During high school she took summer jobs working with accountants, and the rest, as they say, is history, even if it is a relatively brief.
Bradley-Anderson is now a tax manager and senior tax consultant at Stockman Kast Ryan & Co., where she specializes in real estate. She works with home builders, developers, condo and townhome planners.
She graduated from St. John’s College in Belize, and was one of 200 recipients of the Walton International Scholarship, established by the Wal-Mart family. The scholarship allows students in Central America and Mexico the opportunity to study in the United States. Bradley-Anderson earned her accounting degree when she graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark., in 1995.
Why did you become an accountant? How did you choose SKR as the place you wanted to work?
As soon as I took my first job in accounting, I was intrigued by the puzzle of putting together a business’s financial information and then by reading the story that those financials told about a business and its owners. On career day, we had a CPA come by and give us a lecture about working in public accounting — I asked him for a summer job and was hooked. The sad truth is that I’ve only worked in public accounting — I’ve never had a “cool” summer job. As a developing nation, Belize doesn’t have the same financial infrastructure and resources that the United States does. One summer when I was 17, I took a flight on a little Cessna into the interior of Belize to help clients with their accounting questions. It was great at that young age to be able to use my skills to help someone’s business. Debits and credits are a sort of universal business language that tells a story no matter the type of business or even the country in which it is located.
I finished my accounting degree at the University of the Ozarks and my husband and I moved to Colorado Springs. I specifically chose to go into tax accounting because it is an exciting and dynamic field, both pro-client and pro-active. Because we have continual contact with our clients, we develop relationships that allow us to serve as business advisors and not simply tax preparers. As a tax accountant, I’m in the position to help clients structure their transactions in the most tax efficient manner from the beginning of the deal. That is exciting. And yes, I am a tax geek — but I don’t wear a green visor.
I chose Stockman Kast Ryan and Company, and have remained for almost 14 years, because of the great people — co-workers and clients. While SKRCO is a locally owned firm, we have the breadth and depth of technical experience to handle even the most complex issues. As a firm, SKRCO places a premium on training and updating its professional staff. We also understand the importance of family and community involvement and how essential those are to being a whole person.
What are some of the particular challenges of your field?
A big challenge for a tax adviser is keeping up with the tax law changes. Whenever a new law goes into effect, we need to learn those rules. But, we also need to keep up with court cases and IRS pronouncements. This is definitely a profession where you have to be constantly learning and updating your technical skills. The biggest challenge is translating and applying that knowledge to a client’s particular situation and being their tax advocate while complying with the law.
As business advisers, we are in constant contact with other professionals — attorneys, bankers, financial planners, insurance agents etc. We are problem solvers who find pain points and use our resources to treat and cure financial aliments.
How has your job changed since you’ve been an accountant and tax manager?
I’ve seen a great deal of change in both the firm and profession. To survive you must embrace change and progress. Technology advances have a tremendous impact on our business and our efficiency. For example, the shift to a paperless tax preparation environment created savings in terms of time and space. Part of my job is to ensure that every person in the tax department has both the technology and tax technical skills to perform their job effectively. SKRCO has made a conscious decision to invest in employee training and that pays huge dividends in the quality of our work and our people.
Do you think Colorado Springs is a welcoming environment for young professionals?
I became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2009. As both an immigrant and a young professional, this community has been tremendously welcoming. SKRCO emphasizes community involvement and building relationships; so, finding my place here in the Springs has been fairly easy. Sometimes showing up with a smile is all it takes to make a new contact.
What advice do you have to other young professionals who might just be getting started in your field?
Embrace every opportunity you can to learn. Ours is a technical profession, so those skills are a given. But, most importantly, you need to know how to take care of the people behind the numbers.
Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”