Eugene E. Byler is treasurer at BWLK and heads up its tax division.
Q. What qualities make a good accountant?
A. I believe a competent accountant is knowledgeable, detail-oriented and service-oriented, and has a desire to find errors and correct them. Many of my clients become friends, as well. As a colleague of mine recently told me, you can’t become so deeply involved with your clients’ financial issues without it becoming personal for you.
Q. What areas of the business do you focus on?
A. My primary area of expertise is taxation, but I also spend considerable time consulting businesses on non-tax issues. Although I have a specialty in agricultural taxation, I have prepared a variety of tax returns, with numerous state implications, including trusts and estates and gift tax returns, as well as partnership and corporate tax returns for a large variety of businesses.
I am the firm’s primary consultant for SAGE (formerly Peachtree) software. I have earned a Certificate in Educational Achievement from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for a comprehensive course in tax planning and advising for closely held businesses. I am a member of the AICPA, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Tax Practitioners and the Salem Kiwanis.
Q. When and why did you decide to go into accounting?
A. When I was 5 years old, a friend of mine who was the clerk for Green Township allowed me to assist him with the financial records. He allowed me to pull the handle on the old adding machine he used. (I’m not sure if it was more of a nuisance to him, but it got me interested). Then in high school, I completed the two-year basic accounting course in just one year. The teacher (Mrs. Mink) suggested that I consider going to college for accounting.
Due to my early exposure and my desire to attend college, it seemed like a natural idea. During my first quarter at Youngstown State University, I took an accounting course. God and I had a little discussion about where he wanted me to go with my life. I asked Him to allow me to earn an “A” in the course if accounting was the direction I should go in. After earning that grade, there was little doubt in my mind where God wanted me to be, and what I was to do with my life.
Q. What was the greatest moment in your career?
A. That is difficult to pinpoint. I get a “high” every time I help a client with a problem or master a difficult task. If I had to pick a moment, it probably would be when I became an owner of Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer (formerly A.S. Fricano & Co.) in 1991.
Q. What do you do outside the office for fun?
A. I enjoy gardening, woodworking and spending time with my wife and children. I am on my son’s Boy Scout troop executive committee, and just became the treasurer of the church we attend.