A NEW KIND OF ‘POOLING’Atlanta — Most firms will help young staff members prepare for the CPA Exam, but Bennett Thrasher encouraged associate Haley Chura to take an entirely different kind of test.

Chura, 22, tried out for a spot on the U.S. Olympic swimming team on July 4, competing in trials for the 200-meter backstroke in Omaha, Neb. She finished 37th in a field of 92, with a time of 2:16.06.

After she started at the firm a little over a year ago, she joined its track club, part of BT’s work/life balance program. So far, she has run in three marathons. During one, her co-workers tracked her progress online and sent her text messages. “I probably cost the firm a lot of productivity that day,” she said.

Her supervisor, Michael Duke, a shareholder at Bennett Thrasher, is also head of the BT Track Club. “Haley’s qualifying for the Olympic trials was something she accomplished while still in college,” he said. “I think it’s a great example of our culture as a firm. We’ve encouraged her to spend her time and do her best.”

Chura mainly audits local, privately held companies. “One of my clients faxed over a card they had all signed,” she said. “We have a great client base. I feel very, very lucky.”

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