Marshall Gunn first launched his accounting firm 41 years ago. Over the ensuing years, he went on to help countless people with taxes, financial planning, and strategic advice while maintaining high standards for customer care and personalized attention. Marshall merged with fellow CPA firm Chamberlain & Associates in 2012 and went on to expand their service offerings, become an employer of choice, launch a tech division in response to the cloud accounting revolution, and continue to provide unparalleled financial services to the Jacksonville community and internationally. We can’t begin to count the number of lives Marshall has touched over the past 41 years, so I asked him to share some of the highlights in honor of his anniversary.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Marshall: I’ve had the opportunity to serve some of the absolutely nicest people in the world while working with some of the most talented and caring people imaginable.
Q: What’s your favorite client success story?
Marshall: Just a few months ago, I was eating lunch in a restaurant and ran into a past client. I said hello, and she turned around and grinned. She was out with her daughter and immediately introduced me as, “the man who helped your dad and me plan so that you were just able to graduate college debt free.”
This must be one of the best introductions I’ve ever received. In our current national student loan debt crisis, when so many graduates are coming out of school with crippling debt, it’s an incredible way to make an impact. The young lady shook my hand, grinning from ear to ear. Mission accomplished!
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on getting you to where you are in your career today?
Marshall: It’s a team of people including many remarkable women—my grandmother, my mother, and my Aunt Mickey. In my youth, those three planted a legacy of faith, caring, respect, and business savvy. However, I’ll share a story from my high school basketball coach. In high school, I was 5’10” on a team whose star was an All-American. One day I asked my coach why he kept me on the team—I’m slow, can’t jump, and don’t have the talent. He laughed and said it was because I didn’t know how to quit. He said, “No matter what I throw at you, you take it and run with it.” This perseverance got me through high school basketball and has been the biggest key to much of my success in life. I just don’t know how to quit. Many times, I have looked around and realized my success is simply due to, in the words of Sir Elton John, “I’m still standing!”
Q: What advice do you have for people who are getting into the accounting profession today?
Marshall: First, I hope accounting is their passion. Be prepared for change, because that’s the one guarantee. Serve your clients first, and the profession will take great care of you.
Q: What do you wish all your clients knew about financial planning and taxes?
Marshall: Trust us. We’re looking out for your best interests. Follow the financial plan we help you develop, because we’re looking at the big picture financially and from a tax perspective. People often want to take risky deductions or make financial decisions that don’t make sense economically, and we try to help them to focus on a long-term strategic plan and understand the impact of their choices.
All of us at GunnChamberlain are sincerely thankful for Marshall’s leadership, support, and continued commitment to delivering the best client service. Here’s to the next 41 years!