Hillary Burr doesn’t describe herself as a runner, but she’s currently training for her fourth half-marathon.
“I’m definitely not an athlete, and somehow I am doing this again,” she said, a bit in disbelief.
Burr, who serves as a senior tax manager for Wolf & Company P.C., also didn’t set out to become an expert in taxes.
“It’s funny, but I think that I, in some ways, fell into, it,” Burr said.
Burr was working as a receptionist at Lonza Biologics while attending the University of New Hampshire, and the accounting department kept giving her projects. When a position opened up in Lonza Biologics’ accounting department, Burr took it. Soon after, she took an opportunity at Cummings, Lamont & McNamee in Portsmouth when a position opened up to prepare individual tax returns during the busy tax season. Burr hasn’t looked back since.
Burr studied accounting as an undergraduate student, but said that she probably only took one course in taxes. She’s currently attending Northeastern where she’s pursuing her master’s in taxation.
“I think it just makes you stronger in what you’re already doing,” Burr said about pursuing her master’s. “This is the first time when I’m taking courses geared to what I’ve been doing for 12 years.”
Burr’s work with Wolf & Co. seems to suit her perfectly. She works with high net worth individuals and their families, aiding in financial decisions, such as succession estate planning and giving money to charity.
“For me, a big thing is the philanthropy,” said Burr, who organizes a monthly volunteer outing with her friends and also chairs Wolf & Co.’s philanthropy committee.
Passionate About Philanthrophy
“It’s the thing I’m most proud of in my whole career,” she said. “To be in a public accounting profession and to have found what I’m passionate about and to serve in my career is amazing.”
Burr helps Wolf & Co. employees finds ways each month to be involved in the community, whether it’s cleaning up the Boston Harbor Islands or volunteering for Cradle to Crayons, the Pine Street Inn or the MSPCA.
“We try to do a wide-ranger versus focusing on specific causes,” Burr said. “Our goal is to introduce employees to different ways to make an impact. It’s so exciting.”
“Under her leadership, the Wolf Foundation … has increased the visibility of the philanthropy committee internally and externally,” said Michael Stravin, owner at Wolf & Co. “Thanks to Hillary’s efforts, opportunities to volunteer are now offered to employees monthly and employee participation is high – which at a firm of 185 is significant.”
In addition to her philanthropic activities, Burr is also a member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, the Boston Estate Planning Council and the Corporate Volunteer Council. She also serves as a mentor within her firm.
“Wolf & Co. is focusing on creating internal leaders at different levels in your career,” Burr said, “by putting you in training on how to market yourself and understand what a good leader is.”
As a mentor, Burr is often asked for tips on how to study for the CPA exam.
“It’s a tough exam,” Burr said, adding that she offers tips in time management, something that many people find a challenge.
While Burr thinks that the financial industry is still a male-dominated field, she embraces the challenge of living up to role models who worked in the industry ahead of her.
“The battle’s not over. They fought hard, and I want to make them proud,” she said. “Their struggle was different from mine, and I have to make sure it’s not forgotten.”