Byron Patrick, CPA, CITP, laughs now about his reason for majoring in accounting.
Simplified Innovations Inc.
Byron Patrick, CPA, CITP, laughs now about his reason for majoring in accounting. “I picked accounting because I thought that I’d have a straightforward career path. I figured that I could just go and be a ‘standard accountant’ instead of trying to figure out what to do with a degree in economics.”
Byron had no idea how many doors would open after he became a CPA.
He started as a staff accountant at a small firm that was going through a technology upgrade. As the “young guy in the office who understood computers”, Byron was the go-to guy when it came to the changes. By the time he left the firm, he was running the technology department.
But Byron loves accounting, so he took a job as an auditor at a larger firm to get back to his roots. Within a year, technology caught up with him again as he was promoted to the director of IT for his new firm.
Byron realized that he was meant to stay in technology and in public accounting, so he earned the CITP designation to show he was serious about both. And then he started his own business that married his two passions; helping other CPAs to understand and fully utilize accounting technology.
Earning both the CPA and CITP designations gives him enhanced credibility in gaining clients. “The CITP is a symbol that I as a CPA have a strong understanding of technology. It’s a stamp of approval and a formal recognition that I understand technology as it applies to accounting.”
His unexpected entrepreneurial career isn’t the only door that has opened for Byron. Because of the influence of a fantastic mentor, Byron got involved right away with the Maryland Association of CPA’s and the American Institute of CPA’s. “My involvement in the AICPA and my state society have helped me to build a nationwide network of incredible CPAs. The mentoring I receive in these organizations is so critical and the opportunities I’ve gotten out of my involvement wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
In addition to building his network, Byron gets to speak about technology to CPAs all over the country. He has also been able to practice his leadership skills while he helped create the MACPA young members’ network and develop the Maryland Young CPA leadership program. And he’s going to be MACPA president in 2013 to keep building on his leadership prowess. “The opportunities I’ve gotten from involvement with MACPA and AICPA are huge. They have helped me gain the leadership skills to create a successful business.”
Even though Byron didn’t plan to have a career in accounting technology, he shared some words of wisdom for students who have an interest in the field. “If you’re excited about both tech and accounting, you can follow a formal technology track in college. You might even get a degree in both fields.”
And after college? “I’d recommend working as a staff accountant to get some public accounting experience before jumping into technology. If you’re early in your career and enjoy technology, there are a lot of opportunities with technology audits.”
8am: Starting the Day
Because I typically work late performing technical maintenance, I tend to try to get some extra sleep in the morning. My day always starts with coffee - hot in the winter and iced in the summer.
Depending on traffic, my morning commute is about an hour each day.
10am: Getting Oriented in the Office
I start my day in the office by checking in with the team. I look for any issues or questions that need my attention, assign projects that I came up with overnight, and generally get situated for the day.
11am: Daily Duties
My work day bounces between assisting with general support to our clients and performing administrative duties in between my meetings. My daily tasks are never the same.
Usually my business partner and I grab lunch together. We talk about how all of our clients are doing and how we want to grow our business. Talking strategy is best over lunch.
2pm: Meeting with Prospective Client
This afternoon, I have a meeting with a prospective client. I outline the services that I provide and make sure that I can meet their needs before we reach a business agreement. A few of the things my business provides is a secure data center so that businesses can get to their information remotely (using “the cloud”) and technical expertise in technology as used by CPAs.
4pm: Conference Call
This afternoon, I have a conference call with AICPA’s Information Technology Executive Committee. I’ve learned a lot about technology through my involvement and I’ve even been able to speak at conferences all over the country.
5pm: Wrapping Up
Before I leave the office, I compile a list of the things that I need to take care of outside of business hours (like system maintenance and updates).
6pm: Heading Home
On my drive home, I usually listen to music and decompress from the day.
7pm: Family Time
Most days I leave the office and jump right into activities with my daughters. Both are avid and busy athletes, so there are practices and games filling the evenings no matter what the season.
9pm: Starting the Nightly Tasks
Usually I jump online from home sometime after 10PM and begin working on the tasks I accumulated for off-hours maintenance, like updating software. This sort of thing isn’t typical for a CITP, but it’s one of the services that I offer to my clients.