Note: The following is part of the MACPA’s “Share Your Story” series that showcases members. Learn more about the series and why we are doing it here.

========

By Tim Samuel, CPA

I’m a CPA and a CFO, and I Create Future Opportunities for Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Md.

My road to being a CPA could have ended many times. In high school, I took an accounting course that, because of a teacher, I wanted to drop within the first few days. My guidance counselor pushed me to stick with it, and I ended up getting an A and actually enjoying the class and the teacher. I went to college to pursue accounting because I was good at it and knew I could get a job that would leave me able to provide for my family. 

Once again, I wanted to quit. About halfway through college, my accounting professor made some culturally insensitive comments toward me, and that really shook me. I was a mess, but I was too far along in my college career to change majors and too cheap to take more classes. Also, I knew accounting would guarantee me a job, so I stuck with it. I got to know my professor and ending up getting an A in that class. I fully believe this helped me land my first job, which is where I passed the CPA exam.

As I started my career, a senior manager asked me how I felt as a minority working for them. At that point, I was the only person of color working in that department. What could I say other than, “It’s great!” I knew I was lying, but I didn’t know what else to say. As the years passed, I realized it wasn’t the right fit for me. To be honest, I wasn’t producing the way the big public accounting firm needed. I wasn’t getting any audit hours either, and I thought about giving up on my goal of becoming a CPA. 

But one day as I was talking to a close friend, he said something that changed my course:

“Don’t let a man close a door that God has opened up for you.” 

Rather than giving up on the CPA, I decided to go to another regional firm to obtain hours I needed to get my CPA license. That turned out to be the best decision I could have made. The firm was the right fit, I was learning and adding value, and I received enough hours to be a CPA. After receiving the CPA, I felt like I had a swag. I didn’t give up on this challenge and now I could change the world!

Fast-forward a bit: My wife and I were in India to attend a cousin’s wedding. While there, we visited the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by an Mughal emperor to be a tombstone for his wife. I couldn’t believe the type of legacy this family left to the world.

I wanted to leave a legacy, too. I wanted to change the world. I knew I could. I’m a CPA, after all!

Not too long after I returned, I went to visit a friend. Together, we visited a church that had been founded by a 25-year-old who desired to have a diverse church. Fifty-two different represented nations called this church home, and the church was looking for a CPA. I took the position. I had to sell my house, uproot my family and relocate to Columbia for the job. I knew then that my long journey as a CPA was meant for me to serve this great community.

I am someone who uses numbers combined with business knowledge to change lives by the grace of God. Now I affectionately call Bridgeway Community Church my Taj Mahal.

Loading