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Celeste headshotCeleste Tabor '12 is audit manager at BKD, LLP. She is one of the Young Professionals on the Romain College Accounting Circle advisory board, which is made up of high-level accounting professionals from public accounting firms and from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Celeste has over five years of experience at BKD, LLP providing assurance services for manufacturing and distribution and not-for-profit clients, including colleges and universities. In addition, she serves on the Business Development Committee and Local Office Employee Engagement Council for the Evansville office. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Indiana CPA Society. Celeste is a 2012 magna cum laude graduate of USI with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

What is your connection to USI, and what makes USI and the Romain College of Business special to you?
I am a 2012 graduate of the USI Romain College of Business with a bachelor's degree in accounting. I cherished my time there as a student and thoroughly enjoy getting to visit campus on a regular basis through the Accounting Circle Young Professionals. There is always something new going on and a continued level of excitement on campus. USI and the College of Business are special to me because I feel like the environment created allowed me to explore countless opportunities personally and professionally to develop me into a dedicated member of our local business community.

From your prospective, what is unique about the Romain College of Business?
Buildings, classes, and homework are consistent no matter where you are. But the people in the Romain College of Business make all of the difference. I had countless mentors while I was a student who encouraged me to be involved and get out of my comfort zone. My professors and the members of the administration worked tirelessly to create and maintain the highest reputation level for the College and took a vested interest in my success inside and outside of the classroom.

Tell us about your career path in accounting.
I am an Audit Manager with BKD, LLP in Evansville. Through on-campus activities organized by members of the College of Business and Career Services, I met BKD early on in my college career and knew that was where I wanted to be. I worked hard to build connections over a couple of years and completed a full-time internship while in school. Upon graduation, I started full-time with BKD in the audit department and have not looked back. As I was at USI, I am blessed with mentors of every type here at BKD and am looking forward to continuing my path here.

What attributes make a person successful in the field of accounting?
To be successful in accounting, I think you have to have a commitment to lifelong learning, be proactive with your own career, and tell yourself that if you cannot control anything else in your day you can at least control your attitude.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were in college?
One thing I wish I knew in college was that employers really want you to show up on day one with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. In many ways, we truly feel that as long as you have a strong educational foundation (which you will receive at USI), we can teach you anything we need you to know. We want you to show up ready to be a positive part of the team and ready to work every day.

What advice would you give a recent college graduate?
Give it time. We see so many recent college graduates who put so much pressure on themselves from the beginning and while we appreciate the intention and desire to do well, we also want you to enjoy what you do. Find an employer where you feel like you will be given opportunities for challenges and growth.

What are some challenges you see the accounting field facing in the short-term and in the long-term?
Our most recent challenge has been decreases in the candidate pool. It is no secret that college and employment competition is stiff and we continue to see that through our recruitment processes. The good news is, there are still strong candidates, just not as many as we have seen in the past. The uncertainty of the political and governmental environment is always a potential challenge with changes in regulations and laws that impact our daily practice.

What is an average work day like for you?
What is an average work day? Ha! One thing I love about my job is that there is no such thing as an average work day! From week to week, my schedule will vary from being hectic and out at a client to being in the office and able to catch up on tasks I have on my to-do list. I love the variety in what I do as an auditor. For me, there is a great balance or pressured deadlines and the work in between, being out at a client and being in the office, and working with a team and projects that I am working on individually.

What is your favorite task or project at work? What is your least favorite?
One of my favorite things to do at work is really not work at all! I have the opportunity to be involved in various committees that help plan the fun, social events for our office and various business development sessions. I really enjoy working with other members of the committee to plan events that continue to build our professionals, but also reward them regularly for their hard work. My least favorite task is my timesheet! You would think I would want to get that thing filled out, but we tend to bounce between projects and things can get hard to keep track of if you don’t stay on top of it.

What are you passionate about?
So many things! I love that through my employer, I get to be involved in many things that I love. Having the opportunity to be a part of the USI Accounting Circle Young Professionals is the continued connection to the University, the Romain College of Business, the students, and the business community. I also enjoy being involved with recruitment, which is another great opportunity to connect with students from USI. As for other things: coffee, fall weather, sports, and traveling are my favorites.

They say that everyone has a book in them, what would yours be?
I think I might be too stereotypical of an accountant to have an interesting story. I will leave the books up to others.

If you could spend a day with any professional athlete, who would you choose?
Easy. Peyton Manning. And maybe he would invite Brad Paisley since they seem to be pals these days.

Published March 14, 2019