At 67, Thom Gilbert has a series of very impressive life achievements, both personally and professionally. He has been married for 27 of those 67 years, has two children and grew up with five sisters, which he jokingly says accounts for the “healthy respect for women […] beaten into me at an early age.”
As far as his professional life goes, he is a CPA with accounting firm, Gilbert Associates, which he started 31 years ago. The firm has been growing steadily ever since and now has 60 employees, of which 9 are shareholders. In addition, Gilbert is a war hero, and has not one, but two Purple Hearts.
Gilbert is by no means a stereotypical accountant, however. His clients love his attentiveness and sense of humor while his fellow shareholders – or partners, as they call themselves – love his friendly demeanor, even in the height of busy season. Five of his partners are women, which he admits was not all too common when he first entered the workforce.
“I love being part of the changes in our industry,” Gilbert said. “Even at my age, I enjoy seeing new things happen. Don’t forget that when I started my career in 1972, there were no women at most of the firms. Zero. And that doesn’t really seem that long ago, does it?”
Because of this love of change and innovation in the industry, Gilbert Associates has recently launched a new initiative called GilbertFIT – Financial Insights through Technology – which will allow members of the firm to reach clients all over the world in real time. The cloud-based platform has been designed specifically to bolster better communication with clients, regardless of where they are geographically or what time of day it is.
“It’s great for me to be able to dial into a client in the Eastern Sierra and all of us have access to the same information simultaneously,” shareholder Linda Greery said.
Gilbert’s love of pushing the envelope when it comes to change is eliciting accolades outside of the accounting industry as well these days. On March 4th, he will be presenting GilbertFIT to the California Council of Land Trusts, a network of more than 150 land trusts across the state that work tirelessly to conserve both land and water resources, since stakeholders there are intrigued by its potential.