LOUISVILLE – For Paula Kirkpatrick and Gail Eaves, Kirkpatrick and Eaves, PLLC has been a dream come true for not only themselves as certified public
accountants, but as mothers as well.
Eaves and Kirkpatrick became the first women in Louisville to open up a CPA firm on Oct. 9, 2000. Their firm is one of four CPA firms in Louisville.
“Paula and I both, being mothers, understand each other,” Eaves said. “We understand the issues of being a mother and being in the work force.”
According to Kirkpatrick, the response of friends, family members and their clients has been overwhelming.
“I haven’t heard anything negative,” Eaves said.
Kirkpatrick graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in accounting in 1987. She worked for KPMG LLP (formerly KPMG Peat Marwick), one of the “Top
5” accounting firms, for four years. She received extensive training at various schools in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Washington, D.C. as a supervising senior
accountant in the audit department of KPMG Peat Marwick. Her specialty while at KPMG Peat Marwick was hospital and bank auditing and, while there, she was
also involved in the audits of a New York magazine, a Nevada gold mine and a large franchise of discount stores with various locations throughout the Southeast. In
1991 Kirkpatrick moved to Louisville where she worked for Joe H. Hodge, CPA for nine years before the opening of Kirkpatrick and Eaves.
Kirkpatrick also holds a B.A. in public relations and communications from Mississippi State University.
Eaves graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1992 and returned to Louisville where she worked for Taylor Environmental Products Inc. In 1994 she began
working for Joe H. Hodge, CPA where she was involved in corporate, partnership and individual income tax preparation as well as monthly accounting processing. In
addition, Eaves is also experienced in assisting businesses with their accounting software.
“I’ve set goals and I try very hard to achieve these goals,” Eaves said. “I just believe that God led me to this point.”
Kirkpatrick shared similar views.
“We just got to a point in our lives where we wanted to own our own firm and be able to make decisions ourselves,” she said. “We had been talking about (opening
up our own firm) and praying about it and it seems like the doors just opened up. We just felt it was the Lord providing us with this opportunity.”
As for major challenges, Kirkpatrick does not feel she has faced any yet, aside from having to do all the clerical work in the office until the firm has its own secretary
and balancing work and home.
And though the income from the job has been a decent one since Kirkpatrick and Eaves opened their doors to the public, the two are not looking to become wealthy.
“We just wanted to make a decent living,” Kirkpatrick said. “We want to provide a high quality service instead of having a large quantity of clients.”
Eaves agreed, saying, “I guess it’s hard to say we want to have 35 or 50 clients. I think that’s determinant on the amount of time needed to provide quality service to
each client. We want to stay small and provide our clients with the very best. We don’t want to get so big that we can’t provide them with the time they require.”
At the same time, Eaves and Kirkpatrick are trying their best to provide a nurturing environment for their children.
Both Eaves, the mother of three, and Kirkpatrick, the mother of two, agreed that by owning their own CPA firm, they were able to put their family first and at the
same time respond to their clients’ needs.
Being the only two women owning a CPA firm in Louisville has been somewhat of a challenge, though, but both partners agreed women in the workplace face
challenges different from the challenges men face in any profession.
“I feel that a lot of times for women, it’s hard to establish yourself as a serious contender in the business area,” Eaves said.
Kirkpatrick said in order to face this challenge, equal footing between work and home must be gained.
“I guess the advice I would give is to sit down and think through the business end of it,” Eaves suggested to people interested in starting a business. “Set goals you
want to achieve. Design a course of action to achieve these goals.
“Be positive. If you have goals in mind and a plan of action, you can be successful in the business you want to get into.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.