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Member Spotlight: Chaikin Carves His Own Path

 

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of profiles highlighting the diverse interests and careers of VSCPA members. Know a member (including yourself) who would make for an interesting profile? Email VSCPA Communications Specialist Chip Knighton.

As Virginia CPA Week kicks off, the VSCPA is focused on promoting the ways CPAs help taxpayers and businesses in the Commonwealth. VSCPA member Adam Chaikin, CPA, is a shining example of that desire to use one’s expertise for the greater good.

Chaikin, who also holds the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) and Project Management Professional (PMP) credentials, is a principal at Thought2Execution, a Northern Virginia finance, project management and enterprise resource planning firm. It might be the perfect fit of person and job — talk to Chaikin and you’ll come away with the impression that he consumes the latest technology news and information the way most people breathe air.

“If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” he said. “I love this stuff. So I have a passion for reading articles about technology. I am typically an early adopter of technology because I feel a sense of accomplishment when a device makes me more efficient or productive.”

Chaikin spent several years with British multinational telecommunications company BT Group, a career path that sent him overseas for a two-year stint in London. When he returned to the United States, he couldn’t find a job at the level he had worked in London, so he eventually struck out on his own.

“I love being a consultant, it fits my personality and lifestyle,” he said. “I love helping people. Consulting gives me the opportunity to help people in need.”

He scratches that itch in other ways as well, notably during a long stint as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, where he is in his second term as treasurer. And he’s aided the VSCPA as a member of the editorial task force for Disclosures magazine.

But it’s the study of how things work that’s his true passion — one that started when he was growing up in Staten Island, N.Y. He would tag along to watch his father, a master carpenter, fix things around the house.

“In high school, I took a class in basic auto repair with my best friend,” he said. “The classroom had a cutaway of a six-cylinder engine. By moving the camshaft with a crank, you could see how the pistons rise and fall, how the valves opened and closed in synchronicity. It was so remarkable to me to see how the basic car engine worked.

“From that point, I was hooked. I wish everything in life had a cutaway version to watch in action.”

It wasn’t always obvious how that passion would lead to a career, though. That’s where accounting entered the picture.

“My interest in accounting and finance was driven by my grandfather,” Chaikin said. “He built a family business from scratch. We had a very close relationship. We would spend a lot of time talking about investments, and the challenges in growing your own business. Accounting is the language of business and foundationally is important for whatever career that I pursued.

“I was not 100 percent clear on what I wanted to do or be. So accounting, for me, was the right major because I knew I could leverage that into anything else I wanted to do in the future.”

Chaikin studied accounting at the State University of New York at Binghamton and started his career at Deloitte. From there, he spent time in the construction industry before moving to the communications sector with Concert Communications and then with BT Group.

When he’s not helping companies solve their technological issues, Chaikin enjoys spending time with his wife, Jennifer, and his daughters, Hannah and Abigail, and competing in triathlons — although that’s not his sport of choice. He recently laced his skates back up and relaunched his recreational ice hockey career.

“It’s great to be back on the ice, and I still have one or two moves left in me,” he said.

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