A Winning Combination: Elliott, Robinson & Co. and Breech Alumni
Employing Drury University accounting students with graduation dates from 1985 to 2015 has proved to be a winning combination for both the students and Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP, Certified Public Accountants, headquartered in Springfield, Missouri.
Managing Partner Robert (Bob) J. Helm, CPA, explains, “The fact that we are now well into the second generation of the firm and continue to be very successful is a huge achievement as a locally owned business. With that comes excellent growth and opportunities for the staff to advance within our firm. The caliber of accounting students coming out of Drury University continues to fall right in line with the firm’s growth and new service lines to meet the expanding needs of existing and new clients.”
Almost 42 years of service to Springfield and the surrounding communities says a lot for the history and accomplishments of Elliott, Robinson & Company.
Bob adds, “Through the leadership at Elliott Robinson, the firm’s competitive advantage is our employees – our greatest asset.”
Breech School of Business Accounting Graduates on Staff
- P, Michael Pruett, CPA/ABV, CVA – Partner; 1985 Drury graduate
- Amanda Kastler, CPA, CFE – Partner, 2003 Drury graduate
- Carrie Brown, CPA – Supervisor, 2007 Drury graduate, 2008 MBA graduate
- Laura Knese, CPA – Senior Accountant, 2010 Drury graduate
- Angelie Morano, CPA – Senior Accountant, 2011 Drury graduate
- Kyrie Stewart, CPA – Senior Accountant, 2011 Drury graduate
- Mia Young – Staff Accountant, May 2015 Drury graduate
- Marissa Brown – Staff Accountant, May 2015 Drury graduate
New Building & Larger Staff
After 41 wonderful years in the same location, the firm officially moved to its new 14,287 square foot building on November 21, 2014. The $3 million ecofriendly stand alone building located in the TerraGreen Office Park, 2305 S. Blackman Road, Ste. D., includes roughly 50 offices and 4 conference rooms – the largest of which, appropriately called "The Great Hall", can hold up to 64 people and is available for community groups to use as meeting space for board meetings and such. Internally, the firm welcomed 14 new staff members for the 2015 tax season of which included four Drury students. The existing staff members have been instrumental in the transition of training the new staff in the Elliott Robinson way while maintaining the highest quality of product and timely service.
Inside Perspective from Drury Interns
Intern responsibilities at Elliott Robinson include developing and applying technical skills in accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation while gaining an understanding of company-u2010wide programs and processes. The firm recently hired the following Breech School of Business accounting students:
Mia M. Young was hired September 2, 2014 as an intern. Mia graduated in May of 2015 and will start full-time as a Staff Accountant in September. At Drury, she was recently awarded Junior of the Year for Breech.
Business School and a member of the Pi Beta Phi Alumni Club. Mia came on board during the exciting transition of preparing for the big move, “When I first started in September, I floated among 5 different offices because we had already ran out of space. It was kind of like ‘Where’s Waldo’ but it was ‘Where’s Mia.’ I was so excited to move into the new building because I finally had my own office, which is even more exciting since I’m an intern. I love the new building and I’m so proud to be a part of this team!”
Marissa L. Brown was hired January 5, 2015 as an intern and graduated in May of 2015. Marissa received the Breech School of Business Achievement Award at the Senior Awards Dinner. Her Criminology minor will complement her areas of interest including audit, fraud and forensic accounting. Marissa’s minor and interests will also align her with 2004 Breech Graduate and Elliott Robinson Partner, Amanda Kastler, who leads the Internal Controls services for the firm. Marissa immediately jumped into her first tax season upon her hire date with great passion, “My first tax season at Elliott Robinson has been nothing short of amazing. I was really nervous when I first started because I had never done taxes before, but my coworkers at Elliott Robinson made the transition very easy. They were always willing to answer my million questions, and helped me in any way possible. I may not be a tax pro yet, but I can definitely say I’ve learned more than I could have imagined in my short time here. I’ve had the opportunity to help with payroll taxes, as well as individual, corporate, and homeowners association annual returns.”
