Mandy C. Funchess is a partner in the firm Schlenker & Cantwell, P.A. She is a graduate of New Mexico State University and has spent the last 19 years working with nonprofit organizations throughout New Mexico. When she is not hard at work providing her clients with services to help them succeed, serving as Chair of the Bernalillo County Audit Committee, or cheering on her children at their games, Mandy’s admitted “guilty pleasure” is watching The Bachelor. We talked to Mandy about her experience as a successful CPA and gained some insight into how she balances her professional and personal life, all the while maintaining her signature cheerful disposition.
Mandy Funchess, CPA
I am passionate about…
Professionally speaking, I am passionate about working with my clients, which why I made the move I did five years ago. Sometimes in our industry, you get to the point in your career where you stop having as much client contact and my passion, without a doubt, is meeting with clients and developing those relationships. I am also passionate about my family and kids.
I never leave home without…
I’m a CPA because…
From the time I was a sophomore in high school, I knew I wanted to be an accountant. I come from a family of accountants so there was never a doubt in my mind that I would pursue the accounting career path. As far as the CPA designation, my father, grandfather and uncle never sat for the CPA exam because they went into industry; I wanted to work in public accounting and I knew I needed the CPA designation to support my goals. Becoming a CPA is the best decision I ever made.
If I weren’t a CPA, I’d like to be a _______________________.
The running joke in my house is that I would work at the Clinique counter selling makeup. I have always thought that selling makeup would be a fun job because when you buy makeup you’re just a happy person.
How do you find time to do it all?
I prioritize what is most important each day. If there is a client deadline, or I have to travel, I prioritize accordingly. My kids always come first. If they have a game, I will schedule a meeting early enough to be able to make it to their game. I try not to take on many evening meetings because that is our family time. So, whatever I do, such as Chairing the Bernalillo County Audit Committee, I make sure that those meetings are during the day. My Outlook calendar keeps both my personal and professional schedules and is also linked to my husband’s calendar so that we all know what’s going on with each other. I am cognizant of my scheduling to make sure that I never miss a deadline and my clients are served. If I am unable to attend a game, I get play by play scores via Facetime so I can feel like I am there.
What’s on your desk right now?
A Grande Unsweetened Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks, Albuquerque Business First, Phone, Purse, Girl Scout cookies, invites to my daughter’s Confirmation, receipts from travel, an audit proposal and Two, three-ring binders of to-do lists. My desk is a disaster right now!
What keeps you up at night?
What doesn’t? Worrying about my children keeps me up at night because I always want to make sure I am doing what is best for them. Also, making sure I have done everything I need to do for my clients and that I haven’t forgotten or missed anything for them.
Looking back on your career, what is the professional accomplishment you are most proud of?
Passing the CPA exam as that was a hard fought battle. I had just moved back to Albuquerque from Carlsbad where I had been working at a small firm and went to work for Atkinson. At Atkinson, I was surrounded by CPAs, so I was studying for the CPA exam while juggling being a mom to a one and half-year-old, and on top of that, my husband was traveling a lot. A close second was becoming Partner before 40.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Be humble and nice to people. You will make mistakes and learn from them; embrace that.
People don’t know this but…What is something (personal or funny) that people would be surprised to find out about you?
My guilty pleasure is watching The Bachelor every week and if somebody watches it without me I am not a happy camper. I enjoy reality TV because I don’t have to think about anything and it’s no stress.
What have you enjoyed most about working in the profession?
Working with clients and meeting new people. Growing up in a small town and moving to the big city of Albuquerque, I thought I wouldn’t know anybody. In the 15 years that I have lived in Albuquerque, working with clients and being Chair of the NMSCPA board has allowed me to develop so many relationships, which I love.
What advice would you give someone starting out about choosing a career path?
Work really hard and take what people say to heart. Be attentive to those teaching you and be humble because 99.9% time the people you are working for are there to teach you and help you grow in your career. If you think you know everything, you won’t go very far and what you learned in college is minor compared to what you learn in the real world. But the most important advice I can give is to always bring a pen and paper to every meeting.