Growing up, I wanted to be an entrepreneur with some cool and disruptive technology that would change the world. Then I became a CPA.
It seemed like that was the end of my entrepreneurial dreams. But unknowingly, I spent the next 10 years honing a skill set, network and unique set of experiences that led me to launch my own business. This is the story of how Capone & Associates was created.
In 2012, I was elected by my UNCW MSA class to speak at our commencement ceremony. With little professional and life experience to lean on, I leveraged wisdom from influential people throughout history, hoping they would provide insight to those in attendance.
My favorite quote, and the one that has stuck with me, came from Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University — “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
To me, this meant put your head down, work hard, be a good person and be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise — you don’t know where they will lead you. So that’s what I did. All the while, brainstorming ways to one day build my own business.
After graduating from UNCW, I worked for Deloitte & Touche on public company audits for several years, gaining an incredible foundation of technical accounting, process and internal controls, planning, project management and general work ethic. While auditing was never my dream job, it was a great place to start a career.
As happenstance would have it, I stumbled across an opportunity on LinkedIn for “International Business Experience.” Traveling has always been a passion for my wife and I, so naturally I submitted my resume. This turned out to be an incredible opportunity with a Fortune 500 company called ABB, which allowed me to advance professionally while traveling and experiencing different cultures.
The day after our wedding in October 2015, we moved to Zurich, Switzerland. I worked in ABB’s Global Headquarters in the corporate finance department, reporting directly to the Executive Committee of a $40 billion company. It was an incredible experience for a motivated 26-year-old. I was first to work, last to leave and took on every opportunity I could.
Seven months later, the next opportunity arrived — ABB needed an expat with an accounting and finance background to join a team in Bulgaria and open a manufacturing facility. This opportunity allowed me to move beyond numbers and learn about operations, supply chains, Lean Management, Six Sigma and more.
After more than two, life-changing years in Bulgaria, we followed the next opportunity back to Wilmington — the place we always wanted to call home — to join a growing company in the marine industry. As Vice President and CFO, my decisions had a clear impact on people and the bottom line. This helped fine tune my technical accounting, lean management and executive business philosophies to the real world.
We experienced years of tremendous growth and success — raising money, buying businesses, spinning off businesses and creating new businesses.
By this point, the desire to start my own company became overwhelming.
Talking with mentors and other experienced professionals, I realized how I’d spent the past 10 years could benefit companies in the Wilmington region.
Capone & Associates officially launched in July 2022. We offer local companies, entrepreneurs and non-profits a full suite of services, everything from making sure you have timely financial reports to helping with turnarounds and M&A transactions. Our services are customized and scaled to each company’s needs.
The work we’ve done so far has shown us the power of always doing right by your client and that word of mouth is integral to our success.
Looking back and connecting the dots, I couldn’t be more proud and humbled. I look forward to connecting with more great people, businesses and organizations so we can look back together and connect the dots in the years to come.
If you’d like to talk about working together, please reach out to me at [email protected] or (910) 415-7715.
You can learn more about us at caponeandassociates.biz.
Cece Nunn - Jan 30, 2023
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