First Female Partner & 2014 Most Influential Woman
Amanda J. Kastler, CPA, CFE, earned a degree in Accounting with minors in Criminology, Business Administration, and Global Studies from Drury University. Upon graduating in December 2003, she started with Elliott, Robinson & Company as a junior accountant. After 10 years with the firm and moving up through the ranks as she discovered her niche, Amanda became the first female partner in the firm’s 40-u2010year history on January 1, 2014. She now shares her experience by mentoring and training staff and also serves on the Breech School of Business Week Advisory Committee. Amanda shares these words of advice on capitalizing opportunities, “First, make the most of your abilities by going above and beyond what is expected of you in order to position yourself for success. This could include not only completing what is asked of you with precise measure but also gaining additional expertise or qualifications that would be beneficial to your marketability and to the firm. Second, learn from the top ranks by paying attention to the behavior of the people in the jobs to which you aspire. And last, take calculated risks by stepping up to volunteer for responsibilities such as serving on committees that are outside your comfort zone or take the initiative to create new opportunities. All these steps show leadership potential, confidence, being a team player, and raises your visibility.”
Amanda is a leader in Elliott Robinson’s mentor program to help staff members become future company and community leaders. She leads by example by being the founder of her firm’s Ladies Actively Seeking Opportunities series where women on staff discuss topics relevant to working women. Amanda also is active with local organizations that assist women, including the Women’s Initiative, which focuses on helping professional women achieve career success; and the Female Leaders in Philanthropy, an initiative of the United Way of the Ozarks that encourages women to become involved in issues that affect women, children and families. Amanda serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors at Harmony House, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence; and is a board member at Diaper Bank of the Ozarks, established to keep babies healthy and happy by providing access to diapers for families in need and through education concerning alternative diapering options that promote health and financial responsibility. Among awards, Amanda was recognized by the Springfield Business Journal as a 2014 Most Influential Woman and is a graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 30, the premiere program for leadership development in the Ozarks affiliated with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
Relationship Builder & 2015 40 Under 40 Honoree
Carrie C. Brown, CPA, began her career at Elliott Robinson in January 2012 as a Senior Accountant, and was promoted to Supervisor in January of 2014. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Drury in August of 2007, and a Master of Business Administration from Drury University in May of 2008. Carrie places a high value in cultivating relationships from taking care of clients, mentoring staff to engaging in the community. Active in the community, Carrie is a board member for the Foundation of Springfield Public Schools, member of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, Ozarks Counseling Center Young Ambassadors, Junior League of Springfield, and current President of the Drury Alumni Council. The Springfield Business Journal recently honored Carrie as a 40 Under 40 Class of 2015 for her personal accomplishments in civic and professional arenas under the age of 40.
Carrie summarizes the firm’s mentoring program and partnership with Drury, “We have an internal mentoring program that is very important for our staff. Every staff member, no matter what level they are at, has a mentor. I have the privilege of serving as a mentor for Marissa. Having met with her during the recruiting process and now getting to serve as her mentor has been very rewarding. Seeing other’s succeed is one of the best parts of my job. The Drury curriculum, as well as professors, prepares us for the “real world” better than I ever realized. I was given the tools to be successful and the support of the University and the Professors has been crucial to my career path. I would encourage students to network as much as possible. You never know when you will meet someone who could offer you great career advice.”
About Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP: Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP, Certified Public Accountants was established in 1973, with the purpose of providing quality services to family-u2010owned businesses. Our mission is to be our clients' most trusted business advisor. Our core services include accounting and tax services for businesses and individuals, audit services, and specialized services including business valuations, tax credits, and forensic accounting. We are proud of the way we have impacted the quality of life of the families and businesses we serve in Southwest Missouri with headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and a branch location in Nixa, Missouri. For additional information, visit www.ercpa.com.