New Principal Spotlight: Get to Know Jennifer Tobias

CPAs & Advisors

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Jennifer Tobias, CPA, along with Marisa Ahrens, CPA, Michael Evrard, CPA, and Jessica Rolfe, CPA, was promoted to principal effective January 1, 2022.

Jennifer Tobias leads the firm’s Construction Services Group, is co-leader of the Death Care Services Group and is a member of the Agribusiness Services Group. She joined Yeo & Yeo in 2006 and is based in the firm’s Kalamazoo office. Her areas of expertise include construction and agribusiness taxation and credits, as well as preparing Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act annual reports. In the community, Jennifer serves as the Barry County Small Animal Sale Committee treasurer and 4-H Advisory Council co-treasurer. She is a graduate of the Upstream Academy’s three-year leadership development program, the Emerging Leaders Academy.

Let’s learn more about Jen and the path that has shaped her rewarding career.

When did you know you wanted to be a CPA, and why did you gravitate toward this profession? 

I am very fortunate that I found my calling in high school. As we learned debits and credits and worked through t-charts and problems, I could clearly see the answers and solve the puzzles, and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

I began college at Central Michigan University determined to graduate with an accounting and finance degree. In college, I learned more about the CPA path and how I could make accounting my career. While most people who hear you’re a CPA say, “You must be good with numbers,” that is such a small fraction of what we do. Yes, the numbers have to tell a story that we can understand and interpret, but you have to enjoy problem-solving, hard work and research to be a CPA too.

You have been active in 4-H. What have you taken away from that experience, and how has it helped develop your ability to serve clients?

My 4-H experience started at the age of 10 when my parents asked if I would be interested in showing lambs. My first year was a whirlwind of learning about the program and interacting with people and animals. I learned many lifelong lessons from the 4-H program and spent 10 years showing a variety of animals and crafts. 

I served several volunteer roles in my clubs and county as a teen volunteer. I was able to work alongside countless volunteers in every role. Each taught me valuable lessons, and I think 4-H is one of the best programs that kids can join. I learned all about responsibility, hard work, leadership, organization, competition, confidence and how to juggle a million things in a short time the week before a fair. I’ve used all these skills throughout my career. Coming into a tax deadline is not that different from preparing for a fair. You have to juggle several moving parts to ensure that everything gets completed timely.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

People! I enjoy my clients and co-workers. I love all the opportunities to help clients – being a resource for them to rely on when they have an issue that needs to be addressed or watching the understanding come to them as you train them on something. Being a part of that is truly rewarding. Having discussions on their goals and learning how their business works are some of the best days. Being a part of a team is rewarding and, in this career, you always need a team! Late nights during tax season are some of the best times at the office. There is a general sense of teamwork moving toward the goal and a lot of silliness and jokes! 

Technology is shifting and evolving in the accounting profession. How do you think technology has changed or improved your interactions?

When I started with Yeo & Yeo, we were in the initial stages of going paperless. Now, we have client documents and information a few clicks away to help us answer questions on the phone versus going through file cabinets to find information. We also have the ability to remote onto a client’s computer during a phone call so we can quickly walk through a process and help solve issues. This has helped us to rapidly provide answers and solutions to clients.

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