Taxes and snow cones part of the job for Gilpin accountant
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The most stressful time of the year for Jean Stull is tax season.
Her Leechburg accounting firm sees a range of tax clients, from people who bring in every single receipt to people angry over the fact they owe money.
It’s a frantic time of year and can be draining on her employees. But Stull makes sure to do things to make her staff feel appreciated. She buys them lunch during the busy tax season and got the office a snow cone machine so they can make treats during the workday.
“We have fun here,” Stull said.
Stull has been running her firm for about 20 years. Growing up, she didn’t think accounting was for her. Had you asked her if she thought she’d be doing people’s income taxes in the future, Stull said she probably would have laughed at you. The first time she filled out a tax form, she had her father check it to make sure she did it right.
But she learned that she had a head for numbers while taking an accounting class during her senior year at Leechburg High School.
“For some reason, it just clicked,” said Stull, 49, of Gilpin.
Stull’s firm is along Third Street in Leechburg. Stull started her firm out of her Gilpin home in 1999, before moving to Leechburg’s Market Street in 2007. She ended up at the Third Street location in 2017, after she and Thomas Walker, another accountant who works in the building, decided that she would take over his firm so he could retire. She officially acquired Walker’s firm in 2018, but he still drops by now and again to see clients.
Walker gave Stull her first accounting job after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an accounting degree in 1991. Stull said she’s come full circle.
“I learned how to do taxes here,” she said. “I did payrolls. We did bookkeeping. I did a little bit of everything.”
Stull is running for Armstrong County treasurer as a Democrat. She is challenging incumbent Treasurer Amanda Hiles, a Republican.
Stull’s firm offers a variety of services such as taxes, payroll, consulting and bookkeeping. But it’s not just about number crunching. It’s also about keeping things light. She offers a fun work atmosphere and a flexible work schedule for her employees, which is one of the reasons Jennifer McCray enjoys working there.
“I love it, or I wouldn’t stay,” said McCray, 42, of Apollo. “Everybody’s willing to help out each other. That’s nice. It creates a good environment to work in.”
Stull spent eight and half years working as a controller for an environmental laboratory in Harmar. She said her time there taught her about the importance of work-life balance because her work responsibilities forced her to miss special moments with her son as he was growing up.
“There were a lot of things I missed because I had to work, so I tried to offer that flexibility to the people that work here,” Stull said. “I think that’s something that a mom understands.”
And as for tax advice, Stull said it’s important for people to be cognizant of how much tax money is being withheld from their paychecks. It also pays to be organized.
“My advice to tax customers is the more organized you are, the less your fee is going to be,” Stull said.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .