“The accounting stereotype is someone without a whole lot of personality,” Chris Cornell says, “but I love the people.” Chris also loves math and accounting. “To me it’s a puzzle and my job is to put it all together so the numbers balance.”
A graduate of Baker College, Chris became a Certified Public Accountant in 2006 and started his own company, Cornell-Szasz CPAs, PLLC, in Traverse City in 2010. “I like the freedom of being my own boss,” he says.
It’s also true that when you’re the boss, the buck—and the balance sheet—stops with you. After buying a second accounting business in Cadillac last year, he’s been working most evenings and weekends.
“Getting to know the clients is my first priority,” Chris says. “My product isn’t a piece of paper but what’s in my head, my knowledge and experience. If they don’t trust me, they’ll go somewhere else.”
Many of his clients are small businesses. “Entrepreneurs usually have some kind of dream,” Chris says, “something they love to do. But they might not know much about running a business, about the numbers. I try to get them to do what makes them happy and let me do the accounting.”