shown me what it takes to be successful in business. My mom is a successful insurance agent and has taught me the importance of client service. She has also taught me how to be a good employee and a successful leader. My dad owned and operated a family farm when I was growing up. The farm was sold and he went back to school. He drove all the way from southwest Wisconsin to Madison for college classes while raising a family. He then became his own boss and grew his business. It is powerful watching someone starting a new career and growing a business. He made me realize that anything worth having must be earned. He also taught me that work isn’t always 8 to 5 and I admire his entrepreneurial spirit. I attribute the lofty goals that I have and my aspirations to be successful in business to watching my parents.

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

My lifelong dream since I was in high school was to be a shareholder in a public accounting firm and I did it! I am one of the youngest principals at SVA Certified Public Accountants and was named one of In Business’ 40 Under 40. I lead the exit planning/transition planning service line for our company and recently earned my certified exit planner (CExP) certificate. As baby boomers retire, there will be a huge number of business owners looking to transition out of their business and I’m excited at the prospect of working with them to create the transition plan that best suits their needs. I’m working on my next dream because I have a long career to go!

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

My advice to myself would be to not compare yourself to others at the same level as you throughout your career. Everyone takes different paths and has different motivators. Focus on your own motivators and have lofty goals and you will succeed. However, don’t think it’s just going to happen; you need to work hard for it.



What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The best part about living in Dane County is that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Have you ever traveled on the back roads? Sometimes I stop and remind myself of the beauty we have so close to home that we take for granted.

The best part about working in Dane County is how great it is for businesses. I often get to see different business owners working together toward a common goal and continuously supporting each other.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

Did you ever have anyone who asked for the gift that is virtually impossible to get? A child that asked for the hottest toy that year? I strive for those challenges and thus far have always pulled through!

What are your guilty pleasures?

At the end of a long work week I love nothing more than hanging out on the deck during the summer with some good oldies and a cold cocktail while the kids play in the backyard.

I also like to decorate for Christmas before (sometimes well before) Thanksgiving. Our neighbors think we are crazy! I just read an article that people who decorate early for Christmas are happier, so when they say we’re crazy we inform them we’re just happy.

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