Kevin J. O'Connell
20 years’ experience in public services auditing, accounting and consulting including extensive experience in federal, state and local financial compliance auditing.
Professional Associations and Leadership.
AICPA State and Local Government Expert Panel
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
California Society of Certified Public Accountants
Government Relations Key Contact Subcommittee
Adjunct Professor of Auditing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga
Bachelor of Science, Accounting
Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California
Why are you passionate about public accounting?
I love coaching people, whether it's employees, colleagues or clients. Public accounting has created opportunities for me to help people achieve things they never before thought possible. As a professional and a CPA, you are tasked with being highly skilled in a variety of areas. Not only must you have great analytical, technical and people skills, but you’ve also got to have good presentation, marketing and business development skills. It’s extremely rewarding to help clients find the right solutions to meet their complex business needs, but even more rewarding when you’ve earned their trust to the point where they call for advice beyond just debits and credits.
Why do you like working at MGO?
Because of the entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity that exist here. I joined the firm in my late 20s and was given the opportunity to open and lead our first office in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was admitted to the partnership at 30, and in my mid 30s, through associations and exposure gained while working at the firm, I had the privilege of serving on the AICPA national expert panel. During my three year tenure I traveled to the AICPA’s Washington D.C. and New York offices to discuss issues of national importance to our profession. My travels also included a trip to Norwalk Connecticut, home to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) to attend a joint meeting between our panel members and the accounting standards board members and staff. In July of 2006, I was named managing partner, and all this before my 39th birthday. We are a firm that provides limitless opportunity and I’ve experienced it first-hand.
Describe a favorite client or client story.
The stories that stay with me are often about overcoming difficult circumstances. A few years ago, one of my healthcare clients was facing serious financial difficulties, to the point where we were questioning their ability to continue as a going concern. If this wasn’t enough, we were pressing them to make substantial improvements related to governance, financial reporting and internal training efforts. Initially, I think management felt we were just “piling on,” but eventually they saw that we were committed to helping them improve their plight. In fact, we offered training to the client, provided recommendations on how to improve the financial reporting process and prepared special educational presentations to the Board to help train them on the issues and best practices. In the end, it wasn’t easy, but they did turn the organization around and they’re still in the game today. I like to share this story because it illustrates that you can “do the right thing” and be firm in your position as independent auditors without having to sacrifice quality client service.
What qualities do you look for in job applicants?
If I had to narrow it down to just three, I’d say passion, commitment to service and energy.
Who are you outside the office?
Outside the office I’m a husband, father and coach. I’m a family man who’s engaged in my kids’ lives and activities. My wife and I have traveled around for their athletic events a lot -- my son played in a nationally ranked high school football program and my daughter qualified for the Junior Olympics in swimming. Having stayed closer to home and limiting our travel to the U.S. when our children were younger, our whole family of six traveled to Ireland a few years ago.