10 Questions With...

July 30, 2012

What brought you to KS&R?

I was looking for a better work-life balance. I spent the first 8 years of my career in public accounting, on the audit side. I loved going from client to client, meeting new people and the work I did. After I started a family the travel got to be a little more difficult to handle, so I took a job with one of my clients. That was a great experience, but as the auto industry hit rough times and I was working 6 or 7 days a week, it was time for another change. Believe it or not - KS&R allows me to do the work I enjoy and spend the time I want with my family.

What personality trait is key to your success?

I take things in stride; I roll with the punches. I can have my work day perfectly planned, and inevitably someone calls, e-mails, or stops by with "I need this now!" or "I have a problem - help"! I think of all the resources I have, and the best, most efficient manner to resolve the issue or complete the task at hand. It's that ability to step back, look at the big picture, and then piece it all together that I really wish I could carry over into my personal life!

What would your advice be to those looking to get into accounting as a career?

Start out in public accounting. Even if you know that is not what you want to do the rest of your life, start there. The diversity of industries that you will work with will provide valuable experience for any future job.

If you could trade places with anyone for a week, who would that be?

As hectic as my life is, I wouldn't want to trade it for anything. Ask me next week when both kids are back from overnight camp/trips and I may have a different answer!

What would surprise most people to learn about you?

I think people would be surprised at what I do to unwind after a hectic day. I have a second degree black belt in Karate. For me, there is nothing better than going to class and sparring or doing self defense to ease the tension. I can also spar with my kids - Bryan, 17, is a third degree black belt who can kick my butt and his 12 year old brother Sean is also a second degree black belt (who beat me last week in sparring for the first time). Sparring in the kitchen is a common event in the Merrill household!

What is unique about KS&R as a company to work for?

We are a professional services provider, so meeting clients' needs can often be demanding. But KS&R provides employees with the flexibility to adapt their work schedules in order also meet family needs -- something many employers don't offer. I see more and more staff signed out during the workday to attend their children's school events or fieldtrips.

What is your favorite website (other than ksrinc.com)?

Syracuse.com. It is how I try to stay on top of what is going on in the world. After that, it would have to be Facebook so I can keep in touch with family and friends who I don't see often.

What noise or sound do you love?

The sounds of the crickets and bull frogs at night. We have a camp north of Syracuse and I get my best sleep on those nights, with the windows open and the sound of night outside. Very relaxing! It's also nice to sit by the fire, listening.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Vacations! Every year, my husband, two boys and I go to Cape Cod with my parents (and also my brother's and sister's families, if they can make it). Not that I am resistant to change, but I have been visiting the Cape every summer for 25 years. We also spend a week each year in Florida, visiting my husband's nephew and his family.

Hindsight is 20/20. What is it that you wish you had known?

More "recognized" than "known": I wish that I had recognized sooner that life really is too short. I have lost a couple of close friends in the past few years and it made me realize that you have to live each day to its fullest. I am a worrier - and I am really trying to work on letting the small things go. I am getting better at letting the laundry pile up as I sit back and spend a night with the family watching movies. I missed out on a lot when my kids were younger because of work and over-committing myself. I want to be one of those people who say, "I am glad I did" -- not one who says, "I wish I had".