ISCPA Member Spotlight

This feature spotlights members of ISCPA, their career path, and some fun and favorite things about them. 

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Justin ZimmermanJustin Zimmerman

What do you like about working at CLA? I love that we are a top 10 national firm made up of numerous small/medium size offices to give that small firm feel. I am proud of our culture, flexibility, industry specialization, and the fact that we are the largest firm that focuses on privately held businesses and their owners. Plus, I not only get to help my clients, I also get the opportunity to have a great relationship with them as well.

Your wife is a CPA, so you have that in common. How are you most different? She delivered our children and I did NOT! (Ha, j/k!) We are very similar but the main difference is that I cannot handle unread emails. It makes me anxious and I am always reading and answering them. My wife can definitely unplug when she needs to. I sure hope to be like her someday!

Biggest issue you see facing the profession: Finding talented and qualified staff. This leads to another issue which is constantly adapting to technological changes. Since we foresee having issues with the first issue, the industry is rapidly implementing the second.

Do you have a mentor who has impacted you? I have had a handful of great mentors, one of whom retired from the firm a year ago – Pete Jacobs. I always admired his excellent client service, his calmness when dealing with issues, and most of all how he dropped everything to take the time to interact with employees and clients.

What message do you have for young adults about a CPA career? It can be very rewarding. If you choose public accounting make sure it is the right move for you. It is very fast paced and always changing. When looking for a job, we are not just hiring you based on your GPA, we are also hiring you for your communication and personal skills since you will be in front of our clients. You can be the smartest person in your class, but if you can’t hold a conversation and create a relationship with our clients, they are not going to want to work with you. On the flip side, you can have a great personality but if you are not technical they will not turn to you for help when needed.

What is something important to you outside of work? Participating in Project SAFE of the Cedar River Corridor Area. The organization focuses on suicide awareness, education, and ending the stigma around mental illness and suicide.

Justin and his wife Sarah live in Cedar Rapids with their son Jordan (9) and daugher Jaydan (5).

See past Member Spotlight features:

Job: Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Cedar Rapids 2014

Hometown: Renwick

Alma mater: University of Northern Iowa

Professional/community activities: Member of ISCPA, AICPA, IMTA, AGC and ABI; Greater Cedar Rapids Housing & Building Association (GCRHBA) board member and treasurer; Project SAFE of the Cedar River Corridor Area Inc board member and treasurer; 2011 Corridor Business Journal Forty under 40 Award; 2011 and 2014 Associate of the Year Award in the GCRHBA.

First job as a kid: I mowed around 20 lawns.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: A race car driver.

I was inspired to be a CPA because: I liked numbers and my mom and aunt are accountants.

Best advice ever received: Don’t look left and right, keep your head down and focus on moving forward.

In my free time, I prefer to: Golf, go boating, spend time with family and friends, support dirt track racing and cheer on my kids at their sporting events.

If I weren't a CPA, you might find me: At the race track or relaxing at the lake with family.

I am passionate about: Doing what is right, on time and without being asked more than once.

Favorite movie: "Gladiator"

Favorite food: Pizza

Three words that best describe me: Dedicated, loyal, passionate

Favorite vacation spot: Lake of the Ozarks

People don't know this about me, but: Up until a year ago, I was a race car driver on the weekends. I owned and raced a sport modified on dirt for 10 years.

Favorite band: Aerosmith

Best concert: Shinedown in Cedar Rapids

Best vacation: Jamaica with my wife

Someone I miss and why: My dad. He lost a battle and left us suddenly and too soon last August.