Leadership BRC panel to interns: ‘Never stop learning’ 

Tim Hooks and Jill Clark, long-time CPAs at BRC, spoke to summer interns about the importance of lifelong learning in a profession in which the rules change constantly. Their presentation was one of a series of discussions by BRC staff aimed at helping college interns – mostly rising juniors and seniors – better understand the public accounting profession. 

Changes in the Tax Code, which accelerated with pandemic relief and historically pick up whenever the political majority turns over in Washington, DC, are one reason public accountants can never stop learning. Likewise, major court decisions can have dramatic tax consequences for clients.   

“I enjoy sitting at the computer reading tax law,” says Clark, who is Director of Tax Quality Assurance at BRC, a position that allows her to research the implications of Code changes and then advise the rest of the firm.   

Sometimes, reading the tax legislation or the FAQ on the IRS website won’t give you a clear answer about how to apply new provisions, but in some cases, it’s the “best we’ve got,” says Clark. In those situations, she uses what resources are available, consults with others as to how they interpret the tax law and then makes an informed decision, documenting “everything we do, and why we do what we do.” 

Hooks, a Partner and Tax Practice leader, says he prefers tax guidance that is black and white, but has learned over 20 years to get comfortable in a “grey zone.” Technology, too, requires CPAs to be agile on the job. As the IRS demands increasingly more detailed information, advancements in technology, including AI, offer potential relief from mundane tasks. So it’s important to stay up to date with new applications that can make reporting faster and easier, he says.  

“You’re going to be learning all the time,” Hooks told the interns. “You should be a lifelong learner in any profession because you never know where life will take you.” 

Kim Ripberger updated cropped 473 x 315

Kimberly Jessup Ripberger CPA, Chief People Officer, Assurance Partner

Kimberly is an assurance partner at BRC with more than 21 years in public accounting.  Her previous experience included working in Industry in process improvement and project management.  She works primarily with clients involved in the governmental, nonprofit and affordable housing industries, including tax credit properties, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and […]

This is the first in a series of articles summarizing weekly presentations by BRC professionals to 14 summer interns. The selected students, representing eight colleges across North Carolina, will meet for 10 weeks in the Greensboro office learning about BRC operations. For more information on the new Leadership BRC Program, contact Kim Ripberger, CPA, Chief People Officer, at kripberger@brccpa.com.