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Employee Spotlight: Jay Benjamin

Posted 12:00 PM by


You could easily wonder if Jay Benjamin’s favorite Beatles song is “Taxman.” When Katz, Sapper & Miller’s estate and tax planner is not busy advising the firm’s clients, he enjoys listening to all of his favorite Fab Four songs and adding to his impressive collection of Beatles records and memorabilia.

Jay, a CPA and an attorney, has been with KSM since 1992, becoming a partner in the firm’s Tax Department in 2003. The Beatles aficionado sees one important similarity between building a great band and building a great company. “You have to be willing to surround yourself with the best and brightest people,” he says. “That’s why John Lennon picked Paul McCartney in 1957 to join his band – it was because he knew Paul would bring something to the band that he didn’t. The same was true with George Harrison, who was a better guitar player than either of them, and Ringo Starr too.”

It is also why KSM is always looking for the best and brightest people. “The goal,” says Jay, “is to make the firm as strong as it can be.”

What motivated you to become a tax planner?

I was extremely inquisitive as a kid, and people used to say I’d make a great lawyer. My dad was a dentist, and the only thing I knew for certain was that I didn’t want to do that! I’d always been interested in being an attorney, but I needed something to study as an undergraduate. I liked math. I liked numbers. My dad suggested accounting. It turned out to be a great idea.

Are there advantages to having a law degree?

For me, it was an advantage. I studied and earned my law degree from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis. My law degree gave me a greater understanding of tax law issues. It helped sharpen my analytical skills, taught me how to spot issues, read laws and court cases, and how to apply rules to the facts and arrive at a conclusion or recommendation. However, being a lawyer is not a requirement to practice in KSM’s Tax Department. At KSM, we have a nice mix of lawyers and non-lawyers who concentrate in the tax area.

What do you like best about your job?

I’ve always liked the mix of the numbers side and the legal side, so KSM has been a great fit for me. I spend my days collaborating with a talented group of highly technical tax minds to come up with sophisticated solutions for complex challenges. It’s extremely rewarding work.

When did you become a Beatles fan/collector? 

I was 17 years old when I started getting into the Beatles. The more I listened to the band’s music, the more interested I became. When I saw the stage show, “Beatlemania” – and heard all those great songs at once, most of which I was familiar with – I was officially hooked!

If I had to pick a favorite Beatles album, it would be Abbey Road. It was the last album they recorded, and it was a masterpiece. I can’t say that I have a favorite Beatles song or a favorite band member. It’s one of those instances where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, similar to what makes KSM so great.

What are the highlights of your collection?

I mostly collect Beatles records and memorabilia from the 1960s. I find collectibles at record shows, flea markets, or on eBay. Highlights from my collection include a Beatles record player from 1964 as well as original Beatles concert tickets, mostly from shows in North America.

Talk about "The Fest for Beatles Fans." What happens? Who attends?

“The Fest for Beatles Fans” was started in 1974, so it just celebrated its 40th anniversary. It’s a convention held every March in New York and every August in Chicago. The event features a Beatles market place where people can buy and sell old and new items; special guests with a Beatles connection, including well-known musicians, authors, relatives, and friends, who speak, perform, and sign autographs; live music, including a house band, battle of the bands contest, and other impromptu performances; panel discussions; old film/video screenings; trivia and art contests; and memorabilia and record displays.

I always go with a group of friends, the same group every year. I’ve been attending The Fest in Chicago since 1982, 33 straight years! People of all ages attend.

What’s one thing about the Beatles people may not know.

People may not know that the Beatles actually played two shows at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Sept. 3, 1964. Everybody talks about the Coliseum show, but they also played a second show later that evening on the Grandstand Stage. I have an unused concert ticket from the Coliseum show in my collection, but I’d love to get my hands on an unused concert ticket from the evening show at the Grandstand.

How does the company’s emphasis on Career/Life/Balance make KSM “A Great Place to Work”?

It’s definitely true that we want people to maintain that Career/Life/Balance. Certain times of the year are extremely busy, but we never lose sight of the fact that helping people maintain balance keeps them fresh. That’s what allows them to do their best work.

About Us
As one of the top 60 CPA firms in the nation, Katz, Sapper & Miller has earned a reputation as a leader in the areas of accounting, tax, and consulting services. We are consistently named one of the “Best of the Best” accounting firms in the nation by INSIDE Public Accounting magazine. Learn more

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