By David Bjorkgren, Special to the Hellenic News of America
Elliot Antokas knows a secret about accounting. It’s not boring.
The 26-year-old Greek American has been a staff accountant for a year and a half at the public accounting firm of Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, PC (CBM) in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I think it’s a very misunderstood career. Accountants are often stereotyped as boring, introverted, number crunchers. It’s definitely not the most glamorous profession, but you’re never doing the same thing twice, especially in public accounting,” he said.
His firm, with offices in Bethesda and Washington, DC, specializes in tax, accounting, and consulting services for automobile dealerships, non-profits, real estate and construction companies, and professional service firms.
Antokas said he’s always loved numbers and the logic of accounting appeals to him.
“I’m thankful to be in the accounting profession now, when there are a lot of new things going on.”
He’s excited about a newer trend offering outsourced accounting services to businesses, non-profits, and even individuals. Cloud-based technology, AI, and cutting edge software now make qualified and highly trained accounting talent available to clients at affordable prices. Outsourcing accounting duties to Elliot’s firm allows their clients to focus more on their mission and day to day operations.
Antokas took an unconventional path toward his accounting profession. He started at American University in Washington, DC thinking about diplomacy or international law.
“Halfway through I realized it wasn’t for me.” He picked up business as a second major. “I realized that I liked accounting in my last semester in college, but it was too late to switch majors,” he said.
Antokas sought his mother’s advice about pursuing a master’s in accounting. “She pretty much told me, ‘listen, before you spend $50,000 on a master’s, why don’t you try it out first?’”
A few weeks later in church, he told a parishioner how much he enjoyed accounting. Turns out, the man was a partner at an accounting firm and he invited Antokas to work for him. Antokas graduated in 2014 with a BA in International Relations and Business Administration and went to work as an audit associate for Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, CPAs. He traveled the world doing non-profit audits and was learning a lot on the job but he wanted to pursue his CPA.
He took a year off to take the required coursework. He joined Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, PC and now he’s getting ready to take the CPA exams.
“Even in my position as a staff accountant, I’m still involved in a lot of planning and really cool exploratory situations and discussions,” he said.
Antokas is the son of Father Dimitrios Antokas at St. George’s church in Bethesda. He admits it was different growing up with a priest as his father.
“The spotlight is always on us.”
That said, he deeply appreciates the values of his faith and his church community.
“The bond you have with the ecclesiastical family is incredibly important.”
He gives back the best way he can, by using his extensive church network to give advice to youth and connect them with people who can help them with their careers.
“I enjoy listening to them about their professional and educational career. If there’s one way I can give back, it’s definitely that.”
Antokas is a big supporter of the Hermes Expo and is excited to see that one of the three Expos will take place April 8 in Washington DC this year. He plans to attend. “I think it’s a great organization with great people to promote business and commerce in the Greek American community and Greek-American trade relations as well, which I feel is pretty important.”