February Sax Spotlight: Jack Tawil and Maria Plucinsky

Jack Tawil

Please join us in shining February’s Sax Spotlight on Jack Tawil, Manager in the firm’s Valuation, Forensic and Litigation group.  Jack recently joined the Sax team in November of 2018 and mentions that he has felt right at home, and he enjoys the sense of community and togetherness the firm exudes.  Jack quickly noticed how advanced and forward-looking Sax is in the industry, and he appreciates the collaboration and advice he receives consistently from other team members of the firm.

With seven years of experience in the Valuation, Forensic, and Litigation industry, a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting, and a CVA and CPA license, Jack is working his way to achieving his main career goal of climbing the ladder at Sax and one day becoming Partner. Jack has benefited the firm in many ways since he started, including addressing the needs of the VFL group’s client base, and building strong relationships with everyone that he services.

Outside of work, Jack enjoys a challenge and recently took on training for and participating in Spartan Races, a difficult, high-intensity obstacle course.  When Jack is not training, he spends his time with his family, including his five siblings, 17 nieces and nephews, and his adopted dog and cat.

Read on to learn more about Jack in our Q&A:

  1. What college did you attend? What was your major?

I attended Montclair State University and received my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting. Once I graduated with my Bachelors, I knew I wanted to further my education, so I decided to apply to the Master’s program immediately.

  1. Any continued education? Credentials?

Right after I graduated with my Master’s, I immediately started studying for the CPA exam, which I obtained about two years after I started preparing. Years later, I started to focus on the VFL industry, so I attended a one-week course to get my Certified Valuation Analyst certification.

  1. When did you start working at Sax? What is your current title?

I started working at Sax in November of 2018 as a Manager in the Valuation, Forensic, and Litigation group.

  1. What are your day-to-day responsibilities at Sax? What do you specialize in?

My day-to-day responsibilities range from preparing business valuations, to the identification of income and assets in family law. In the VFL group, we don’t follow the normal tax season schedule that the other team members have. We have our own schedule based on the number of cases we get, and we can get busy any time of the year, depending on our case load.

  1. What are a few things you have learned here?

I think the most important thing I have learned so far has been the importance of a great client relationship. After being with the firm for only four months, a key takeaway is that building a relationship with your client is extremely important. Something else the firm has opened my eyes to is that the industry is constantly changing, and you can never get too comfortable. You always need to stay on top of the game, and the people at Sax have been great with offering me help and pushing me to exceed my expectations.

  1. Explain some of your biggest achievements in your career.

Two of my biggest career achievements are obtaining my CPA and CVA licenses. I like to consider myself a very hard worker, and extremely thankful that everything paid off.

  1. Explain some of your biggest achievements in life.

When I was in graduate school, I spent a lot of my time studying and working hard to start a successful career. Although I am proud of my hard work and dedication to my studies, my biggest achievement was when I decided to begin training and competing for the Spartan Races. The Spartan Race is a high-intensity obstacle course that ranges from 3 miles to 16 miles. Competing in the Spartan Races has been such an awarding experience and has helped me make a major life change. Since competing, I focus on taking care of myself and my body, which has been a key factor in being successful in other aspects of my life.

  1. Do you have a vision or goal for your career?

My main goal is to focus on advancing my career at Sax and hopefully becoming a Partner one day. I strive to strengthen the relationships I have with my clients and always make them feel secure and taken care of.

  1. What volunteer work do you participate in?

For about 7 years, I have been volunteering for Horizon School of North Jersey in Livingston, which is an elementary school for children with Cerebral Palsy. Some ways I have volunteered my time in the past have been by reading to the kids, helping organize charitable events, donating toys during the holidays, and sometimes I just take a ride there to spend time and play with the kids. Since discovering the school and becoming a part of their community, I have realized the importance of giving back and taking time to help others. I always leave the school with a huge smile on my face knowing I’ve helped make their day better.

  1. Are there any other interesting facts about you outside of your work life?

I am the youngest sibling of six children and I have 17 nieces and nephews and spoil every one of them. Coming from such a big, close-knit family is always entertaining and chaotic, but I would not have it any other way. I love to spend my free time on the weekends with them, as well as my adopted dog and cat. My other interests include going out with my friends on the weekends and watching sports, especially football. For the past 15 years, my friends and I put together a Fantasy Football league, which always gets a little too competitive, but is always great to feel like a kid again.

