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Gaining the confidence to push the firm forward.

Client Spotlight: Nicole Eshnaur, CPA, CGMA, MBA, Department Head of Accounting Services

Firm Name: MarksNelson LLC

Location: Kansas City, MO

# of Offices: 1

# of Partners: 15

# of Employees: 200

Gaining the confidence to push the firm forward.

Vince Lombardi famously said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made.” So how do firms teach their people to be leaders?

Investing in tomorrow’s leaders is absolutely critical for accounting firms. True leaders continually grow, learn, and encourage others to do the same. One of the ways MarksNelson creates this domino effect in its firm is through the Boomer NextGen Leader Circle.

Nicole Eshnaur, MarksNelson’s Manager of Accounting Services, was excited to join the NextGen Leader Circle when she found out the peer community was for senior managers and new partners from all over the country.

“It’s a group of people who share a lot of challenges, best practices, what’s working – there are firms from California to North Dakota and even Canada,” Eshnaur says. “We all have similar challenges, so it’s a great place to learn about others’ experiences and implement or modify them to fit your firm.”

She also enjoys the opportunity to meet as a group with the Managing Partner Circle on the second day of meetings. “I really admire the firms that have managing partners there alongside their NextGen leaders,” Eshnaur says. “It’s like a succession plan for the managing partner in who they see as a future leader in the firm. The managing partners put so much trust and encouragement into the young leaders.”

Of course, Eshnaur says the managing partners give pushback to some of the NextGen group’s ideas based on their own experience. But for the most part, the managing partners embrace their plans and help implement those ideas in the firms.

Personally, Eshnaur credits her involvement in the NextGen Leader Circle for helping her recruit admin talent. She recently hired a new admin professional and says the conversations that took place in the peer community helped her think about the skillsets a person brings to the table and how the firm can leverage those skills.

“It opened my mind to the tasks, roles, and responsibilities for that individual,” Eshnaur says. The admin team is now taking over some of the staff that professionals in the firm used to handle, elevating both roles. “Our admin team does more than type letters, make copies, and assemble returns,” Eshnaur says. “We’ve really enhanced that role.”

In the next year, Eshnar plans to turn to her peers for advice on document management systems and whether they use all of the technology from one solution provider or leverage different providers, and how well the various applications talk to each other.

“I have an idea of which one I want us to go with, but I want to get advice from the people using it every day to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Eshnaur says. That input will help the firm make its final decision.

“The NextGen Leader Circle is just a great sounding board,” Eshnaur says. “If you look at your career and you’re committed to your firm and want to grow with them, the Circle gives you confidence and ideas that you can take back to your firm and make it a better place.”

Get to know Nicole

Nicole grew up in Pickrell, Nebraska, and moved to Kansas City after college following a job offer from a local CPA firm. She realized her career path in high school when she took two semesters of accounting from an excellent teacher.

Nicole is married and a mom to two girls. In addition to spending time with her family, Nicole loves running and frequently plans vacations around races. Last year, she ran a half marathon near Mount Rushmore. “It’s a great way to see national parks!” Eshnaur says.

Invest in your firm's next generation leaders is the key to addressing the succession crisis in the profession.

The Boomer NextGen Leader Circle brings together emerging leaders from CPA firms around the country to share knowledge, experiences and insight to help one another be better managers and leaders. Complete an interest form today, and one of our Solutions Advisors will reach out to schedule a short call to discuss how your firm can invest in the growth and development of these emerging leaders.


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