July 3, 2014

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Clair A. Rood: Problem Solver in Chief

Hilary Ingoldsby Whitesides

July 3, 2014

Clair Rood is the new senior managing director of the Salt Lake office of CBIZ, a firm that provides accounting and tax, benefits and insurance and consulting services. Rood has more than 25 years of public accounting experience, including working for the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

What first drew you into the field?

I attended a community college in Coos Bay, Oregon, and there I went through the engineering program. After a year and a half, I wanted to do something different. That’s when I started taking accounting classes. I later continued on at the University of Utah and the rest is history.

What will be different in your new position and what are you most excited for?

Prior to this, I was the tax practice leader here at CBIZ. Now as the senior managing director of the Salt Lake Office, I’m over the tax department and other departments as well. I report to our national office. I do a lot of forecasting, budgeting, expansion, looking for new lines of business and those types of things as well as monitor the productivity of the departments.

I am most excited to have this position back in Salt Lake City. Four years ago our senior managing director retired. And that time the firm had us be accountable to the director in Denver. After that we shared the senior managing director with the Phoenix office. After four years we are now able to have the position back here in Salt Lake.

How do you respond to people who think tax and accounting work must be boring?

It’s definitely not boring because it’s constantly changing. It’s anything but boring. We always have new legislation and new rules we have to learn. The fun part is applying that to your client’s situation—helping them pay the least they need to under the law. It’s all like a huge puzzle that you get to put together. You’re always learning and there’s always a new challenge. And the very best part is that you’re an advocate with the client—you’re helping them be as profitable as they can be.

What are your tricks to get through tax season? Any favorite midnight snacks?

We do help our staff by providing meals and snacks, and our administrative staff here takes good care of everyone. We never want for any sustenance at all. We also have weekly activities to provide some diversion, and I try to keep some type of exercise program during tax season. It’s a big challenge, but it’s worth it. It’s a good way to get through.

It also helps that we know that there are definite deadlines. March 15 is first and then as soon as you get through it, you can clean the office a little bit and then you look toward April 15. You have deadlines to look for which provide the light at the end of the tunnel. What really matters most though is working with people you enjoy spending the long hours with.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I enjoy fly-fishing and also do quite a bit of traveling with my family. My wife and kids like to travel. We like to do family trips. Those are my two passions. As far as traveling goes, we really love Costa Rica. We thoroughly enjoyed Brazil as well. Those are two of our favorite places.

Finish the sentence, “If I weren’t a CPA, I’d be a …”

Since I really enjoy seeing something produced, I think I’d be a real estate developer.  I’ve dabbled in that and helped once with a neighborhood development and really enjoyed it.


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