Spotlight on CPAs
TXCPA member Arturo Machado, CPA-San Antonio, is a shareholder at Sol Schwartz & Associates, where he provides comprehensive tax consulting and compliance services to the firm’s clients. With an impressive 20-year tenure in the accounting field, Arturo has honed his expertise, particularly in the area of international tax. During his career, he has held significant roles, including a position as a tax manager at one of the most prominent global accounting firms.
Arturo’s contributions extend beyond his professional roles. He has actively participated in various tax forums focused on inbound and outbound tax issues related to domestic and international business operations. His knowledge and insights have also been shared with a wider audience through his published writings, including notable contributions to the Tax Adviser, Texas Realtor magazine and other respected outlets.
Arturo’s commitment to professional development and community engagement is evident through his service on the TXCPA Leadership Council, and active involvement in leadership roles and chapter activities within TXCPA San Antonio, which ascended to him serving in the capacity of chapter president. In recognition of his exceptional achievements and leadership qualities, he was honored as the TXCPA Young CPA of the Year in 2017. Today’s CPA recently caught up with Arturo to learn more about his career and service to the accounting profession.
You are a Shareholder at Sol Schwartz & Associates in San Antonio. Tell us about your background and career.
I was born in El Paso but lived in Mexico the first years of my life, including places in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua. Throughout my elementary years, we lived in the border city of Cd. Juarez, and commuted back and forth from Juarez to El Paso, as my parents were adamant that we not only attend school in the U.S., but that it was a private school so as to provide a foundational framework from a personal and spiritual perspective.
After high school, I attended The University of Texas at El Paso, where I received both my undergrad in accounting and my Masters in Business Administration. While attending college, I held various positions, with my last one before graduating as a staff accountant of a multinational corporation, where I first worked within my field of study. Shortly after graduation, I worked with a local CPA firm and that was where I knew that I had found my calling working in the public arena.
After a couple of years with this firm, I was afforded the opportunity to join KPMG in the El Paso office. Within KPMG, I transferred from the El Paso to the San Antonio office back in 2005, where I spent the next several years. It was there that I was exposed to multinational clients and where I decided to pursue a specialization in international tax. After leaving KPMG, I spent a short period of time with a wealth management firm and ultimately landed a position with Sol Schwartz & Associates, where I’ve been for the past 10 years.
What are your responsibilities at your firm?
My primary responsibility is to lead our fast-growing international tax practice, which includes the practice development activities as well as training and mentoring the staff. I was fortunate enough that when I joined Sol Schwartz, there was already a vibrant international tax practice, which allowed me the platform to continue growing and developing it. It’s amazing to realize that we now serve clients not only from Mexico, but also throughout Latin America, some South American countries, Asia and Europe!
In addition to leading the international practice, I serve as the partner in charge of our marketing department, where I work closely with our marketing director.
At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a CPA?
In high school, I always enjoyed my math and business classes and just knew I had a knack for numbers. When I started college and had to choose a major, I never really had a doubt that I wanted to study accounting. However, it wasn’t until my first job in public accounting that I saw the true potential of having the CPA license. I recall my first client meetings, being in there with a manager or partner, and just how the attention of the clients was clearly set on them, how everything they said was taken with a higher level of credibility and trust. I knew then that simply having an accounting degree would not be enough if I aspired to garner that same level of trust with my clients.
What advice would you give students who would like to pursue the accounting profession as a career and become CPAs?
I would tell them it’s a difficult road that requires much effort and sacrifice, that it will require many long nights and instances that will truly test your willpower and put you at the precipice of deciding whether to quit or push forward. However, if you have the gumption to persevere, you will feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy,” which couldn’t be more true. As such, if you are deciding to pursue an accounting degree and further seek the CPA license, do it, but only if you are fully committed from the heart and ready to face the challenges that will come your way, and know that in the end, it will all be worth it.
You’ve actively served in numerous leadership roles in your chapter and for TXCPA. Why is volunteering and/or committee service so important to you?
There are many reasons why volunteering has been and continues to be an important part of my career. It allows me an opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me much.
When I first became a CPA, I was working at a big four firm and as such wasn’t looking to TXCPA for CPE, which I know can be incredibly valuable to other members. Rather, I was looking to connect with other fellow CPAs in the community. I was still relatively new to San Antonio and outside of my organization, I didn’t really know many of my peers. Volunteering in the committees allowed me to get to know fellow CPAs from other firms and get to meet them at a personal level. I realized early on how valuable this could be.
As I continued my efforts and began participating in student events, I understood that we have not only a responsibility but an opportunity to inspire the next generation to pursue an accounting degree and the CPA license.
Tell us about your family. What do you like to do on the weekends?
My wife Karla and I have been together for 23 years, and we have two daughters, Karen and Allison, who are 19 and 11, respectively. My wife has an education degree and works at the same middle school that Allison attends. Karen is currently attending Texas Tech University. I’m still working to convince her to study accounting but haven’t quite gotten there yet ☺.
As for my siblings, I’m the eldest of five. One of my brothers is a U.S. Marshall, another is an occupational therapist and my sisters both work in tax. I am fortunate enough to still have my parents with us and they both live here in San Antonio.
On weekends, we do a variety of things, from spending time with family, grilling, drinking cold beer and watching sports. I enjoy playing golf but have to admit it gets difficult finding the time to get out for a round. No one really prepared me for this being an “adult” thing, lol.
Also, I very much enjoy traveling with my family and making memories. Those are the precious moments where we hit the pause button from our daily routine and just take it all in. I truly hope that even as our girls get older, they’ll want to continue traveling with their parents. I try to take my parents with us on as many trips as possible, as those moments will never happen again … and regret is a hell of a thing.