2017 Class of Young Leaders profile; Jayson M. Thornton
What started your interest in accountancy?
My interest in accounting came from my parents at a very young age. My mother and father have been business owners all my life. All of my siblings have played a role in the family business. My love for computers and being good with numbers naturally put me into the role of a bookkeeper since I was nine years old.
After graduating college I came back home to be the family business accountant. One day the IRS decided to audit us. The proposed penalty was very high and the audit process was extremely stressful for my parents. I was able to successfully resolve the audit issue without any penalties. This was the birth of my firm.
What are your biggest challenges and greatest rewards as a small business owner?
My biggest challenge as a business owner is actually my biggest motivation, I have no safety net. There is no guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week, you have to get out into the marketplace and earn it. My greatest reward as a Tax Advisor is the satisfaction from clients after resolving a tax problem. The stress and financial effects of a tax problem can be devastating. The joy and relief I can bring to clients keeps me going.
What advice do you offer to the student you mentor students about pursuing a career in accounting and business-related fields?
The advice I give to Black students about pursuing a career in accounting is that our community needs them. It's a very rewarding career. I decided to start my accounting firm because I noticed that my community was far too underserved in tax advisory services. There are many outlets for tax preparation, but virtually no options for resolving a tax problem.
Accounting is the language of business. Strong and stable businesses are a major pillar in healthy communities. I believe that the best representation you can get is from a qualified licensed professional that is from your community.
You’re quite dedicated to the Kirkwood community. Tell us about your service on the City of Kirkwood Finance Committee and the Meacham Park Neighborhood Improvement Association.
I'm a third generation resident of the Meacham Park, Kirkwood community. Both of my parents have roots in this neighborhood. My children play in a park that has my grandparents’ names engraved in stone.
My wife and I believe that it is a privilege and responsibility to be involved in the public policies that affect Meacham Park as a neighborhood and Kirkwood as a city.
I was appointed to the city's finance committee to be a voice for my community in overseeing how the city's budget is administered. We interview department heads over their budget requests, then make our recommendations to city council.
As treasurer of the neighborhood improvement association, I was blessed to be able to contribute my accounting skills to the organization. During my terms we achieved IRS 501c3 nonprofit status, established a scholarship fund, and we were awarded a $20,000 STEM grant. It's our goal to ensure Meacham Park remains a safe and vibrant neighborhood.
St. Louis American Foundation February 26 2017