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Keith M. Seiwert, 29
Supervisor at KPM CPAs
For the son of Kansas wheat farmers, a career in accounting might seem like a departure from his upbringing. But if you spend time talking with Keith Seiwert, you’ll know he values—and uses—those farm roots.
As a supervisor for KPM CPAs, a national-profile firm, Seiwert works with clients to serve as a specialist for accounts touching on agriculture and small business. He’s been at KPM for nearly a decade after he started in 2005 as an intern while studying at Missouri State University. Today he oversees numerous projects for KPM and even offers his time to help new accountants on the team pass the dreaded CPA exam.
It’s clear Seiwert is a people person. When it comes to his career, Seiwert plays up the personal aspect of his job. “I like problem solving,” he says. “A lot of the people we work with are very good at what they do but perhaps not the accounting aspect. In that way we provide a valuable service.”
Indeed, it was the motto service above self that got Seiwert involved in Springfield Rotaract, for which he is currently president-elect. Since joining Rotaract, he’s spearheaded the area-wide Rotary basketball tournament to benefit Special Olympics and done public relations and website work for the group. He has also served on the board of The Victim Center for the last six years as well as on the board of Campus Catholic Ministries.
Occupation: CPA, Supervisor at KPM CPAs
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Masters in Accounting from Missouri State University
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
I've known since high school that if I did not go back to the family wheat farm, I wanted to be an accountant. My junior year at Missouri State I decided to go into public accounting. I managed to get an interview for an internship with KPM CPAs and it just felt like the right decision. I've never regretted it once.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
In my career, it took a while for me to figure out the real meaning of why I enjoy what I do. In the simplest form, I find joy in helping people. I am lucky enough to do this both in my career and through volunteering. In my career, I enjoy getting to meet and work with individuals to help them navigate their financial situations. I get to work with many intelligent individuals who inspire me to continue to grow and learn. I truly love coming to work every day. I have been very blessed so far in my life and many people have helped me get to where I am today, so my goal is to return the favor by helping out as many people as I can.
3. Tell us about your family.
I married my best friend Jennifer on May 8, 2010. We do not have any children yet, but we do have a few farm animals that keep us busy.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
I enjoy hiking, gardening, golfing, hunting and almost anything outdoors. I am also an avid Royals and Chiefs fan. The past few years (or most my life) have been pretty tough being a fan, but there is always next season...
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations? (If so, what are they, and what is your role? Why is it important to you?)
I am an active volunteer at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, serving in various volunteer and advisory roles. I have served on the board of The Victim Center for the last six years, as assistant treasurer and treasurer. I serve on the Rock'n Ribs board which benefits many different children's charities of the Ozarks. I am a member of the advisory board for Catholic Campus Ministry at Missouri State. Being involved in charitable organizations is very important to me because it is my way to give back to the community.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations? (If so, what are they, and what is your role?)
I am currently the President Elect for the Rotaract Club of Springfield and have served on other committees and board positions while involved with Rotaract. I am also a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and American Society of CPAs.
7. How would you define the secret to success?
Hard work. I was raised on a farm, and my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic at a very young age. I believe this is how I have gotten to where I am today and how I will continue to be successful throughout my career.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
In public accounting you get to work with many different clients and no two are the same. I enjoy being able to meet different people and figure out how I can help them best.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
Having a small town feel while still providing opportunity to grow and meet new people.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
When you are told your life will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 10 years, they are 100-percent correct. Enjoy the ride!
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Being a wheat farmer, like most of my family.
12. List three traits that define a successful career.
Having true happiness, having a supportive family and being respectful of others.
13. Why are you a 20 under 30?
I am fortunate to work and serve with many great people who make me want to excel. I am humbled by this honor and am excited about the opportunities ahead.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
As a CPA, I am always excited about serving current clients and the opportunity to see how I can help new clients. I am also looking forward to beginning my one-year term as president of Rotaract on July 1.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
About five years ago around Christmas time, my wife and I decided to adopt-a-family instead of giving each other gifts. We have been fortunate enough to be able to continue that tradition every year. It's a great feeling to anonymously help a family in need.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
My wife makes life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without my 10-key.
Ten years from now, I hope I'm going to my kids' ball games.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would set up an anonymous foundation.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is meeting other young and successful individuals.