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Spotlight on Jimelle Aquino: Why I Joined Accordion

A Q&A With Jimelle Acquino, Vice President, Financial Accounting Advisory Services

Pictured here: Jimelle Aquino

Jimelle Aquino had been an Auditor and Forensic Accountant for over a decade when COVID hit. But amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, she knew she was ready to make a change in her career; she wanted to find a job she enjoyed at a company that prioritized work-life integration.

It wasn’t until a conversation with a recruiter that she identified Accordion as that company — and Jimelle knew she was ready to leap.

“Not only did I appreciate the emphasis on work-life integration, but Accordion intrigued me because it offered a different perspective on client service. As an Auditor and Forensic Accountant, I was often perceived by the client as the ‘bad cop,’ whose job was to find accounting errors and report them. But at Accordion, I would be working alongside management to drive value creation. I was excited about that.”

As a Vice President in Accordion’s Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) Practice, Jimelle is no longer the client service “bad cop”; rather, she helps Finance teams look toward the future and build better businesses. And as a dedicated, passionate, and fun-loving teammate, Jimelle is an integral part of Accordion’s future, too.

Q. As you went through the recruitment process, what sparked your excitement about Accordion?

During the recruitment process, I met with people working at different levels, from a VP to a Director to a Senior Director to a Managing Director. And then eventually I had the chance to meet with Pam, the Practice Lead. These conversations made an impact, because I got to hear varied perspectives and see first-hand how everyone interacted with one another. And I could tell that everyone was just really happy and passionate about their jobs.

But even beyond that, the fact that Pam, the Practice Lead, is a woman, especially in finance — that got me even more interested. It was exciting to learn that the FAAS practice was primarily led by a group of strong, smart women. I was able to picture myself developing and growing and getting to where they are now. That felt really inspiring — especially after I had been working in previously male-dominated environments.

“Ultimately, my discussions during the recruiting process were what sold me. The fact that these really busy people were making the time to get to know me — including the FAAS practice lead and other senior members of the team — made a big impression. In those interactions, and every interaction since, they have proven to be reachable, humble, and approachable. Accordion’s leadership style is more personable than your average firm.”

Q. Which one of Accordion’s core values resonates with you most?

It’s definitely “partner with authenticity” that stands out to me the most. We’re in finance, which is typically a stressful environment, but it doesn’t feel stressful. There’s understanding and compassion; there’s the mentality that it’s okay to make mistakes. We’re humans, not robots. And if you need to take time off, if you need to deal with a family situation, if you need to skip a call — that’s okay. During our offsite in Scottsdale last year, my team was incredibly busy working with a client. And the Managing Director said to them, ‘The team isn’t going to be available these days, we’re at a firm-wide offsite.’ Leadership recognized that we needed time to just have fun — because at the end of the day, we’re people first.

“At Accordion, you really are treated as a person first and an employee second.”

Q. How have you gotten cross-functional experience at Accordion?

Recently I participated in a big transformation project, transforming a company in essentially all areas, from accounting to FP&A to procurement. We had representatives from most of Accordion’s practice areas on our team to make it happen, which was very cool; it gave me the opportunity to learn from financial professionals outside of my accounting bubble.

But it’s not just about working alongside people from other practices — it’s about gaining new experiences. For my second project at Accordion, the scope included an ERP implementation, which I had never experienced. But by the end of that project, I was helping lead the charge. And working on a project that’s not within the typical FAAS Practice, it was nice to see the trust and confidence that the team had in me. It was also just a great experience, being able to learn from senior colleagues who have different backgrounds and experiences and expertise than I do. It was hard, but I appreciate that Accordion pushed me out of my comfort zone.

“The opportunity to work side-by-side with people from other practices — who I usually wouldn’t get the chance to work with — offered valuable new perspectives and gave me a chance to see the breadth of opportunities that are available at Accordion.”

Q. Since joining Accordion, how has the company helped foster your growth?

Before I’m staffed on a project, there’s always a conversation that lays out the scope, the client’s needs, and my role. And as part of that conversation, there are always questions like, ‘In what areas do you want to develop, and how can this be a good opportunity to do so?’ And even throughout the project, that conversation is always continuing.

“There’s an intention for projects here that goes beyond, ‘You have a skill that we want to use.’ Projects at Accordion are also for us to grow and develop our skills, and I think senior management knows this and works actively to create these developmental opportunities.”

Q. What would you say to a candidate that’s thinking about joining Accordion?

It’s going to sound clichéd, but Accordion’s big differentiating factor is our culture. It’s fun. Work is always going to be work. It’s going to be challenging, and you might work some late hours every now and again. But I don’t dread getting out of bed to go to work; I’m actually happy. There have been a few instances where I’m working late in the office, and people are grabbing beer from the fridge. They’ll tell me, ‘Jimelle, stop working. Come on, have beer with us.’ If you’re working with the right people — who are smart, motivated, passionate, and fun — it can be really fulfilling.

“The culture at Accordion really is different, especially for finance. What we advertise on our website is genuine: ‘We take our work seriously, but not ourselves. We work hard. And we make sure we get things done. But we have fun doing it.’”


 

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