Frazier Deeter CPAs and Advisors

Atlanta

1230 Peachtree Street NE

Suite 1500

Atlanta, GA 30309

main 404.253.7500

Alpharetta

3480 Preston Ridge Road

Suite 375

Alpharetta, GA 30005

main 404.573.4200

Nashville

401 Commerce Street

Suite 920

Nashville, TN 37219

main 615.259.7600

Tampa

2801 W. Busch Boulevard

Tampa, FL 33618

813.874.1280

info@frazierdeeter.com

News

IPA Spotlight On … LeighAnn Costley, Frazier & Deeter

January 6, 2016 by

Name: LeighAnn Costley

Title: Partner

Firm Name: Frazier & Deeter

No. of offices: 4

No. of employees: 300+

Accomplishments: Leadership Atlanta class of 2013, Atlanta Business Chronicle “Up and Comers” award, Philanthropic Leader of Tomorrow award, Executive Women of Emory’s Goizueta School of Business “Guiding Star” award; Leader, Frazier & Deeter’s Women’s Business Leadership Initiative.

Tell me about a few of the initiatives that have made a difference on the growth of women-led businesses?

Frazier & Deeter’s Women’s Initiative just marked its fifth anniversary in 2015. One of the programs that is very popular is a series of panel events that feature women business owners and senior executives of large companies discussing topics like growing the business or leadership lessons they’ve learned.

We’ve found there is a tremendous positive response from women business owners. They are energized by hearing ideas for taking their business to a new level and making connections with people who can help them accelerate growth. The insight from other women, combined with the new business connections, is a powerful, meaningful combination.

Another high-impact initiative Frazier & Deeter has helped to grow is a three-day executive learning program designed for women entrepreneurs called LaunchPad2X. The three days cover a variety of topics that entrepreneurs need to understand – everything from entity structure to intellectual property law to working with investors. It’s a wonderful program that we teach in conjunction with an angel investment group. It’s especially exciting because the program has produced strong statistics about the economic impact of the participants’ companies.

Why do you think it’s so important for your firm to support and nurture women-owned businesses?

Women-owned businesses are an important part of the growth of the U.S. economy. Our offices are in states with especially high rates for growth of women-led businesses and we feel that helping those businesses grow will have a positive impact on the economy. Statistics about small businesses show that although more women than men are starting businesses, women-led businesses are less likely to reach the $1 million mark. If we can help more of them surpass that milestone, and then surpass the $10 million mark, it will create jobs and have an impact on the economy. Of course, it’s also great for Frazier & Deeter because we will have a very strong relationship as business advisors with the company’s founder.

Frazier & Deeter has also been recognized as a top firm for women CPAs. Which leadership qualities best ensure success in public accounting and how can women develop those skills?

I think success in building a book of business is largely built on soft skills of connecting with people on a personal level, listening to their needs and then bringing them financial insight. Women have all these qualities.

Within the firm, women need to remember to take the time to participate in activities that will raise their visibility both inside the firm and in the community. This can be a challenge, especially if you have family obligations, but it can be done.

Of course one of the obvious moves a woman can make is to join a firm with a track record of nurturing female partners. If the firm doesn’t offer flexibility that would help you advance, maybe you should find a firm that does.

Advice for new CPAs joining the profession?

Be involved. Don’t fall into the trap of being “heads down” so much that you aren’t making connections in the community. Remember also that it takes years to build your reputation and nurture relationships; don’t wait until you are on the precipice of making partner and expected to generate revenue to begin that process.

Final thoughts?

Public accounting provides a fabulous platform for a unique and varied career – you can be a generalist or a specialist, a deep technical expert or a rainmaker, you can advise individuals or Fortune 500 companies, you can “off-ramp” if you choose to have children and “lean in” whenever you choose. Most of us initially chose this career because we liked numbers, but it’s the relationships you build with clients and colleagues that keep us here.

Contacts

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Frazier & Deeter, a Top 100 Largest CPA Firm in the United States, has accountants and business advisors who offer a full range of assurance and advisory services in the areas of audit, tax and management consulting and personal tax planning and compliance. As a leading accounting firm, we serve clients across the nation and internationally that include closely-held companies, SEC companies, and nonprofit entities. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, we have been recognized as the 56th largest accounting firm in the nation, as one of the Top 25 Best Managed CPA firms in the country, and one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for in the U.S.
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