Career Conversations at PKF Texas - with Nicole Riley
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My name is Nicole Riley. I am a director in our audit department here at PKF Texas.
Why did you choose to be a CPA?
So actually the first accounting class I ever took was in high school, and for some reason I absolutely loved it. And that was the point where I started taking college accounting courses and had decided that I was going to be a CPA.
How did you find out about PKF Texas and why did you choose the firm?
I moved down to Texas just over six years ago, because my husband got transferred and the first thing I did was look at firms that were in the LEA Alliance down here because the firm's within St. Louis was also part of the alliance and I really liked that firm. It was the firm size, the values, the mission, the types of clients that we served. That was the niche that I really liked. I didn't want to go Big 4, I didn't want to go real small, so I really wanted to stay in that middle market sector, and especially with PKF being part of that alliance, some people have at the my prior firm actually even knew people here, so it was really an easy transition and it felt like just kind of moving from the St. Louis office to the Houston office.
What stood out about PKF Texas?
PKF has the values and the mission that I really admired. The goals of the firm and where they're going, the market that they serve and, as well as the work-life balance that they seem to have and that they advertised it and they talked about it. But even being here, it definitely is what they said it was, and that was really important to me when moving firms 'cause I have two kids, I have a family, we like to travel, we like to do things, and I work hard but we want to be able to have that time with my family as well. So it was really important for me to have a firm that would accommodate that.
What is your favorite PKF Texas perk?
The flexibility and the ability to.. You know, I came from a firm that actually required Saturdays during busy season, so being able to work later on a Saturday instead of Saturday morning or working Sundays all day instead of Saturday was really important to me, because my kids have basketball games on Saturday mornings or baseball, and I just don't want to miss that. So I wanted to have that flexibility to make sure I could kind of work around certain things.
Describe your typical work day.
I do not have a typical work day. Every day is different, and it's actually one of the things I love most about my job. One day I might be focused on one client and one team. The next day I have five calls with five different clients, about five different issues and have jumped into three different binders, plus a call with a banker. It's very different every day, and that variety really keeps it exciting and really enjoyable actually.
What energizes you about your job?
My client relationships, which has actually been very difficult with this COVID timing. You know, going out to clients, meeting with them, developing relationships, and being an advisor to them is one of the things I love about the job and really gets me excited 'cause they look to us for professionalism, for answers, for help with business decisions, and having that client contact and those client relationships is awesome and probably yeah, the part that really energizes me about my job.
What type of clients do you serve?
So I have two specific niches that I serve here PKF Texas. I help lead the non-profit niche here at the firm and serve a lot of non-profit clients. And I am also very big in our professional services area, which is broker-dealers, investment advisory firms, mutual funds. So those are my two main niches but also serve oil and gas services quite a bit and then manufacturing, kind of some other general clients.
What’s your most memorable experience at PKF Texas?
There's really no one memorable moment I guess. Overall I've had just a really enjoyable experience working for PKF. I've had great clients. I've developed good relationships within the firm, outside the firm. Everybody here at the firm is great and great to work for, so every day is kind of.. I mean, there's stressful days and then there's less stressful days. And of course the happy hours and the kickball? Those are fun days and kind of help break up the work days, but it's a... Every day is kind of a memorable day. There's no one specific memorable day.
Why have you chosen to stay at PKF Texas?
I think Texas is a great firm to work for. The values and the integrity of management here is beyond compare. We're always trying to do the right thing for our clients, for our employees. Having that work-life balance is so important. I'm new to the Director position, but I've seen the work-life balance in other directors, knowing that that is possible. The flexibility of public accounting has really kept me here, but the culture of PKF is why I've stayed at PKF specifically.
Describe PKF Texas’ culture.
PKF Texas culture is very much of a team atmosphere. We work together, especially in the audit group. We have an audit team on every engagement, so you get to work together, learn from other people and we don't have the same groups working together all the time. So you get to work with different Directors, different Managers, different Seniors, and get to know all of your co-workers. And there's also a lot of flexibility here and great opportunity. I started as a Manager and now a Director, so there's definitely a path for you if that's the direction that you want to go.
To learn more about careers at PKF Texas and apply to join the team, visit www.PKFTexas.com/Careers.