Meet the Team: Ben Davenport, CPA – GAAP Training Specialist
Ben Davenport

Meet the Team: Ben Davenport, CPA – GAAP Training Specialist

A chat with the newest member of GAAP Dynamics

Ben Davenport is a GAAP training specialist with GAAP Dynamics. A former Audit manager with EY, he joined the company in July 2015. Check out his interview where Ben discusses his career path, his decision to work at GAAP Dynamics, and his advice for millennials in the accounting profession.

What was your career path, and why did you choose GAAP Dynamics?

I really started my professional career with an internship with EY in the Richmond, Va., office after my third year of college. It was great for me to learn about the accounting and auditing profession and working at a Big 4 firm. I enjoyed my internship so much that I was lucky enough to have a second internship before I started my Masters of Accounting program!

I began my full-time career with EY in the Richmond office in January 2009, right in the thick of “busy season,” which most folks cautioned me is not for the faint of heart! After a few weeks of training, I got to dive into the heart of auditing on some public manufacturing jobs that continued through my first year as a Senior.

After my first year as a Senior, I turned to a new industry and joined the audit engagement team of Capital One Financial. This new focus in banking carried me into the Financial Services Office at EY in July 2013.

On the cusp of a promotion to Manager, I had a strong interest in a change in scenery to experience life in another city. It was a tough decision because of the deep personal connections with my local colleagues, but it was one that made a lot of sense to continue my personal and professional growth. It turned out that there was a Manager position open in the Los Angeles office of EY, and after a short visit to that office to talk about the opportunity to transfer, I decided it was the best place to continue my career. I got to experience some of the benefits of working in a larger city, as well as some of the challenges! I also gained experience in new industries, auditing private equity firms and broker dealers.

After a very exciting year and a half of work, my wife and I received more exciting news: We were going to be new parents! It was around this time I thought it was time to move back home and also to consider whether it was time for a career change. GAAP Dynamics struck me as a really interesting and exciting opportunity. One of my favorite parts of the job at EY was the development of our people, especially when I was training new team members. After learning more about GAAP Dynamics, I was convinced that now would be the best time to make a career shift and focus more on the development aspect of the accounting and auditing profession with a fresh perspective on teaching and training!

What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?

The first one that comes to mind is more of a series of highlights than one specific event. Throughout my career at EY, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of colleagues who were either new to the firm or new to their positions. I always enjoyed helping those folks get comfortable in new roles. It was very rewarding to contribute to their development in a real, tangible way where I could see them learn and succeed.

Another highlight for me was managing client relationships and really owning an engagement from beginning to end. Being able to have control over different aspects of an engagement and then watching your decisions improve engagement performance made me proud.

However, the biggest highlight of my career has been the opportunity to work for an incredible, global, well-respected professional services firm in Ernst & Young and now to work for an exciting, growing, close-knit professional training firm based in my hometown. I owe a lot of my professional development to the trainers and colleagues I had at EY, and I am excited to continue that with GAAP Dynamics. The fact that I have had these two great opportunities at the start of my professional career is truly a blessing.

What are you looking forward to most when working at GAAP Dynamics?

I am looking forward to the freedom to blaze my own trail professionally. One of the most exciting aspects of working at a smaller company is the ability to purposely and directly influence my own path in the organization. I have the opportunity to help with sales and pursuits, to partner with other firms to enhance the quality of our products, and to stay on the cutting edge of eLearning and other technologies, just to name a few! The future looks bright, and I am excited to experience it.

Why did you choose to move back to Richmond, Va., from Los Angeles, Calif.?

As I mentioned earlier, part of the move back to Richmond came from the expecting birth of my baby girl. Being closer to family, like our soon-to-be grandparents and great-grandparent, as well as having a comfortable place to raise our baby and start a family, was very important to my wife and me.

Also, Richmond is an exciting town that keeps getting better each day. There is a great craft brewing and distilling scene here wrapped in the historical surroundings of the city. There are a bunch of outdoor activities, either for participating or spectating, such as marathons, 10Ks, mud runs, and bicycling, including the World Road Cycling Championships coming in September. There are also great water sports to enjoy on the James River from tubing to paddle boarding to rafting through Class III and IV rapids. There are lots of fun things to do in this city with traditional Southern charm and history.

Just as importantly, though, Richmond is home to a great (and growing) company that I am excited to now be a part of!

What advice would you give young people just starting out in the accounting profession?

One piece of advice I would give to people entering the workforce is to consider the future. You are entering an exciting time in your life, and you should enjoy that! At the same time, keep an eye on the future and your long-term goals. Make sure that the experiences you are getting now will make you more successful in reaching those goals. Also, consider the opportunities you will get with your new job as you move through the company. Will these allow you to reach those goals? Are they going to hinder you? I think it is important to keep your long-term future in mind and make sure you will benefit later from the experiences you get today.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Personally, I would like to have a loving, happy and healthy family with my wife and children. I want to be an active member of the community, interacting with others and developing deep relationships. I’d also like to improve my golf game and will probably need all 10 years to do it!

Professionally, I want to be making a difference in people’s lives. I expect to give something valuable to other people and other companies. I see that happening through developing others for success. I see that through training others to be better at their jobs. I can also see that in offering specialized services to companies that don’t necessarily have the in-house resources to be successful in certain areas. I look forward to rewarding experiences by positively influencing others’ lives, and I am excited to do that as a GAAP training specialist at GAAP Dynamics.

Are You A Different Kind of CPA

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