Off the Hinges Assignments: Kelly Mann and the K-9 Training Team 

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you could find yourself in the middle of an off-the-hinges accounting engagement. In this “dog” of a story, Kelly Mann, CPA, an audit manager with Seim Johnson in Omaha, Nebraska, spent more than two years in public accounting in Florida before joining Seim Johnson in 2008. While Kelly’s day-to-day activities may seem routine, she has several unique experiences that have kept her on her toes over the years. The Edge sat down with Kelly to learn about these experiences and get to know her a little better.

Edge: Describe your most interesting experience or discovery during your audit work.

Kelly Mann: I was a staff member auditing a boat manufacturer in Florida with a team of two coworkers. One night we were working a little late when all of a sudden, a large German Shepherd ran into our conference room. He ran around the conference table through all of our computer cords—and a couple of our dual monitors flew into the wall; luckily, they didn’t break!

The sheriff then came in with some other police officers and thought the situation was pretty funny. We started talking with the sheriff, and it turns out he and his team used the plant as a training ground for drug-sniffing dogs. They would hide drugs and/or officers in the cargo spaces of the boats in order to train the dogs to sniff out the “bait.”

I ended up convincing the sheriff that I wanted to wear the green attack suit and be “attacked” by one of their dogs in training. At first, none of the officers believed I wanted to do this, so it definitely took some convincing. But, eventually, they let me suit up. The dog ended up biting my upper thigh, which you could feel through the suit, but it didn’t really hurt. Still, I did end up having small teeth mark bruises the next day! 

Edge: What other kinds of audit engagements are you currently conducting?

Kelly Mann: I mainly audit not for profit organizations and employee benefit plans, although I also audit a couple of manufacturing, insurance and for-profit companies during the year.

Edge: What did you do before you joined Seim Johnson? What brought you from Florida to Nebraska?

Kelly Mann: When I was 18, I moved from the small town of Wahoo, Nebraska, to Tampa, Florida, for college at The University of Tampa (UT). I received my undergraduate degree in Accounting in 2005 and my MBA in 2008, both from UT.

I started working in public accounting for Gregory, Sharer & Stuart in St. Petersburg while still going to school at night for my master’s degree. Once I received that in 2008, I decided it was a good time to move back home where all of my family lived. I now live in Omaha, was married in March 2011, and have a 6-month-old daughter named Tatum.

Edge: Why did you decide to pursue audit?

Kelly Mann: I really like the aspect of problem solving and thinking outside the box. Accounting came naturally to me in college, but I never enjoyed taxes. So, the option that I felt was the best for me was auditing.

Edge: What do you like about being an auditor?

Kelly Mann: My favorite part of auditing is working on a new client for the first year and really getting an understanding of the client’s business. Then, I like designing the audit procedures that will be the most efficient and effective for their organization.

Edge: Tell me what you would consider the most outrageous audit you have ever experienced?

Kelly Mann: The dog attack was by far the most outrageous experience, but there was another audit where we took the client “bar hopping” to small town bars, and I ended up winning $150 off of my first-ever $5 bet at a local small-town casino. I had never gambled before, so that was pretty exciting. I really haven’t dabbled in any more gambling; I figured I should stop while I’m ahead.

Edge: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one piece of technology, what would it be and why?

Kelly Mann: I would take my Kindle. I like to read, so I would have an unlimited supply of books!

The Edge recently published several other stories about off-the-hinges accounting assignments, including Jamie McCoy of Jay and Associates, PC, and Allan Lau of Avalara. Do you have an off-the-hinges accounting engagement to share? Let us know by sending us an e-mail


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