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Day in the Life: Zach Richards, CPA, CFE


Sep 23, 2020

Zach Richards, CPA, CFE

Director – DWD CPAs & Advisors


6 A.M.: Wake up. I usually take a few minutes to check my phone for any late-night emails and the Cubs score.

6:30 A.M.: Time to wake up the kids. I help them get dressed for their day and get some breakfast.  While they eat their breakfast, I finish getting ready for my day.

7:15 A.M.: Today is my day to drop off the boys at school. They started back at school in-person in mid-August. Things are certainly different with masks and various protocols, but I am glad to see them get back to a normal routine. It is nice to have a few minutes in the car with the boys to talk about their upcoming school day and make sure they have the right mindset for the day.

8 A.M.: I get into the office, get my laptop turned on and grab my coffee while my laptop starts up. Then I check my inbox for any emails I can quickly respond to and put together a list of tasks I want to focus on today. I was one of the first people to return to our office during the pandemic. I love my kids, but they weren’t exactly the best co-workers when I was working from home. Our office is currently operating at about 50 percent capacity and providing any tools necessary for individuals to have the flexibility to work from home.

8:30 A.M.: Our Employee Benefit Plans Group manages about 25 audits throughout the summer.  With the extended tax deadline this summer and moving to remote auditing, it was a unique summer for our practice. I have a couple of audits that are on my desk for review, so I get through those engagements and follow up with the team to address questions from my review.
"Prior to this tax season, we implemented Microsoft Teams to improve communication and collaboration. We were lucky to have implemented this software when we did, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work remotely."
10:30 A.M.: I am the chair of our firm’s Innovation Committee, and today we are meeting to review some of our recent projects. Prior to this tax season, we implemented Microsoft Teams to improve communication and collaboration. We were lucky to have implemented this software when we did, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work remotely. Our transition to remote work was seamless, but we have some tweaks to make to our current processes and procedures.

NOON: Time for lunch. Today, I have a lunch meeting with the chair of a new committee I recently joined for the local Building Contractors Association. I am on the Economic Development Committee, so we get caught up on some upcoming projects in the area for the construction industry.

1:15 P.M.: Back to the office. After catching up on a couple emails from the morning, I have to get ready for a Zoom meeting with a client. When the CARES Act was signed into law in March, our firm had many clients looking for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The firm designated me as the lucky person to be the firm specialist on all accounting/tax matters related to COVID-19, so I’ve been trying to stay up to speed on the CARES Act (primarily the PPP) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

1:30 P.M.: The client joins me for our Zoom meeting. Since March, our firm has started using Zoom to maintain client contact. We go over the client’s payroll costs during the covered period of their Paycheck Protection Program loan, calculations on the full-time equivalents and recent guidance on loan forgiveness applications.

 

2 P.M.: Time to prep for this afternoon’s webinar. In May, I hosted a webinar for our clients to review the loan application process for the PPP. Now that our clients are well into the covered period of their loan, we now host webinars to go over the loan forgiveness applications and look at pending legislation surrounding the program. With new guidance coming out from the Small Business Administration and Treasury, I check to see if I need to make any last-minute changes to my presentation.

3 P.M.: The webinar kicks off via Zoom. Today’s webinar has over 160 individuals registered, and I am pleased our firm can assist clients work through the craziness of these loans. The webinar runs smoothly, and we address a handful of questions that clients submit during the webinar.

4 P.M.: Once the webinar is over, I send out an email to everyone who registered for the presentation. I provide them with a copy of the slides as well as a link to our website with a recording of the webinar in case anyone was unable to attend.

5 P.M.: Time to head home for the day. I strive to make work/life balance a priority outside of tax season, so my goal is to be home by 5:30 p.m. most evenings.

Zach Richards Boys Outside After Work

5:20 P.M.:
I arrive at home to the usual scene. As long as the weather is decent, my three sons are almost always outside playing. Today, my 6-year-old is riding his electric dirt bike, the 4-year-old is riding his “wiggle car” and the 1-year-old is trying to throw a basketball in the street.  It is nice to get home and see my wife and boys after a busy day. We usually spend a little time outside to let the boys burn off some energy. It is crazy how they can go non-stop all day! After spending about 40 minutes in the driveway trying to keep the basketball out of the street, we head in for dinner.

6 P.M.: With three young boys, you can probably imagine that dinner is not the most relaxing time of day. My wife has made her signature spaghetti and garlic bread. While we’re eating dinner, the boys catch us up on the exciting things happening in kindergarten and preschool.

7 P.M.: Time to give the boys baths and get them ready for bed. Once we put the youngest to bed, we have time to play a game with the older two. Tonight, they have picked Candyland. After a long battle, the 4-year-old wins tonight’s game and I come in last place … again.

8:30 P.M.: The two older boys go to bed. My wife and I tuck them in and help them say their prayers.  They fall asleep pretty quickly now that school is back in session. The school day really wears them out mentally.

9 P.M.: My wife and I have a few minutes to relax and talk about our day. The Cubs are playing tonight so we watch the game for a bit.

9:30 P.M.: I check my phone for any important emails that may have come through this evening. I also have the Microsoft Teams app on my phone, so I check to see if I have any messages. One of my team members is working from home this evening and has a quick question on a workpaper for an audit we are wrapping up, so I respond to his question so we can keep the process moving along.

10 P.M.: I try to watch the end of the Cubs game, but I am starting to fade. I finally give in and turn off the TV and head to bed. Time to get some rest and do it all again tomorrow—but wouldn’t want it any other way! 

About Me

NAME: Zach Richards, CPA, CFE

JOB TITLE: 
Director

COMPANY:
DWD CPAs & Advisors

COMPANY SIZE:
67

JOB DESCRIPTION:
I am a director in the Fort Wayne office of DWD CPAs & Advisors. I provide assurance, tax and consulting services for clients in a variety of industries, as well as audits of employee benefit plans.

PREVIOUS POSITIONS: Senior Associate at BKD; Staff Accountant at Dauby, O’Connor & Zaleski
 
ALMA MATER:
Ball State University

INCPAS INVOLVEMENT: 2020–21 INCPAS Innovation Award Winner
 
AICPA INVOLVEMENT: Member of the AICPA Peer Review Program

When I'm Not at Work

Zach Richards FamilyFAMILY: Wife – Amy; Kids – Jacob (6), Jordan (4) and Joey (1)

PETS: Dog – Macy

HOBBIES:
Golf, kids’ sporting events, relaxing weekends at the lake with family, Notre Dame football, Chicago Cubs baseball

OTHER MEMBERSHIPS/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

Member of Finance Committee for A Mother’s Hope; Member of Economic Development Committee for Building Contractors Association of Northeast Indiana; Member of Editorial Advisory Board for Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly


Advice for Students Considering the Profession/Becoming a CPA

Becoming a CPA opens so many opportunities and is a great accomplishment. Be sure to complete the CPA Exam sooner rather than later, as it can get harder the longer you wait.

Advice for Young Pros Wanting to Advance in the Profession

Be a champion of change. The rate at which technology is changing the profession is fast. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the pace has grown exponentially. Be the person in your firm or company who drives innovation. What do you have to lose? And what is the alternative?


Do you think a day in your life would make a good addition to our series? Contact Katie Kirkton at kkirkton@incpas.org to find out how you can share your story.