Zach Appel – New Consultant at Opus

Apr 15, 2016

ZachAccording to Forbes’ ranking of the Best States for Business, Washington stands among the elite at #10, while Maine sneaks in at #48. To a young professional faced with the decision of relocating to Seattle, WA or Portland, ME, the Forbes article clearly shows that professional and financial growth is to be found in the northwest, not the northeast. To a young accounting professional working for a Big 4 firm, the decision becomes more clear in discovering that not a single Big 4 firm has a presence in the state of Maine, while Seattle is home to all the Big 4 firms as well as dozens of large national and regional firms. My name is Zach Appel, a new consultant at Opus Consulting Group, and despite ample evidence pointing me west, I am an outlier – a young accounting professional that chose to move to Portland, ME. I could not be happier with my decision.

My career in accounting began in Louisville, Kentucky, working with a small, family-owned CPA firm. Seeking exposure to more challenges and opportunity, I  began working with a multi-billion dollar energy company, spending time in Revenue Accounting, Financial Reporting and Financial Accounting & Analysis. I eventually found my way to Ernst & Young, a Big 4 accounting firm, working in their Assurance Group with clients in healthcare, manufacturing, energy and food service. While I learned and grew greatly during my time with these larger companies, I found myself wanting closer connections. It was this desire that inspired me to get involved with local start-ups and non-profits in my community.

I began to spend my nights and weekends working with entrepreneurs, leveraging my experience and resources to create financial models, draft business plans and presentations, seek investors and eventually see their dreams become a reality. I have yet to find a more fulfilling experience in the work field than helping grow a passionate idea into a successful, sustainable company. This opportunity to be involved in multiple aspects of a company, gaining a comprehensive perspective of how all the pieces fit together, and ultimately creating a close connection with the client quickly became what I sought in my professional career.

Allowing this desire to be the driving force behind my decision between Seattle and Portland, ME, it became obvious that Portland was the best fit for me. As mentioned in a previous blog, NerdWallet ranked Portland as the fifth best city for starting a business. The reason for this ranking became clear to me when I arrived in Maine for the first time and began seeking work. The number of locally owned businesses in Portland is overwhelming. Being such a fertile ground for starting businesses, there are many companies providing services to assist passionate entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams and adding to the eclectic mix of local businesses in the area. I am fortunate enough to have found a home at Opus Consulting Group, a local, family-owned firm that supports me in helping others.

Having been in Maine for a year now, I have been able to experience first-handed the wonderful community that keeps this great city and state alive. I have also been able to experience the glorious, pristine nature that is never but a short drive away. While I have nothing against Seattle, I am thrilled that I chose Portland, Maine and Opus Consulting Group to call my new home.




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