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In Cray Kaiser’s Employee Spotlight series, we highlight a member of the CK team. We couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve grown and we’re excited for you to get to know them. This month we’re shining our spotlight on Eric T. Challenger.
As Cray Kaiser’s tax manager, Eric leads the client relationship and deliverables for many of CK’s business and individual clients. This includes tax compliance and planning, along with general business guidance for clients. His primary focus is on businesses and their owners. Eric assists them from the startup stage with entity selection and implementing accounting structure to the end of the life cycle and transitioning transactions while keeping in mind the individual needs of each owner on a personal level and helping them reach their personal goals. Eric is also the tax lead on CK’s nonprofit side where he helps register and maintain tax-exempt status for all nonprofit clients.
From a firm perspective, Eric implements much of the training for the staff at CK and is considered one of the go-to resources within the firm for all staff, from admin to partners. He leads by providing education to sharpen staff knowledge and skills, empowering them to tackle CK clients’ needs.
Eric is a DePaul graduate and previously worked for a few other small firms before he joined the team at CK. When asked about an impactful moment in his career, he responded, “Passing the CPA exam!”
Eric began at CK in 2012 and was instantly drawn to the small firm feel and family culture. He enjoys the opportunity to work with different clients, and on projects and situations which keep things interesting, challenging and rewarding.
When asked which of CK’s core values mean the most to him and why, Eric answered, “Education – I probably would have been a teacher if I wasn’t an accountant. I enjoy learning something new every day, whether in accounting or on a personal level. I am always trying to be a better person and accountant. There is nothing more rewarding than passing on knowledge and watching lightbulbs go on in others.”
When looking towards the future, Eric is most excited about establishing more clients and being a part of their trusted team of advisors. “I want to be the first line of attack for clients trying to make impactful decisions, whether business or personal,” said Eric. “My goal? To be invited to every client retirement party and know I played a substantial role in getting them to that finish line.”
Our 50th-anniversary event. Sharing stories with clients and employees who have been integral to the growth of CK.
Spending time with family and friends and hopefully getting some golf in.
Undersell and overperform. Spend less than what you make. Never judge a book by its cover.
I’m engaged to my fiancé Stacey and we have a one-year-old golden retriever named Leeloo.
I tried learning the guitar, but only achieved mediocre abilities. However, it has translated into first class air-guitar skills!
The first time I went on an all-inclusive vacation to Cancun, Mexico with Stacey. I didn’t have to lift a finger…I was just able to relax with her. It was wonderful!
Forest Gump and Game of Thrones
I listen to varying types of music. Depending on my mood or projects I can listen to Dua Lipa, Weezer, Carole King, or John Mayer. But my all-time favorite is Metallica…I was an angry teenager!
The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey.