One of Lori Reiner’s favorite memories at Temple was using an adding machine with tape in place of a traditional calculator for a test in one of her summer accounting classes.
“I was the only one in the class who knew how to use an adding machine,” said Reiner, a Fox School of Business alumna who earned her BBA in accounting in 1986. “I moved the desk over to the side of the room, I plugged it in the wall, and they let me take the test. I finished way before everybody else because they had their little solar calculators. … It was a very positive experience.”
She was able to master an adding machine after coming back from a recent internship, when internships were “atypical” for Temple students at the time, she said.
Now, as partner-in-charge for the Philadelphia practice of EisnerAmper, one of the nation’s largest accounting firms, Reiner still credits that real-life experience to her success, along with her education at Fox.
“The classroom and all the education you have is the foundation of your career, however, it’s the actual hands-on experience that makes it all come together and makes it make sense,” Reiner said.
Reiner made EisnerAmper history in 2013 as the first woman partner-in-charge for the firm. She pointed out the three important responsibilities of this role to be recruiting and retaining great people—making sure general operations around the office are running smoothly—and growing, whether it be organically or through merger and acquisition activity.
In fact, Reiner’s first project was spent figuring out the combining of the Philadelphia and Jenkintown offices for their move to One Logan Square in Center City, which is set to happen before the year ends.
EisnerAmper is known for offering financial services to a number of different companies, but Reiner said many of its clients are “midmarket companies” which include more entrepreneurial businesses. This stresses the need for a more “consultative” and “collaborative” approach with clients, she added.
“Our clients really do look at us as their trusted business advisor,” Reiner said. “Our culture here is to really view our services like that. So it’s not just filling out forms and filing them with the government—it’s our relationship with our clients and how we can help them reach their goals.”
When finding the appropriate talent for this kind of job, Reiner and EisnerAmper have consistently turned to Temple as one of their go-to universities for accounting majors. Student interns for EisnerAmper who do well enough even end up getting job offers on the spot.
Reiner’s own time at Fox showed her the ability of the school and its professors in preparing students for their careers.
“I think that the one thing I remember the most, specifically related to accounting classes, is just how great the professors were and how practical it was,” she said. “I know it’s only evolved since then. I think the way the program is set up is very well poised for any student that wants a path to public accounting in Philadelphia.”
As an accounting major, Reiner learned that there were other skills besides math that were necessary for success in the field, like good communication skills, the ability to write and the ability to sell, among others.
The advice she gives all students, regardless of major, is to make sure to not pretend when trying to learn something, even if it requires asking questions and learning from mistakes.
“It really comes down to listening and making sure you understand, and [those skills] will take you far,” Reiner said. “I still practice that every single day. … If I don’t understand something, I can’t be helpful.”
Albert Hong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.204.7416.