I am a big fan of accountants, an appreciation I developed back in the early 1990s when I worked with ADT Automotive and its CEO, Mike Richardson. Mike was/is an accountant who rose through the ranks at ADT to eventually run the company. He was a visionary whose deep financial knowledge underpinned every decision he made, and had much to do with the success of his company.

At MP&F, the man with the accounting chops is CFO, Chad Raphael, who I am very happy to have nominated for the NBJ’s CFO-of-the-Year Award. When I became managing partner at MP&F several years ago, I knew I would rely on Chad, but I didn’t realize how much. Now I know.

Chad is an accountant by training, but he was a communications major in college and began his career as an intern at a Knoxville PR firm before moving into the world of finance and accounting. (He told me his mother was an accountant and he originally had no interest in it; but as it turned out, it was in his genes.) Chad came to MP&F with a rare combination of talents – he understands the creative work we do, but he also understands how the business works and the nuts and bolts of how we make money. And it doesn’t hurt that he is married to one of our company leaders, Vice President Mary Ruth Raphael.

What I love about working with Chad are his calm demeanor and his ability to see financial concerns before we do, to fix problems and to make sense of the numbers. He has a communications major’s touch when it comes to taking data and making it understandable – telling a story with it – in a way that makes it eminently accessible, even for a bunch of communications majors.

That’s also why I was proud to attend Wednesday night’s NBJ CFO-of-the-Year Award ceremony, where Chad was honored along with a big room full of other accountants. It was a great night.