In the latest segment of our series Path to Partner, we had the privilege of engaging with one of our newer partners Daniel Novak. He is a dynamic professional whose journey to partnership reflects a commitment to continuous learning and a passion for unraveling the complexities of ever-changing tax laws. Daniel is a dedicated advocate for knowledge expansion and a firm believer in the transformative power of understanding. He enjoys translating the seemingly daunting into comprehensible insights for clients. For him, the challenge lies not only in navigating through the intricacies of tax laws but also in guiding clients through life events, facilitating strategic planning, and ultimately empowering them to make well-informed business decisions.
Tell us your story and how you decided on a career in accounting.
I believe there are sayings about how life happens when you’re making other plans. I chose accounting as a concentration a week before classes were to start my junior year of undergrad and I can’t say I put too much thought into it. Prior to graduation, I was able to land a job offer with a Big 4 firm after attending a career fair and the rest is history. I’m sure glad it worked out and I love what I do.
How did education play a role in your career success?
Education is incredibly important and continued learning and general curiosity are key to success. When I started in public accounting, I immediately started on my CPA exam and Master of Taxation. I knew I didn’t want to slow down and that both would only help me progress.
Was becoming a partner always a goal for you? Did you have a strategy for becoming a partner? If yes, what was it?
Becoming a partner wasn’t always a goal for me. Earlier in my career I thought I would end up in a family office, running my own solo practice, or maybe an internal role. When I was working for the Big 4 firm I didn’t see myself working long term at such a large organization. I wanted to work somewhere where I was more connected with our clients. Luckily, I found B+Co and working here with our amazing partner group did change my goals.
What advice would you give others who are entering the field with the intention of being a partner one day?
Never stop learning and always be curious.
What are some of your bigger challenges in your position and how do you meet them?
Particularly in the last few years there have been significant changes to tax law, so it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. I’ve found that our firm is incredibly proactive at learning about changing tax laws even before they are signed. This has proved invaluable to our clients, especially during the pandemic with Paycheck Protection Program loans, Employer Retention Credits, and all the uncertainty in the economy.
There are some truly busy work months in accounting. What is it that drives or motivates you during these challenging times and how do you motivate and support your team?
For me, it’s always been a simple answer: Embrace the seasonality and take advantage of the slow times. In the past year, I’ve been on 5 continents and in 9 countries, so I’d say travel is a significant motivator for me.
What brings you the most satisfaction when working with your clients?
It’s the impact on people. That’s why I always knew I wanted to work with small businesses, families, and individuals. Taking something incredibly complex and helping our clients understand and make thoughtful well informed business decisions, navigate life events, and really plan strategically is challenging and a lot of fun.
What do you think is the next evolution in Public Accounting? How do you prepare for it?
Automation will definitely be the next evolution. Right now, it’s like any technological leap in that we need to constantly evaluate products and solutions so that we stay perhaps not cutting edge, but ahead of the curve.
Let’s get a little personal. What are some things you enjoy outside of work that bring your life balance?
Travel most definitely, but I also like working on and driving older cars (my newest car is 22 years old). Something about fixing a mechanical problem as compared to working on computers all the time is enjoyable. Although sometimes I question my sanity after a bolt snaps and a 20-minute job turns into an all-day affair.
What is life like at Bregante + Company LLP? What do you enjoy most about the firm?
It’s the people and our clients. At B+Co we really focus on a quality product and proactive strategic planning with our clients. Internally we have a great group of people and put on some fun events.
What has been the proudest moment on your path to Partner?
Building a referral network and getting that first client referral. The CPA industry is a relationship business and one where we don’t advertise. The way the business grows is through referrals from existing clients, or other professionals that we team with like financial advisors, attorneys, etc. So building those strong relationships and delivering quality work that evolves into prospective client referrals is quite rewarding.
How do you find purpose in your work?
It’s the value that we provide to our clients and earning their trust to become their advisor. Without an accounting and tax background, the complexity of our work can be daunting. Taking something complex and breaking it down to help your client make informed decisions is very rewarding.