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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2022 40 Under 40: John Helms III

Abacus CPAs LLC

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John Helms III, 36, is charged with staying two steps ahead. As a partner at Abacus CPAs LLC, he specializes in fraud investigation and prevention and tax and accounting work, so Helms’ clients look to him for early answers.

He has an eye on the future of the profession, too, and puts effort into connecting with college students and young professionals – in part to dispel misconceptions.

“I try to influence their success by reassuring them not to conform to yesterday’s professional, but to create tomorrow’s professional,” he says. “It’s more than a numbers business; it’s a people business.”

Truth is, he nearly quit the profession after a bout with burnout. But he found a resurgence in 2016, when he rejoined Abacus CPAs, and he has the experience under his belt to speak about.

First job? A stockman at the hometown Walmart in Ozark. I was there almost six years and learned many valuable lessons.

Best productivity hack? Communicate first! When you are avoiding a discussion, stop and communicate!

What did you learn the hard way? In times of uncertainty, focus on what you can do today. How can I approach the situation with positivity? How can I move this project forward?

Favorite book? “Civility” by Steven L. Carter.

Favorite local order? Prime rib from Jimm’s Steakhouse and Pub.

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