Darlene Finzer, a principal at the Ohio CPA firm of Rea & Associates -- as well as a pit crew member and donkey farmer -- was recently named Accounting Today's inaugural Accountant of the Month.

Her win was announced via the Accounting Today Facebook page. Based on her unique hobbies, Finzer, CPA, QKA, CSA, fulfilled the qualifications for the contest of demonstrating passion and showing "why accountants aren't boring."

Finzer promotes and works on the pit crew for her nephew's go kart races and is a farm safety activist - but it's her role as a donkey farmer that raises the most eyebrows in her office.

"It's kind of a surprised reaction," said Finzer, in describing the usual response of her co-workers. "You don't typically think of an accountant as having that type of lifestyle. The typical would be to have a hobby farm or something, but to have a whole herd like that is a little bit fascinating."

Finzer's herd numbers "north of 50" on her land in Stone Creek, Ohio, including one cow she brought from her father's dairy farm when he stopped milking 16 year ago.

While she grew up around cattle, Finzer's affection for donkeys began 17 years ago when a neighbor was looking to sell their male donkey, or jack, that didn't serve the cow-herding purposes of their female donkey (jenny) population. Since then, Finzer and her husband have only added to the herd, keeping the donkeys as pets that "eat grain and lie in the sun," rather than for the more grueling work of herding or pulling carts.

She has even named most of them, explaining that they "have unique personalities, just like people." While she is looking to sell some of her herd, her attachment has led her to part with only one over the years.

Lest you believe Finzer's interesting extracurricular activities, which can have her up before sunrise, may be at odds with her position as pension auditor and head of Rea & Associates' Employee Retirement Income Security Act audit team, she set the record straight in voicing her specific enthusiasm for the AotM contest prizes -- which include free registration for the Accounting Today Growth & Profitability Summit this fall, along with magazine-branded swag, social media promotion and the personalized caricature above.

"Being the typical nerd accountant, I'm most excited about the registration for the conference," she admitted.

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