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As a Supervisor at Cray Kaiser, Jim Brennan considers his role the glue that keeps clients and the CK team connected. Jim joined Cray Kaiser in 1993 after working with another local CPA firm. He was inspired by the impact of the firm’s culture on client relationships and client success.
Jim works closely with clients and his fellow team members on audit, review, and compilation engagements. You can often find Jim on the phone or in meetings maintaining communication on the status of the engagements or answering some of clients’ more technical questions. He embraces his role as an educator that is so core to the Cray Kaiser culture.
Jim has worked with family business clients in a variety of industries including wholesale, retail, and manufacturing as well as with clients in the not-for-profit sector. His clients include hardware stores, retailers selling food ingredients, tooling and industrial suppliers, and restaurant suppliers.
Jim enjoys getting to know clients, learning their businesses, and assisting them with their accounting and tax needs. One of his favorite tasks is when he is temporarily assigned to work as an accountant at a client’s office to assist the controller. In this role, he helps clients develop reports and spreadsheets that will then be used on a monthly basis. Jim is a true believer that the more he knows of clients’ businesses and the closer he is able to work at their sides, the better a resource he can be in helping to develop their accounting processes.
Community: Jim is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting.
Near & dear: I am very close with my nieces and nephews. I stay in contact with my niece who works for the Boston Celtics as she keeps me up-to-date on all things NBA during tax season.
Sports: I’m an avid sports fan and especially enjoy tailgating at Notre Dame football games with my fellow alums.
Music: I like everything from 70’s classic rock to contemporary pop, and really anything in between. You might catch me listening to anything from Lady Gaga to Bruce Springsteen or the Ramones.
A recent read: Books about sports and business are my favorites, so I especially enjoyed George Bodenheimer’s Every Town is a Sports Town, a reflection of the business of sports.
As a tax supervisor at Cray Kaiser, Maria Gordon has not only established herself as a leader in her field but has also become an invaluable asset to the firm’s roster of clients. With a keen understanding of the evolving tax laws and a passion for helping businesses thrive, Maria has played a pivotal role in ensuring that companies remain compliant and competitive in the face of ever-changing tax regulations.
Maria joined Cray Kaiser in 2017, drawn by the firm’s focus on closely held and family-owned businesses. With a focus on business taxation, she quickly became an integral part of the team, showcasing her expertise and dedication to her clients. Her role at Cray Kaiser has been multifaceted, ranging from preparing and reviewing business tax returns to providing insightful consultations on state nexus studies. Maria’s ability to unravel the complexities of tax laws and her astute strategic advice has earned her the respect of both her colleagues and clients.
One of Maria’s defining traits is her unwavering passion for ensuring her clients not only comply with state tax requirements but also take full advantage of all possible tax reduction strategies. Recognizing the shifting landscape of state and local taxation, she has made it her mission to stay abreast of the latest developments in tax laws. This dedication allows her to proactively identify opportunities for her clients to optimize their financial positions while adhering to the legal obligations imposed by various states.
Maria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She has held multiple positions within public accounting and in privately owned companies, always specializing in business tax. She is a member of the AICPA and the Illinois CPA Society.
Tax season survival strategy: Maria swears by waking up early and starting the day when the office is quiet. When times get tough, she leans on other team members to lend a hand or a listening ear. Also, coffee!
An unknown fact about Maria: She is a dual citizen of both the United States of America and Luxembourg.
Near and dear: Maria’s children – there’s not much she wouldn’t do for them. She also thrives on the love and support she receives from her mother and sisters.
Guardian angel: Maria’s dad is her guardian angel. She’s been told a time or two that she’s the calm during a storm and she can thank her dad for that quality.
Hobbies: Maria enjoys reading, traveling, and trail hiking. She is also a fan of all things Broadway!
Work/life motto: Every relationship is a perfect assignment. Maria believes people are brought into her life for a purpose and she’s always looking for an opportunity to learn from others.