Stephanie Schmuecker has a passion for numbers. Math was her favorite subject in school and when she started taking accounting classes in college, she knew what she wanted to do.

She started working with BKD, LLP in Kansas City after graduating from college and eventually transferred with BKD back to Colorado Springs, where she had lived for a few years as a child. She’s happy in Colorado Springs and has immersed herself in community, taking leadership positions in organizations and on boards from the Chamber Rising Professionals group to the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning, a District 11 charter school.

Schmuecker, 32, also takes younger BKD associates under her wing and coaches them.

What drew you to accounting?

I am a very analytical person and I like to see how the numbers make things work. After being a fan of math from the time I was younger, taking my first accounting class in high school and my second in college, I just found it very interesting and intriguing. I like the puzzle of the general ledger and figuring out what all is impacted by one transaction. It really isn’t as basic as the debits and credits.

Tell us about your role with BKD?

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I am a manager that has worked with health care clients across the nation for almost eight years. My specialty is in working with community health centers by providing financial statement audits and consulting services primarily related to accounting internal controls and financial and operational issues. I am also a resource for my client for OMB Circular A-133 audit requirements and federal grant reporting requirements. Additionally I serve as a coach to staff who are newer to and provide guidance in their chosen career paths.

What other organizations are you involved with?

I am a member of the AICPA, CO Society of CPA, HFMA and the Chamber’s Rising Professionals. Additionally, I sit on the finance committee and serve as a community member of the board for the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning, which is a District 11 charter school that specializes in working with gifted and talented kindergarten thru 8th graders.

What opportunities and challenges do you feel young professionals in Colorado Springs have that they might not have in other places?

I think the biggest opportunity that young professionals have in Colorado Springs is their ability to unite and make a difference. Over the last few years I have seen the good that the Adopt a Non-Profit Program, put on by the Chamber Rising Professionals, has been. I think that the biggest challenge we face at times is being heard. Because the community is so family-focused some times, it is hard for the professionals’ voices to make an impact. However, as divided as these two cultures appeared to be when I moved back to Colorado seven years ago, I see them becoming more united every day.

What are your career goals?

As an accountant in the profession for almost eight years, partnership would be the ultimate goal. The opportunity to work with some amazing organizations throughout my career has made even the hardest days worth the struggle. It has not been an easy path and the future is due to be more than a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but the reward at the end, both financially and emotionally, I feel, will be worth every hill climb. I want to become well-known not only in our community but across the state as a resource for community health centers. Being a member of BKD’s Center of Excellence for community health centers is a great springboard for this acknowledgement.