People Behind the Numbers
Rob O’ Neal, CPA – Assurance Manager
Tidwell Group regularly spotlight’s our outstanding accounting individuals in the ‘People Behind the Numbers’. We are excited to introduce the Affordable Housing industry to Rob O’Neal, CPA, located at Tidwell Group’s Birmingham office. Rob has more than five years of public accounting experience, primarily working with clients in the affordable housing and real estate industries. He started as an intern and worked his way up to his current role as Assurance Manager.
It has been rewarding to see Rob grow with confidence in his career here at Tidwell Group,” said Joel T. McDowell, Birmingham Office Managing Partner. “He has the passion and the eagerness to provide the best service to our clients. Rob is an incredible asset to the firm with his willingness to go the extra mile. I look forward to seeing what else he will accomplish in the years to come.”
We sat down with Rob to discuss his career development at Tidwell Group. He opened up about overcoming challenges in the accounting profession, his advice for new CPAs, and more. We invite you to hear Rob’s story and learn more about our People Behind the Numbers.
Q & A
1. Why did you first choose to work at Tidwell Group?
I initially chose Tidwell Group for an internship opportunity while in college. The firm demonstrated a great work-life balance, a high level of collaboration, a wealth of growth opportunities, and a strong sense of direction for the firm’s future. I enjoyed getting to know the employees during the recruitment process and was able to envision myself happily spending a large portion of my waking hours with them. That all still rings true today.
2. What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy helping our clients resolve some of their biggest challenges, spending time with my teammates both at the office and in social settings, and playing a very small part in the incredible impact that the affordable housing industry has nationwide.
3. What is the toughest accountant problem you’ve tackled? How did you handle it?
My job provides continual accounting issues that keep me challenged and interested. It is difficult to choose a single problem to detail here. Some of the issues that I have encountered include deciphering seemingly endless state, federal, and accounting regulations as they relate to our clients’ niche situations, assisting with the accounting effects of business acquisitions, and analyzing, reconciling, and organizing years’ worth of raw data into a clear, consumable picture for clients. I have always handled these challenges by diving into the regulations themselves while also utilizing the knowledge of those around me.
4. What is one accomplishment at work that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of passing the CPA exam and earning my CPA license while working full time to serve our clients.
5. How has Tidwell Group helped in your career development?
While my collegiate education provided me with a strong base knowledge of accounting, a vast majority of my accounting knowledge has been gained on the job at Tidwell Group. The firm has consistently provided me with challenging work that has allowed me to learn, as well as plenty of skilled people who have helped me along the way. Tidwell Group has also provided career growth opportunities that have allowed me to earn my way onto the “fast-track” in terms of my advancement into new positions and responsibilities.
6. What goals would you like to reach for the next five years at Tidwell Group?
My main career goals for the next five years include earning my way into the partner group here at Tidwell Group, continuing to help develop the unique talents of the team members around me, and continuing to expand my knowledge of assurance practices and financial accounting.
7. What piece of advice would you give a new employee or an intern just starting out?
Ask a lot of questions and take notes on everything. You will constantly be learning new things, and a great way to have those things stick is to be able to reference back to your notes. Also, don’t hesitate to seek assistance or advice from people at all levels within our firm. We are obviously here to help our clients achieve their goals, but we are also all here to help one another grow and achieve individual goals.
8. List three fun facts about yourself:
- My wife and I welcomed our beautiful boy-girl twins in November 2021, so our new hobbies include constant bottle washing, never-ending laundry, late nights, early mornings, and a whole lot of wonderful memories and milestones.
- I attended Auburn University and am a lifelong Auburn sports fan, for better or for worse. Men’s Basketball is fun right now! My wife went to the other major university in the state. I enjoyed having her in the Jordan-Hare Stadium student section with me for the Kick Six.
- One of my favorite memories is attending the Master’s Tournament in 2017. I hope to make it back sometime soon.
We would like to thank Rob for all his hard work and expect more great things from these outstanding young professionals. Stay tuned as we continue to highlight the many talented #PeopleBehindTheNumbers.