Decision Maker for Feb. 24: Jen Flinchum

New position: tax practice leader at Keiter, a locally owned CPA firm in Henrico County.

Previous position: tax partner, Keiter.

Birthplace: Yorktown

Education: master’s degree, Virginia Commonwealth University; bachelor’s degree, the College of William and Mary.

Career: “I joined the audit practice of Coopers & Lybrand LLP after graduation from William and Mary. I was chosen to do a rotation through the tax department during my first busy season and realized how much I enjoyed the interaction with not only the businesses, but also the personal interaction with the executives and owners. I then joined the tax department on a full-time basis and went back to school for my master’s of taxation.”

Best career move: “My move to Keiter in 1999, as it allowed me to focus on privately held businesses and their owners. My interaction with clients is no longer limited to tax planning and compliance, but extends often into general business and family matters.”

Career goals: “Help Keiter grow! In my new position, I am focused on identifying talented professionals and then enhancing their personal and professional development so that Keiter can innovatively serve not only our existing clients, but to also attract new clients.”

The best advice she ever received: “Give it your all every day, and make sure you learn something along the way.”

The most difficult situation faced on the job: “Deciding to take risks with staff. Often you come across an exceptional tax professional, even when you don’t have a specific need, and making the decision to hire can be tough.”

Career tip for students: “Take advantage of the various opportunities offered to you by making all of the connections you can. Connections can include professors, other students, internship opportunities, volunteer organizations, social activities and even family friends. The more connections you make, the more you will learn and the more doors that will open for you.”

What motivates her? Improvement. Watching our staff grow and develop is the most rewarding. Often this can be the most challenging part of my day, but it always brings the most satisfaction when you see improvement in action.

Role model: “My parents, Bill and Bunnie Fernald, taught me that hard work and effort will pay off. I learned to take initiative and not wait to be asked if something needed to be done, “just get in there and do it.”

Family: husband, Chris; daughter, Madison

Pastimes: “Time with my family, including watching my daughter, Madison, play softball – “Go, Lady Titans!” – family golf and walking our dog, Birdie.”

The most memorable book: “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. “I read it along with my daughter for her summer reading. Its message to look beyond appearances and always include those who may differ from you struck me that it didn’t just apply to middle school, but throughout life.”

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