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My FFF Experience: From SF to NYC and the Career Boost I Wanted

Photo Credit: Eric Swerdlow

Crystal Lee

Tax Manager

University of San Francisco, Class of 2005

BSBA, Double Major in Accounting & Finance


From SF to NYC and the Career Boost I Wanted

FFF prides itself on creating an environment that promotes a rewarding career in Accounting. Recently, we asked some of our staff to share how FFF has contributed to their own growth and development. Crystal started with us in 2012 as a Senior Accountant and was just promoted to Tax Manager at the end of 2014. Her story is below:

How did you hear about FFF?

Coming from San Francisco, I had no idea what I was getting into with the New York City job market.  Everyone warned me about New York’s fast-paced, cutthroat environment, but the biggest culture shock came from hearing people speak with a New York accent.  Up until then, I had only heard it in movies. Now I was the one with the accent.

Fortunately, my friend from Beta Alpha Psi connected me with a recruiter who introduced me to Farkouh, Furman & Faccio, LLP.  I went for an interview April 11th, 2012 and started my first day as a Senior Tax Associate on April 30th, 2012.

What were your first impressions of FFF and the East Coast?

Integrating into FFF’s work environment was smoother than I had expected. I was unsure if my prior work experience had prepared me for the notoriously complex New York State tax returns. Yet, when it came to the work itself, there was nothing to fear.  Though I had primarily worked on California returns, I was able to tackle New York tax issues with the tools provided and the help of my peers.  FFF has an open-door policy for questions and provides great resources for research, so the learning curve didn’t seem so steep after all and my skills translated.

What makes FFF different than other accounting firms?

FFF is a boutique firm that aims high.  The firm provides challenging work with intriguing clientele – giving a beneficial experience to anyone looking to enhance their career in public accounting.  We don’t only concern ourselves with day-to-day accounting work; we also have the opportunity to take ownership in the firm’s growth.  I’m heavily involved in recruiting, managing our internship program and conducting firm-wide training on important accounting issues.

I love the fact that I can do what I got hired to do as a tax consultant and also be able to contribute to the growth of the firm – an opportunity I might not have had at a larger company.

How has FFF helped you advance your career as an accountant?

Over the last couple of years, my Mentor at FFF worked with me towards my career goal of becoming a Manager.  Gradually, more client contact came my way, my work shifted more towards reviewing returns instead of preparing them and I, myself, became a mentor to our new Interns. Next thing I knew, I was working at a Manager level without even realizing it.  My mentor guided me at an appropriate pace, befitting of the career that I wanted to build.  After only a few busy seasons and the hiring of nearly all the interns in my program to full-time staff, FFF officially promoted me on January 1, 2015 to Tax Manager.

Not bad for a San Francisco transplant, right? I am thankful to FFF for giving me the opportunity to excel in my career and I don’t plan on leaving New York or the firm anytime soon.



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