Kopis has begun a monthly community spotlight feature which highlights the work and background of a local professional making an impact in their industry. This month’s feature focuses on McKenzie Blanton, Senior Associate at Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP. If you have a community hero you’d like to nominate, please email: Ashley.email@example.com
“Accounting is more of a people job than you might think”, says McKenzie Blanton , a Senior Associate at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP. Born and raised in Lancaster, SC, she decided to stick around the area to go to Wofford for her undergraduate education. She majored in Finance and Math and minored in Accounting at Wofford, and after graduating in 2016, she went on to get her Master of Accountancy at the University of South Carolina and later return to Greenville upon completion.
When describing DHG, she says they are fairly large for a regional accounting firm, and that “we have branches up the east coast from Florida to New York”. She says the company is always expanding along with the numerous divisions. She estimates there are roughly 60 people in her office here in Greenville, but says to not take her word for it due to her poor estimating skills.
“School helped me better develop my soft skills such as speaking, writing, and researching, and it gave me an overview of accounting so I knew what to expect going in, but Auditing is a lot of learning on the job”. Blanton says there was a very steep learning curve her first year in Auditing. There is a lot of training upfront, but it could never prepare you for all of the scenarios that you will encounter.
Blanton says her workdays can change day-to-day. When she isn’t in the office, she is offsite with clients to make sure everything is moving forward smoothly, she sets goals and time frames with clients, and then comes back to the office to put in the work to make everything happen. When describing their clients, she says “the client contacts are typically in management, IT, or accounting departments unless they are working with the CEO or CFO of the company. However, we work with all different kinds of companies. Specifically, Blanton is on the manufacturing/distribution/retail team at DHG. Some of the other teams include Finance, Health Care, and Non-Profit, Risk Advisory, and Wealth Advisory so they have a little bit of everything. She says they are all encouraged to step into other groups and to try new things. “DHG has so much flexibility and care about keeping their people and put their people first; people there know that I want to try other things and they’re really supportive”.
Blanton describes her office as multigenerational where “there are people who have just started, people who have been there 5-7 years, and people who have been there far more than 10 years. Having a broad age group is cool because there’s an opportunity to get a lot of different points of view. We appreciate it when new people come in with new and innovative ideas. People don’t always think so, but accounting is actually really good about adapting and entertaining new ideas”.
Some advice to someone going into accounting would be to come in with a completely open mind. She says, “they tried to drill that in us at school, but it didn’t totally work. Another tip would be to not come into the workplace thinking you know everything because I promise you don’t. There is a lot less black and white than I thought there would be, but she likes the frustrating grey area and that no two of her clients are the exact same. Beware of busy season which overlaps with tax season, she says. There are longer hours with more traveling, and there’s no guarantee you won’t turn into a work zombie, so make sure you enjoy the other nine months of the year!”
While Blanton’s work is focused on the day-to-day accounting challenges facing her clients, her free time is focused on exploring Greenville. She gives back to the community through volunteer projects and through the Chamber of Commerce. She is currently researching dog breeds, as she plans to add a four legged member to her family.
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