Highly successful Lakeland College grad Bob Keebler '82 recently returned to campus and shared some of his vast knowledge during a guest lecture in Brett Killion's intermediate accounting class.
He also told the students how fortunate they are to be attending Lakeland.
"Don't ever lose faith in the great education you will receive here," he told the class. "When you're in a class with 12 people, you will learn so much. I'm not sure you fully appreciate yet being here at Lakeland. The same classes at UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee or UW-Whitewater might have 50 students, even more."
Keebler, senior partner at Keebler & Associates, LLP, gave the students great advice about the industry and how to embark upon a rewarding, successful career. He paraphrased Sir Winston Churchill, stressing to the students that success is gained by moving from one failure to the next with enthusiasm. He also told the class, "The harder you work, the luckier you become."
"Thomas Jefferson said that luck is when perspiration meets inspiration," Keebler added.
Keebler founded Keebler & Associatiates, LLP, a tax advisory and CPA firm in Green Bay, Wis. The firm is nationally known for its advisory, tax and estate planning expertise and counsel.
Individually, Keebler has been named by CPA Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Practitioners in the United States" and one of the "Top 40 Tax Advisors to Know During a Recession."
After graduating Cum Laude from Lakeland with a degree in accounting, Keebler earned his master's in taxation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Among the many interesting subjects Keebler touched on during his hour-long lecture were:
- Loyalty to clientele – "You'll earn a great living in this field, but you don't want to become ruthless. Take care of your clients. It's more important to care about your clients and be responsive to their needs, than it is to make money."
- Take the CPA exam – "If you're willing to put in the hard work and pass it, it will pay off. It's something you want to do."
- Don't be afraid to take chances – "You are going to experience failure. So what. If you take a job that's a little bit of a reach and it doesn't go well, that's not necessarily a bad thing."
- Advice to interns – "A lot of it is common sense, things grandmothers talked about in the 1950s. Be there early. Don't cause trouble. Don't be afraid to fix the copy machine. And dress professionally. Figure out how the most successful people at the company dress, and dress like them. Don't let your cell phone become your enemy. Leave it in the car if necessary. And don't surf the Web."
- Sleep – "No sleep is required. At times early in my career, I was up for 48 straight hours. And that was before Red Bull. You need mental toughness, along with the faith that hard work pays off."
After the class ended, Keebler shook students' hands and offered them helpful individual advice before he headed off for an appointment in Milwaukee.
"You have to create your own luck," he said just before class ended. "If you remember anything from today, it's that hard work pays off."