Back to Perspectives

Celebrating Black History Month: Spotlighting Tony Smalls, Industry Leader


As Black History Month comes to a close, we’re spotlighting our Entertainment, Sports, and Media Industry Leader and Partner, Tony Smalls. He helps culture-defining entertainers, athletes, and other high-net-worth individuals build and protect their wealth in today’s fast-evolving media marketplace.

We sat down with Tony to ask him some questions about his journey from pre-law student to a leader who excels at crafting relationships that last:

What inspired you to pursue a career in accounting?

My journey into accounting started off as pre-law. Business and entrepreneurship always had a place in my spirit! I remember sitting in my elective business course freshman year, debating with my classmates about which career path had the most available jobs. We looked at the classified ads and saw that the number of jobs for accountants was significantly higher than for attorneys, and that sparked my interest!

What is a key milestone in your career that you are particularly proud of?

One of the most significant milestones in my career was managing and guiding the business affairs of a very successful entertainer. This experience was unmatched. I had to understand accounting, investments, marketing, management, negotiations, and contracts all at the same time. Actors, musicians, and athletes are full-blown enterprises, and there’s no manual for how to help them grow their net worth — each person is unique in their desires, goals, and timing.

What resources that you have found helpful in your career would you recommend to others?

Networking is key. And I don’t just mean meeting people. I mean, taking the time to understand the person or people you’re engaging with. Really understand what they do, how they do it, their challenges, their successes. Our careers become a series of experiences, and you find that there’s common ground between your journey and others’ . Finding it can help deepen your relationships.

Who has been your greatest source of inspiration in your career?

One of my greatest sources of inspiration is still one of my closest friends and mentors today: Mr. Avery Munnings, who was one of the first African American partners at a Big 4 firm in the Atlanta area. When I was a first year, he told me that when I’m going through the audit programs and asking questions of seasoned executives at large and small companies alike, to seek the answers as if I’m going to use the information in my own company one day. That was a spark to my thinking and approach to problem-solving.

What advice would you give to those just starting out in the field?

Network closely with your colleagues in every department and level. We spend so much of our daily lives in the workplace, and building great internal relationships can improve our overall wellbeing and sense of where we fit in. Not only does it teach us about ourselves, but it also helps us understand each other’s strengths and opportunities, maximizing our work experiences.



Let’s Talk