Title: Partner Company: Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt City: Westlake Village Specializations: Taxes, trusts, estate planning. With more than 30 years of experience in tax consulting and compliance, Robin Paule focuses on advising high net worth families, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Before joining Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt, she worked at accounting giant KPMG. Question: Why accounting? Answer: I felt it was going to be a profession where there would always be an abundance of opportunities and jobs available, whether it be in public accounting or in private industry. Favorite part of the job: Helping people achieve their goals. I help clients achieve their goals by advising, being creative and doing advanced planning. I help employees achieve their goals through mentoring and teaching. Biggest challenge: Balancing your work with your personal life. It’s no surprise that we work a lot of hours in public accounting, so you have to be very organized and know your limitations. Most memorable experience: The most memorable story of my career was when I was promoted to partner. I had worked long and hard towards that goal and it was not something that many women achieved at that time. It’s like I was running a marathon and had finally crossed the finish line. How does your personality make you good at accounting? I’m pretty outgoing, organized, good at multi-tasking, analytical and I love to learn. I think all of those traits are necessary to be good at accounting. We learn something new every day in this profession and can never lose sight of that. How has your gender affected your career? Although I know many women who feel differently, I can honestly say that being a woman has not affected my career in accounting. My path of progression was slightly longer as a result of taking a short time off to have children, but I don’t feel that unduly prolonged my path or affected my career. Any changes in the workplace in the #MeToo era? I am really lucky to work in an organization that embraces gender equality. We have open, honest communication, with no hidden agendas, so I’m happy to say that our workplace has not changed. That said, HCVT is committed to gender equality and we recognize that the career challenges and sometimes, the career paths, are different. In response to this, we launched our women’s initiative several years ago, Women @ HCVT. Our goal is to enhance and improve the firm’s retention and advancement of women by leading women of all career stages to connect, grow and achieve professional and person success. Impact of tax reform: Tax reform presents opportunities for some clients and challenges for others. Our firm has dedicated a plethora of resources into learning and navigating through the complexities so that we can advise clients accordingly. As guidance is issued, there will be planning opportunities and it is our priority to make sure clients are apprised and able to make relevant and timely decisions. Biggest challenge for clients: Long-term planning. With changes due to tax reform, clients need to be cautious about planning for the short-term while many provisions are scheduled to sunset and may not be extended. How is the accounting industry changing? The accounting industry currently centers around new regulations and adopting to new accounting standards. However we anticipate significant changes in our future with the impact of new technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Changes you would like to see: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a perfect example. The act was released without complete guidance and many technical corrections still remain in process. This has made it difficult for professionals to provide advice as we do not have a full understanding of the rules. I would like to see that when new legislation is released, it is complete, fully vetted and pragmatic. Advice to executives looking for an accounting firm: Executives engaging an accounting firm should make sure that the skill sets of the provider they choose aligns with their needs. This would include industry specializations such as state and local tax, mergers and acquisitions, international tax and wealth transfer, to name a few. The accounting firm should have the ability to address the business and business owner in an integrated manner. It is extremely important that the provider focus not only on what the needs of the client are but what are the wants. The provider should understand the client’s style and how to report to all stakeholders in the enterprise. Advice to people considering a career in accounting: With an ever-growing emphasis on technology, it is important that anyone considering a career in accounting round out their experience by including technology-related curriculum. If you don’t like your accounting classes or teamwork then accounting is probably not a good fit.