Lonnie Juarez, CPA is a Principal at Loftis Group LLC. While he initially planned to pursue a career with the FBI, Lonnie discovered that he truly enjoyed accounting and went on to find his place as an auditor. His desire to provide the best possible service to his clients, eagerness to foster the development of his employees and peers, and his habit of over-preparing for every meeting are traits that have fueled his success in the accounting industry. When he is not at work, you can find Lonnie coaching his children's soccer and basketball teams and spending quality time with his family. We recently had the chance to speak to Lonnie about his life as a CPA, and learned about the impact his clients have had on his career.
Lonnie Juarez, CPA
I’m a CPA because…
When I was in high school, I wanted to get into the FBI and I was told a great way to pursue a career with the FBI was to get into accounting – so that’s what I did. In college, I developed different interests and while I decided against the FBI, I still enjoyed accounting. I continued on the accounting career path and found that the CPA is expected when you are in public accounting.
If I weren’t a CPA, I’d like to be a _______________________.
Those who know me well might be surprised by this answer but I would be a math or history teacher. As a teacher, you have the chance to influence people and make a big impact; that appeals to me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Why do you do what you do?
For me, it’s seeing people develop, whether it’s employees, peers or clients. Ultimately, I do what I do to be part of that development.
Describe your “typical” day?
I wake up around 5:00 a.m. and I try to work for about an hour from home until my kids wake up. Once the kids are up, I make it a point to hang out with them before heading into the office. As an auditor, every day is so different. I typically get in about 8-10 hours of work each day, then I head home to eat dinner and hang out with my family. After dinner, my wife and I typically watch a show together. The Bachelor has been our favorite, which is kind of embarrassing to admit.
When I am not working, you can find me…
Hanging out with my family! I actually coach my kid’s soccer and basketball teams. We also do a lot with our church.
What helps you deal with stress?
I try to run every day. Our office is located near a gym so I typically try to go in the afternoon when I have hit a wall.
I can’t live without …
I’m an early riser, so my coffee cup has always been an important part of my day but even more than my coffee, is waiting for my kids to wake up and give me a hug “good morning”. My youngest son, Joe, he’s one, he flashes the best smile and says “HOT” as I pour my coffee. It’s moments like these that I can’t live without.
What keeps you up at night?
The health of my family and work deadlines. During certain times of the year, when work is very busy, I tend not to sleep as well thinking about what I need to get done to meet those deadlines.
What is the best advice someone has given you in this profession?
Always be over-prepared. No matter the situation – it could be for a presentation to a board or a monthly check in with an employee – prepare and then prepare some more. It can be time consuming, but it’s worth it.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Enjoy the daily grind. In other words, enjoy the moment you are in right now, not the moment you seek in the years to come (i.e. passing the CPA, getting promoted, etc.) This question makes me think of the Adam Sandler movie, “Click.” In the movie, Adam Sandler’s character is always in a hurry to move on to the next thing, or fast-forward through rough patches, but each time he does that, he finds himself yearning for what he missed. Enjoy right now and with time, you’ll get there.
People don’t know this but…What is something (personal or funny) that people would be surprised to find out about you?
We have a game room at our office where we play ping pong and foosball. I am currently ranked number three in ping pong and number two in foosball. Personally, I think it’s rigged.
What was a defining moment in your career?
Going from a larger CPA firm to a smaller firm was a defining moment. When I made the decision to change firms, my first child had just been born and I was traveling more than I wanted to, so my decision was family based.
How did you choose audit?
Actually, audit chose me. My first accounting job gave me only one option – AUDIT. Turns out, I really enjoyed the work so audit is where I stayed.
How have your clients impacted your career?
They challenge me to think about things from different perspectives. I understand that when I am working with a client, I am reviewing information that is personal to them. My job is to provide the best possible service but at times, I have to deliver news that isn’t always desirable or expected. With that said, it is in these types of situations that some of my best conversations happen. As I mentioned earlier, development is important to me and development happens for all involved when perspectives are challenged.