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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 Steve Benzinger.
GETTING TO KNOW STEVE
Steve is an In-Charge Assurance Accountant at Cray Kaiser. His role includes assisting staff in completing their responsibilities while serving as a point of contact for the client. His day-to-day consists of participating in compilation, review, and audit engagements, primarily performing detailed testing of areas such as accounts receivables/payables, expenses, cash – during reviews/audits. During compilations, Steve leads the preparation of the client’s financials and assists in classifying transactions.
Steve joined the CK team in November of 2023. He was most excited about joining a team large enough to serve as trusted advisors to clients while also being small enough to connect personally with clients and identify areas of growth and change. He enjoys working directly with the Principals and Managers on a daily basis and having the opportunity to learn from those around him.
Before joining CK, Steve worked for two years at Grant Thornton. He received a Bachelor of Accountancy from Northern Illinois and holds a CPA in Illinois.
Steve finds the opportunity to work closely and learn from the knowledgeable people who make up the CK team invaluable. So, it’s no surprise that the CK values that resonate the most with him are Education and People. Steve said, “Trying new things can be uncomfortable and challenging, and this is how one develops.”
When asked about advice he would give to someone just starting in the accounting industry, Steve suggests being open to new opportunities. He said, “Find what speaks to you and lean into it. Be willing to ask questions.” He also wants people new to the industry to understand that they won’t know everything immediately and that’s okay.
While there have been many notable moments in his career, Steve revealed that his most impactful moment has been passing the CPA exam. That achievement was a culmination of many late nights and weekends of studying.
MORE ABOUT STEVE
If you could be an expert at anything, what would it be and why?
Cooking! I like to eat and have recently been moving away from pre-prepared/heavily processed foods. Living away from family/parents will do this – My body and wallet thank me!
How do you like to spend your weekends/time off? Bonus question: what do you want to do most when tax season is over?
I like to cook and try new recipes. I recently have been working on a recipe for chicken drumsticks that I can make large batches to have for lunches and dinners. I also like to play trivia.
When tax season is over, other than sleeping, I hope to expand on my cooking capabilities.
What motto do you live by?
No one is perfect – It is okay to make mistakes, so long as you learn from them.
Comparison is the thief of joy – Looking to others and what they have and know does not lead to fulfillment. People learn and develop at their own pace and comparing yourself to what others have done can lead to despair. Be proud of what you have accomplished in your own sense.
Tell us about your family.
My father owns a print shop, my mother is a kindergarten teacher, and my brother is a chemist. My family has a cat named Phoebe, a Nebelung breed. My girlfriend likes to say that I have a stepson, her German Shepard, named Chunga.
Do you have a special/hidden talent or hobby?
I played competitive dodgeball in college. This was a great way to relieve stress and meet people from other areas of the school.
What’s your favorite movie or tv show?
Arrested Development – the absurdity of the situations is hilarious.
Reservoir Dogs (anything from Tarantino), Blade Runner, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Grand Budapest Hotel (anything from Wes Andeson), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
What’s on your music playlist?
Sum 41 – I have seen them live three times, it is always a high energy affair, and you will find me in the mosh pit!
Primus – Never a dull song, unique absurdity around every corner.
Iron Maiden – I appreciate the story telling along with the fast-paced guitar and drums.
What’s the last book you read?
The last few books I’ve read include Valley of the Dolls, The Princess Bride, Fight Club, and Requiem for a Dream.