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James McDermott

James McDermott

The Beach Company
Charleston, SC


After 13 years as the controller for a large real estate company, James McDermott says one of the best parts of his job is the independence. “Today I feel like I’m still running my own accounting practice, just with one major client,” he says. “Every day is different and challenging. Even though I currently work in a single industry, real estate, my days are never the same.”

After working his way up to become a partner and shareholder in a large local accounting firm, James used his CPA credential to switch career paths and take another route. The real estate world has given him new opportunities that he finds interesting, challenging and rewarding “One thing I love about my job is the people I work with,” he says. “I try to bring humor into the office setting to keep things interesting.”

Along the way, James admits that he has learned an important lesson he wishes he’d known back in high school: “There’s more to life than just money. Find out something to do with your life that you enjoy, and you’ll be happy.”

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Find out something to do with your life that you enjoy, and you'll be happy.

Stats at a Glance

Years as a CPA: 32

Best job: CPA

Worst job: Auditor for a local county government

Hobbies outside of work: Golf, softball, sports

Pets: 2 cats

Words to live by: "Find something that you enjoy doing with your time and talents and you will be happy with the results. When you lose the enjoyment (happiness) then it is time to find another challenge."