An Interview with Sid Thaker
Manager, Financial Reporting Services at Equity Methods
I came to the US in 2013 to study for my MBA. I’d been a programmer at a software company, so my courses in accounting and finance were new to me.
One of my professors had a major impact on how I understood accounting concepts and financial theory. She recommended that I contact Equity Methods about summer internship opportunities. So I did—I emailed the CEO directly. And the CEO responded! He said that the internship program was still under development, but he encouraged me to apply for a full-time job after graduation. I followed up, and it turned out to be a good match.
Equity Methods is a high-powered environment with very smart people. Here’s how I explain the work to friends and family. If your company awards employees with stock compensation, you need to plan the awards and determine their fair market value. We help with some of that planning as well as the valuation. And then we move on to help with the expense, tax, and dilution information that the SEC requires companies to disclose. There’s more, but that’s the primary focus.
My own role began with some programming to apply the accounting concepts. I learned as I went along. Eventually I began interacting with clients directly, figuring out what they needed and how to fold that into the reports I was working on.
Lately, I’ve been working more on analyzing client needs and helping them tackle problems they never even knew existed. I also guide associates and new hires, helping them with accounting concepts, SAS training, and the best practices we have at Equity Methods.
New graduates often don’t realize how the people you work with impact how much you like a company. Are they supporting you and helping you grow? Or are you a stepping-stone for someone else’s success? Your colleagues are a critical factor.
Here, you can reach out to anyone for help, no matter how senior they are. People are more than willing to provide guidance. They don’t necessarily give you the answers. It’s more like, “Look into this particular area and see if that helps you” or “Let’s learn from this mistake.” So my recommendation would be to maintain a good, clear line of communication.
I’d also suggest a focus on accuracy and flexibility. Those are key to our reputation in the industry. Beyond that, just be curious about some of the concepts and what’s going on in the industry. Try to understand what you’re working on and why people do things the way they do.
Personally, I don’t want to be in a rigidly ordered work environment. The opportunity to do different things is important to me. When the SEC issues a new rule, for example, the impact on companies is often unknown. Our clients depend on us to figure it out. It’s hard work, but I enjoy the challenge, and it keeps me sharp.
My proudest moments are the ones where we exceed client expectations. One client was openly skeptical that we could improve their current process, but they agreed to work with us on a trial basis. They were shocked by the way we customized their reports, how quickly we turned requests around, and how easy it was to talk to us. We had another situation where the client needed us to provide a pay-for-performance analysis for their proxy in one week. I was able to complete the analysis, prepare a narrative to explain how the pieces fit together, and get it to them on time. Now they’re planning to do additional work with us.
Culture plays a big role in surviving those occasional crunch times. We have things like trivia Wednesdays and pickleball Thursdays so people can take time to decompress. On my own time, I enjoy indoor and outdoor rock climbing. Board games are big with me—anything that has some strategy built into it—and, of course, relaxing and watching TV.
I also enjoy hiking and camping, and Arizona is the best place for that. People generally find Arizona winters amazing but complain about the summers. Not me. I love the sun, and here it stays with me year-round.