Principal Spotlight: Joel Gibbons, CPA, ABV 

Joel Gibbons joined the Lewis & Knopf team in 2007 and has spent his entire career in public accounting. He currently serves as a Principal working with tax and business valuation clients. He also leads the firm’s Fenton office.  

Read on to see what Joel says about his reason for pursuing a career in accounting, his first mentors, and why he’s stayed in public accounting for over 16 years.  

What inspired you to pursue a career in accounting?  

I always loved organization and classification; however, traditional accounting careers sounded very boring to me. Once I learned of the opportunities that public accounting provided, I made my decision and never looked back. I love working with a diverse client base in various industries.  

What role has mentorship played in your career? Who has been a mentor to you? How have you mentored others? 

Mentorship has played a large role in my career. When I was younger there were many people in the firm I looked to as mentors. Jeff Sabolish, Dave Page (retired), Tim Purman (retired), and Tom Shade were all mentors very early in my career. I also had peer-level mentors, like Akshay Kapoor and Chad Peters.  

I try to also be a mentor to others. We have a formal mentor program within the firm, but many times, the mentorship can take shape naturally through interaction with younger staff. I try to be available for any questions and guidance that’s needed. 

What are the favorite parts of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is working with my clients to try to help them achieve their individual goals. Everyone is different, so understanding what success is for them is very important. I love to try to help them in any way possible. I also love the people I work with and the connections that I’ve made. I can’t succeed without a great team around me. 

How has Lewis & Knopf specifically played a role in your career? What about the firm has kept you here over the years?   

Lewis & Knopf has always been home for me. Even after I moved down to South Carolina for a few years. When I made my decision to come back to Michigan, Lewis &Knopf welcomed me with open arms. Over the years they have provided all the support I needed to grow in my career. 

Personally, the family atmosphere and the people have kept me here over the years. I have worked for larger firms, and it didn’t have the same feel. I also love our client mix.

What do you do to unwind?  

I go to the gym to unwind. I also love golf and spending time on the lake on my boat. Spending time with my wife and kids helps to unwind as well. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the accounting profession?  

My advice for anyone starting out is to find the niche that you love in accounting. Accounting sounds so general and boring but an accounting degree opens up your options in so many ways. Find the area that you are truly passionate about and grow yourself in that role. Your career becomes what you make it.