Maria Plucinsky

This February, we would like to shine the Sax Spotlight on Maria Plucinsky, Partner in our Not-for-Profit Practice.  Maria spent most of her career at The Hunter Group which merged with Sax in November of 2017. Since the merger, Maria says she learns something new every day from Sax and that going from a smaller firm to a big, dynamic firm, she appreciates and benefits from the tools and resources that are available.

Maria has over 38 years of experience in public accounting and has accomplished many professional achievements including obtaining her CPA license, making Partner and being a dedicated working mother. Her goal has always been to be her clients’ #1 advisor and to assist them in all areas of their business life cycle. Her focus has always been superior client service, forming meaningful professional relationships and teaching the next generation of advisors to do the same.

Don’t let that last name fool you, Maria was born in Italy and comes from a big, loving family. Her parents decided to move to the United States when she was 13 months old so Maria and her parents large, extended families could have more opportunities. She has two children of her own whom she still loves to cook for.

Read on to learn more about Maria in our Q&A:

  1. What college did you attend? What was your major?

I attended William Paterson College before it became a University. Originally, I studied Elementary Education, but I quickly had a change of heart and decided to explore the world of Accounting. Four years later I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree.

  1. Do you have any credentials? 

I received my CPA license about 10 years after college. It was definitely the hardest studying I have ever had to do, but so well worth it. I try to encourage our young staff to study for the CPA exam as soon as possible after graduation.

  1. When did you start working at Sax?

Right out of college I began my career with a firm called Schotz, Simon and Miller, which later merged with The Hunter Group in 1987. After being with The Hunter Group for most of my career, we eventually became a part of Sax in November of 2017.

  1. What is your current title?

I’ve been a Partner since 2008. Being a working mom set me back a little bit in my career because I worked part-time for about nine and half years to focus more on my family. Becoming Partner was a huge milestone for me and I will never forget the feeling of that promotion.

  1. What are your day-to-day responsibilities at Sax? What do you specialize in?

I am a part of Sax’s Not-for-Profit group, so I focus mainly on nonprofit clients, both on the audit and tax side. As a partner, I like to consider myself the quarterback of our team. My responsibilities include making sure all the services for our clients are perfectly executed and that everybody is doing their part in getting the job done. I mainly focus on the client engagement and relationship, and to always make sure our clients are satisfied with Sax, and that nothing slips through the cracks.

  1. What are a few things you have learned at Sax?

The most important thing I have learned since becoming a part of Sax is that no matter how much you advance in your career, there will always be more to learn and room to grow. Sax offers a great amount of resources that I’ve never had, and the consistent trainings have made it easier to adjust to a bigger firm. Something else I have found valuable in the merger is that our team members are always willing to help and give advice to each other.

  1. Explain some of your biggest achievements in your career.

Obviously, two of my biggest professional achievements were obtaining my CPA and becoming a Partner. Both accomplishments required tons of hard work and dedication, but what I have learned in my career is that you will get what you put in. I would not be where I am today if I did not work as hard as I did.

  1. Explain some of your biggest achievements in life.

Being able to have a successful career and be a working mother at the same time is something I consider a huge achievement. When I first started my career, the Accounting industry was only 10% female and being a part-time, working mom in public accounting was not common in the 80’s and 90’s. Being able to take on that challenge and do what was right for me and my family is something I will always be proud of.

  1. Do you have a vision or goal for your career?

My overall goal would be to continue to be my clients’ #1 advisor and get more involved with Business Development to help Sax grow as much as I can until my retirement. Being able to retire peacefully knowing my clients were and will continue to be taken care of is all I could hope for.

  1. Are there any other interesting facts about you outside of your work life?

Not many people know this about me, but I was born in a small village in Italy called Alberobello and moved to the U.S. when I was 13-months old. I come from a big, Italian family and have two children of my own. Outside of my busy work life, I enjoy spending the summer weekends at our beach home in Wildwood Crest. Some other things I like to do in my free time are cooking and entertaining. I enjoy trying new recipes and enjoy the challenge of hosting anywhere from 24-30 guests on Thanksgiving and Easter every year. I’m also always looking for new concerts and Broadway shows to go see.

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