Caleb Bullock, CPA
Senior Manager – Somerset CPAs and Advisors
Indiana CPA-PAC Chairman
Past Chair – AICPA Young Leaders Alliance
How has COVID-19 impacted your role?
The shift from face-to-face to remote networking, conferences and meetings has certainly caused a pivot from how we usually operate. As a CPA representing a firm that prides itself in taking our relationships very seriously, remote meetings have required us to be creative and deliberate on how we provide service to our clients, interact with our business partners and work together. I’m proud to be part of a firm that embraces challenges and sees opportunity where others see problems. But, I’ll be looking forward to getting back to client locations in the (hopefully) near future.
CPAs have had to quickly adapt to new technology as many are working from home right now. What’s your favorite app/technology and why?
Slack has been a lifesaver from a communication standpoint. I serve on a few committees/boards whose members live all across the country. It would be easy to lose sight of our collective goal or experience communication issues. Luckily, Slack has helped me keep it all organized!
What is the best thing you’ve read recently?
My wife and I started reading together (as opposed to our normal routine of watching TV before bed) and recently finished “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I also read to my kids each night and we recently finished “Treasure Island”
by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’m a big fan of reading fiction, as reading about the musings of Scout Finch and the adventures of Jim Hawkins is a great contrast to the seriousness of my normal day-to-day.
Why did you decide to become a CPA?
I was largely influenced by my dad, who worked in business. He encouraged me to explore accounting when I was a freshman in college at Indiana Wesleyan University. As did my accounting mentor, IWU business professor Kent Williams, CPA, CGMA, who is also an INCPAS member. Funnily enough, I strongly considered dropping accounting my freshman year until Prof. Williams talked me out of it. I often wonder where I would be if he had not taken such an active interest in my future (which would have been easy to do with so many other mentees). I’ll never forget walking back to my dorm, feeling mildly frustrated that he was making it so hard for me to give up on accounting. To me, he will always be the perfect example of what a mentor and professor should be.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The relationships. I love the people I work for and with (Somerset has a collection of some of the smartest, most creative and entrepreneurial CPAs I’ve had the pleasure to know), the clients I serve and the community in which I work and live. I can only think of a few other professions that are so greatly dependent on the effectiveness of your relationships and the trust that follows.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the profession?
Control the things you can control. In other words, be on time; be presentable; get to know as many people as you can (be a serial networker); soak up as much information as possible (a good rule of thumb for your entire career); take responsibility for your mistakes; and be picky about who you surround yourself with. If you master these few things, I guarantee you’ll be successful.
How do you unwind after a busy day? Any hobbies?
I’m an avid chess player. I try to play a few games a night and have found it’s a great way to unplug. It’s also an exceptional brain teaser that helps me to stay sharp (or sharper than I would be, otherwise). The beauty of chess is that anyone can play and it’s just as easy to beat yourself as it is to be beaten by your opponent. I’ve lost to players ranked 500 points lower than me by losing focus for a few seconds. It’s an awesome hobby to pick up if you find yourself short on free time as a game can take as little as five minutes.
I also love to play golf. I don’t play as much as I’d like and am plagued with an inability to break 80, but it’s a great sport I jump at the chance to play when the opportunity arises.
You’re very involved in your community. What organizations are you active in, and why is it important to you to be involved in them?
I’m an active member of the Penrod Society (supporting the arts community in Indy for more than 50 years), a member of the finance committee at the O’Connor House (providing food, shelter, clothing and transportation for soon-to-be moms in need) and a board member of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (one of the top performing orchestras in the country—my completely unbiased opinion).
Community involvement is incredibly important and a great way to network while giving back to the community. This might be obvious, but the key to finding the right opportunity is to volunteer with an organization with which you closely align. You might be surprised at how deflating it can be to volunteer with an organization you don’t get fired up about.
Tell us about your family!
I’m very blessed to have an incredible family. Great siblings, great parents and perhaps the most unique blessing of all, great in-laws! I’ve been married to my wife Chelsie for almost 12 years, and we have three awesome kids (Nora, age 7; Josie, age 3; and Cal, 5 months). While parenting can be challenging at times, seeing them at the end of each day is usually the best part of my day.