Cray Kaiser Employee Spotlight: Natalie McHugh

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 Natalie McHugh. 

Getting to Know Natalie

As Cray Kaiser’s tax manager, Natalie helps manage the workflow and people in the tax department. Her days typically consist of reviewing returns and spending time consulting, whether projecting tax costs for clients, researching complex tax situations or assisting clients through a sale transaction. Her niche is estates, gifts and trusts, high-net wealth individuals and partnerships.  

Natalie is a DePaul University graduate and interned at KPMG in their personal financial planning department during her college career. After graduation, she joined the firm full-time and it was there that she found her passion for taxes, specifically personal, trust, estate and gift tax returns.

Why CK?

Natalie joined CK in December of 2013. She was instantly drawn to the CK culture, the variety of clients and having female partners at the firm. Knowing this, Natalie could see herself progressing at CK. When asked why she has stayed at CK, Natalie says, “Our clients. I enjoy helping our clients navigate through their tax situations and helping educate them along the way. I also love the variety of client work we have here. Every day there is something new and I’m constantly learning.”

To Natalie, CK’s core values of Care and People are her two favorites. She is passionate about the amount of care that takes place at CK. She says, “We value a solid work product and want to make sure our clients are taken care of.” When it comes to People, Natalie says, “Each person on the CK team has unique talents that contribute to our solid work product.”

More About Natalie

  • What piece of advice would you give to someone who is just getting started in the accounting industry?

Soak it up! Learn from those around you and learn what you enjoy the most. There are many different lanes in accounting, from audit to tax to industry. Also, ask lots of questions! Your colleagues are there to help.

  • How do you like to spend your time off?

I spend a lot of time with family – I love to plan activities like bowling, dinners, and game nights.  My daughter plays travel softball and a lot of time is spent over the summer at tournaments watching games and socializing with the families of the team. I work out regularly to balance my sitting at the office. I also love to read and listen to books during my commute. 

  • Tell us about your family.

I live with my husband, Matt and 13-year-old daughter, Eleanor and 2 dogs, Pepper and Stitch.  My 26-year-old daughter has her masters in School Counseling and works at a magnet school. She just moved to Wrigleyville, and we enjoy visiting her and going to Cubs games, taking walks with her 2 dogs and visiting different restaurants and bars.

  • Do you have a special/hidden talent or hobby?

I’ve become the unofficial Mexico all-inclusive travel agent for friends and colleagues. I will find them good prices and give them resort suggestions and then send them over to my travel agent who will deal with the hard work.

  • What was your favorite vacation? Or, what is the #1 place on your vacation list?

Mexico all-inclusives are a favorite after a tax season as there is minimal planning ahead of time. I can enjoy relaxation, socialization, reading, exercise and some Vitamin D! However, I’d like to jump across the pond and expand into Europe in the next couple of years. 

  • What’s on your music playlist?

Everything!  My Spotify starts with the 1940s and contains every decade through current. I warn colleagues that I usually have Spotify on shuffle and you never know what you are going to get – some jazz, classical, hair bands, hip hop, 80’s hits, etc.