Get to know Grand Rapids (and the world)

Shaun Bonnell, accountant

When Shaun Bonnell was in first grade, he wrote on one of those little cloud papers that he wanted to be the “White Barry Sanders.”

But he also wrote that if that didn’t work out, he’d be an accountant.

Unfortunately for Bonnell, he didn’t have the athletic ability to run his way to millions of dollars, and instead focused on his other dream.

But it doesn’t seem like many kids dream of becoming an accountant and working with numbers. He was surrounded by the idea when he was little, and even took a little inspiration from a church goer.

“There was this lady who always seemed so happy in the summer,” he said, noting he never saw her in the winter. “I asked my mom and she said she was a CPA.”

So, he realized he was fairly good with numbers and the rest is fairly history.

I’ve never really looked at it as an intriguing career. But really, it’s not much more different than mine. Bonnell said his favorite part of the job is going to different companies and seeing what they do and sitting down with different clients and learning about them and even seeing a friendship develop.

The difference is he likes to play with numbers and I like to use my words.

We didn’t really dive that much into life and such, too busy discussing taxes and my life, but we did find out we have very similar takes on stress.

When it gets close to April, sometimes accountants can get a little stressed, much like reporters and editors on deadlines.

“At the end of the day it’s just taxes,” he said. “In the end it always gets done.”

But he did say sometimes, or 9 out of 10, it’s better when a client is stressed, because it means they care and are easier to work with and get information from.

It was an eye opening conversation, mostly because I learned a lot about accountants; like they’re busy year round!

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