TOP NOTCH TROOPS
Amy Plant, Jeff Robison, Stephanie Swetland and Christina Ives are just some of the players that make up Shilts’ group of professionals. There’s also Emma, Steve and Nicole. Each is a key component in driving results for their clients and each of these talented professionals brings a unique set of skillsets. Perhaps most importantly, they share the same vision and enthusiasm as their leader.
Robison, who is a forensic and valuation associate with the firm, worked as a paralegal while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration and appreciates Shilts’ desire to build an impactful and cohesive team.
“Josh has a knack for spotting real talent,” he says. “Everyone here at Shilts CPA came from different backgrounds, so we all bring something different to the table when we are working on cases. Josh stresses for us all to work together on all of our cases, so as to make sure our clients are receiving the absolutely best services possible.”
Ives, who originally began working with Shilts on a remote/telecommute basis after the birth of her second child, now serves as the firm’s director of Tax & Accounting and principal.
“The way we work together and the various backgrounds we bring to the table I think makes us unique,” she says. “The ability to work remotely and with each other regardless of our ‘levels’ is definitely something that sets us apart. No one is afraid to roll up their sleeves and/or contribute to the project. Questions are asked, answered and brainstorming is appreciated. Maybe most importantly, Josh is a hard worker who jumps right in, he’s not just an owner.”
As a senior member of the team and an enrolled agent, Swetland also serves as the company’s Quickbook’s ProAdvisor. With an associate degree in accounting, she is currently working continuing her education in order to earn her CPA. She also seems to agree with both of her colleagues. “We are more like an extended family than co-workers. We are a very cohesive unit and that makes us great,” she says. “No matter what time of the day or night we are available to each other for brainstorming, teaching, and talking through things. We are very collaborative and teaching orientated.”
Plant has been with the firm the longest, coming on board with Shilts in March of 2016. Currently she handles all facets of firm administrative management including human resources, payroll, IT, finance, accounting, operations, customer service, and policy/procedure for two office locations. She is also a member of the National Associate of Certified Public Bookkeepers and a notary public with the State of Florida.
Having a ringside seat to the evolution of Shilts CPA, Plant had her own reasons for wishing to join the team. “When I transitioned from non-profit to public accounting, I was looking to work with a dynamic leader in an up-and-coming firm. Since I joined the Shilts CPA team, our firm has grown exponentially each year and it’s all thanks to Josh, his experience and expertise, his tireless work ethic, and the fantastic team of professionals he has built around him.
“Josh is very charismatic, and the culture of our office is very professional, but fun,” she adds. “We enjoy working with each other, learning together, laughing and eating together!”
Having camaraderie and a cohesive work environment is great, but what about the services they provide? Here too the group that comprises Shilts CPA excels. Whether it’s tax and accounting work, financial advising or the intensive and detailed world of forensic and valuation, this team brings it all.
“We offer traditional tax and accounting services, but what really makes us special is our Forensic & Valuation Services (FVS),” says Plant. “Josh and our FVS professionals are experienced in complex legal matters and can help clients navigate through trying times. This is proven experience providing expert analysis, reports and testimony.”
“One of our main goals for our clients, at least on the forensic and valuation side, is for them to think of us as an investment, and for them to get a good return on that investment,” adds Robison. “In the Family Law side of things, a client may believe that a spouse is hiding money, but not be sure, and so we are hired to perform an initial investigation into a few accounts to see if we find anything. If not, then that client will have peace of mind, but if so, then we will be able to meet with that person, let them know what we have found, and whether it would be wise for that client to spend additional monies for further investigation. We are 100 percent honest with clients from the beginning in order to make sure they are not spending thousands of dollars on us to find out where a few hundred dollars were spent by their spouse.”
Because everyone on the team brings unique and varied talents, the team of Shilts CPA is able to over a broader and more comprehensive array of services. According to Ives this means being able to better address every client’s needs.
“FVS does a little bit of everything,” she explains. “We do litigation support, business valuation, damage loss claims, calculation of interest and a multitude of consulting arrangements. I enjoy my work largely because of the diverse projects we have the opportunity to work on. It’s always interesting and always mentally stimulating.”
Now four years strong, the vision that Josh Shilts had has not only become reality, but in fact, has even exceeded his expectations. With a group of professionals with who he carefully handpicked, Shilts continues to grow and improve.
“There was no promise of a paycheck going into this and I had a family and employees to provide for,” he says. “It was a wonderful accomplishment to be able to provide for my family and my staff. Even though we have been in business a short time, we have gained recognition in the marketplace. It is extremely gratifying to get recognition from peers.”
Shilts CPA continues to grow by servicing clients throughout the Southeast United States, with a new emphasis on South Florida, in particular. Complex financial litigation is an area Shilts and his team have developed impressive skills and as the economy in Florida grows, they view their skill sets as necessary in providing clients with the service they need.
“I was given the ‘push’ I needed and started my own practice,” he says. “I was scared; there was no promise of a paycheck. The first few months was me just trying to pay the bills. I invested everything back into the business and continue to do so today. You need to go out and accomplish your goals. Don’t wait for someone else to recognize your achievements. It is your responsibility.”
In addition, the firm is continuing its growth as a thought leader by reaching out to academia and other think tanks to enhance the guidelines financial experts work within.