Welcome to the second installment of our “Perkins Milestones” anniversary series. In case you’ve ever wondered why someone would choose the life of accounting, this series explores our employees’ career paths: what interested them in accounting, how they got to Perkins, and what Perkins means to them. (Missed our first one? Read up on Lindsay Park, who celebrated her 10th anniversary with us earlier this year.)
So let’s get started. Today, let us draw your attention to Tax Senior Manager, Trina Headley, who got her start at Perkins & Co 15 years ago. When Trina first began, Perkins was all of 60 employees-large, and the accountants were required to do both tax and assurance work. Today, Perkins has almost tripled in size, employees are either tax or assurance, and there are a multitude of industries in which they can get involved.
Trina knew she belonged in our Real Estate Practice Group (even back in 2001) — perhaps it was her desire as a young student to be a real estate agent that helped steer her. After a real estate practice group team builder at Oba, she knew she was going to be a Perkins and real estate team lifer. Fast forward 15 years, Trina specializes and works solely in our tax department; she even still does work for a local commercial developer that was one of her first depreciation projects at Perkins.
We sat with Trina, recently, to learn more about what makes her tick. Here’s what she had to share:
1) What helped sway you to do tax work?
I prefer doing tax work as I like helping clients save money versus scrutinizing their books, which is a task on the audit side.
2) What drew you to the accounting industry?
My dad is an accountant. We moved out to Portland, from New York, for a position he accepted at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Plus, I love numbers, and I took accounting classes while attending Beaverton High School. After high school, I pursued an accounting degree at Portland State University (PSU), and once I graduated I made the leap to Perkins & Co.
3) What about Perkins attracted you?
While at PSU, I went through the recruiting process and attended Perkins & Co’s “meet the firms” event. There, I met Paul Kester, who, at the time, was an audit shareholder. What impressed me the most: he made it his mission to remember recruits’ first names. He was very personable and introduced me to the firm’s other shareholders. He definitely made an impact, as I’ve noticed that one of our current audit shareholders (who was at the firm even back then) still makes it a priority to get to know all the recruits’ first names. That small gesture made me feel welcomed.
Also, I went through a pretty intense interview process, but I was grateful for it. I had four interviews and met employees from all levels of the firm. I had lunch with two seniors who provided me insight into the culture and the type of work I would be doing at Perkins.
4) What do you like most about your job?
I like the clients. I like being in a consulting role and helping them along their tax journey. A few of my clients and I have been together since I first started at Perkins. It’s been a great experience to grow along with them. Being on the tax side has really allowed me to get to know my clients, and we frequently swap travel stories.
One of my favorite moments in my career is from two years ago. I worked on a tax strategy with a client and we were able to save their condo; they were so grateful. I received a touching letter of thanks for the work I did for them; the client still brings it up in conversation to this day.
Additionally, no two days are the same. I like the different challenges each day brings, and I get to work on different client projects each year. Plus, I learn a lot from my co-workers. In particular, Tim is a great teacher and is always willing to train employees. I consider him a thought leader in the industry and view him as a mentor.
5) What has been the most significant change since you started (in the industry and/or in the firm)?
There have been a number of changes which have impacted the firm since I started. From a culture standpoint Perkins announced a relaxed dress code earlier this year – we can wear jeans every day. Not many other firms offer that. However, since I’m usually meeting with clients, I don’t wear jeans, and I keep a blazer behind my door for days when I have those really important meetings.
From a sustainability standpoint, another significant change within the firm occurred when we went paperless. Before the days of the client portal and digital software, I remember using rolling filing cabinets and seeing mounds of papers at people’s desks.
6) What do you do in your leisure time?
I love to travel. Most of my travel revolves around relaxation and warm climates and being around water is a must for me. I got my scuba diving certification 26 years ago, and my favorite dive to date has been at Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands.
I also try to visit the coast at least once a month throughout the year (as I can), thanks to my timeshare. This past busy season I went to the beach for an overnight trip. Listening to the waves was so soothing and helped me relax. Watching sunsets at the beach is another way I like to unwind, and Depot Bay has some of my favorite sun and moon sets.
When I’m at home, I enjoy spending time with my four year old grandson and hiking Wahkeena Falls trail in the gorge.
In addition to her leisure activities, Trina spends her time out of the office serving as co-chair for Commercial Real Estate Women’s (CREW) 12-person membership committee. She first got involved with CREW with thanks to Brigitte Sutherland, tax shareholder. Four and a half years later, she still enjoys attending their events and luncheons.
Thank you, Trina, for letting us take a peek inside your experience at Perkins over the past 15 years. We are grateful to have you on our tax team, and we can’t wait to see what the next 15 years have in store for you!