Simone Bunche’s impressive 30-year career started with an early aspiration to make it big in the accounting industry. Throughout her journey, Simone discovered that she was looking for something else as well—she didn’t just want to “make it big”, she wanted to make a big impact on the world.
That’s why it’s no surprise that when Simone joined Your Part-Time Controller, LLC as an Associate in late 2018, she found a home. Simone started in this role and made a quick transition to a position within the Talent Acquisition Department. Through her responsibilities as an Associate, a Recruiter, and now as Manager of Internal Audit, Simone began to utilize her vast professional experience while exploring personal interests and doing what she loves the most: helping people.
We sat down with Simone to learn more about who she is and her unique journey with Your Part-Time Controller.
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC: Simone, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I’d like to begin by asking about you. Tell me about Simone—where are you from? What were your initial goals with your career, and what have you done in the past?
Simone Bunche: Of course! So, I am originally from East Orange, New Jersey. I grew up with a very large family—I was my dad’s only child, but my dad’s family is enormous. I had wanted to be an accountant since early high school and pursued that deliberately throughout my career. I went to Rutgers, and after college, I started working for Walmart in hopes of becoming part of their internal audit team—I worked there until I transitioned to Enterprise Rent-A-Car and spent most of my career there until I left to do government work. I worked with several local governments doing accounting and just wasn’t fulfilled with the work. For-profit certainly had its challenges with respect to everything being so numbers-driven, so when I moved to government work, I thought that I’d be making a better impact. However, I found that the mindset for a government employee is exceptionally different from for-profit, but it did help me begin to understand not-for-profit. After working with various government agencies, I was looking for something a little more rewarding, and I found YPTC through a co-worker. They asked if I had ever heard of YPTC, and when I said I hadn’t, I decided to do a quick search and ended up applying. By the end of the week, I had lunch with YPTC’s Managing Partner, Jennifer Alleva. Shortly after, I had a job offer. So ever since then, I really have found my work to be so much more rewarding because I see where the value lands—it’s amazing after 25-30 years in the industry to see the benefit of the work I do every day, and that’s how I wound up here and what will keep me here.
YPTC: That’s awesome to hear! Let’s build on your past—you talked a little bit about going to Rutgers and wanting to be an accountant in high school. How does that version of yourself translate to where you are today?
SB: Well, things were a little bit different in the 80s. Everything was so power-driven and about climbing the corporate ladder, and that very much was the beginning of my career. But after doing that for some time, I realized that it just wasn’t enough for me. In the past, I’ve felt like I could have used my ability to help organizations grow wealth. If that had been my only goal, I think I’d be excited, but I honestly am more excited now because I’ve seen the progression and what knowledge can do—how it can change an organization to benefit a greater group. So, when I look back on my career, I’m grateful for my growth because I was able to get to this point. This path is the best way because at first, it was about just making a lot of money, and then I learned that there’s no joy in that for me. Now, I can say that I’m happy with the way my career has progressed from that; I can’t imagine if I’d gone into nonprofit accounting straight out of college, and how that would make me feel about my career growth. So, I’m incredibly happy to have found the nonprofit sector when I did, and the benefits of that.
YPTC: What an interesting perspective knowing that if you had pursued this right off the bat, you’d feel differently. On that note, you’ve mentioned the reward for this type of work a few times. Are there any other driving factors that make YPTC the place that you want to continue your career at, given that you also transitioned positions?
SB: Definitely! There are a lot of companies that talk about their commitment to their staff, but I have not seen an organization be as committed as YPTC has been to me, personally. And I don’t think that’s necessarily unique to me—it’s just the culture that has been created. I had some health challenges prior to coming to YPTC that resurfaced my first year, and they were so accommodating and supportive throughout them all. I was concerned that my health issues would cause issues with clients in the continuity of their work, and I was helped and stayed connected the entire time, and that was so valuable. There have been other organizations in my career that would dismiss illness, and that’s not the culture here. We all recognize that we’re employing people, and people have things occur in their lives. After some time, my manager approached me to help with recruiting and connected me with talent acquisition to see if I could support the team in any way. This was great for me personally because it helped me stay engaged during a time that I wasn’t feeling great. Sometimes, just being able to contribute to some goal can add value to your overall esteem. When I was approached about the position, I felt like I was adding value somewhere else and growing some of my skills. As I said, I’ve been an accountant my entire life, so being a recruiter has opened amazing doors. That’s the thing about YPTC—it’s always “yes and” for them and never “no”. It’s “yes and what can we do,” when they’re approached about doing something in a different way. This builds overall loyalty—that loyalty from management to the employee build loyalty from the employee to the company.
YPTC: Oh, wow. When did you make that transition to recruitment? Also, have you had any specific moments during your client work that were professionally fulfilling for you?
SB: I started with talent acquisition in January 2020 after working as an Associate in the Washington DC office for about a year. During that time, I did have a particularly fulfilling moment with a client. We had a client that was very small, and they were fairly new. The organization was having some financial difficulty and had a very strained relationship with their main funder. It was really rewarding for me to implement some things that gave their funding source more confidence in the management of the organization. This loosened a bit of the strain on their relationship, and they were more comfortable with the fiscal oversight of the organization and able to give more freedom. That was really when I was able to see that the work that we’re doing is especially important. This organization focused on educating the populations affected by HIV and AIDS, so you know that just really drove things home for me. It’s one thing to just work on your account, create analyses, and so forth; it’s a whole other thing to help an organization use the five million dollars they get every year more freely in providing services for people who could die, or at least be in worse health positions if you didn’t. This was definitely the most rewarding.
YPTC: To have such an impact on an organization must have been a wonderful feeling and it really is an example of how important nonprofit accounting is. Speaking of the importance of the work, what makes you most excited about a future with YPTC?
SB: Growth. The growth that YPTC has been experiencing has been amazing. I didn’t expect it, since everyone had been having difficulty during the pandemic, and we just kept growing. I feel like YPTC is a place of endless possibility, and I think that as we continue to grow, utilizing all that we have learned through the pandemic is a wonderful way to provide structure for the firm’s growth in the future. I really enjoy the open-mindedness of senior leadership in terms of what could make us better. I appreciate that open-mindedness and flexibility. And, like I said, the endless possibilities for myself. I always expected to be an accountant, and I’ve been able to transition into some different ways to express my accounting skills.
YPTC: It’s amazing to know that you were able to grow in unexpected ways because of the culture of the firm. I’d love to end things by discussing what you like to do outside of work. What are some hobbies of yours and things that you’re passionate about?
SB: I’m a bit of an Epicurean—that’s the best way to describe it. I love cooking and gardening—both gardening for culinary purposes and for the pretty flowers. That’s primarily what I do, but I do love music and movies, as well as spending a lot of time with friends and family. One of the most important things to me is nurturing the relationships that I have. We may not be able to reach the world, but we can take great care of the people in our circles. I’m also very involved in my neighborhood and into creating a family-type environment wherever I am. I moved 250 miles away from home right out of college, so it was important to me to establish a circle and continue to do that, and that’s where I lean. Creating somewhat of a “personal nonprofit” wherever I go and doing great things for the people that I run into. One of my favorite quotes says that you never know the impact that you can have on someone else’s life, and that’s how I try to live my life. That one 15-minute interaction with somebody can make a huge difference.
YPTC: Simone, you were recently promoted to Manager of Internal Audit. Can you speak about the opportunities for growth that the YPTC has to offer?
SB: In July 2020, [Eric Fraint] asked that if anyone had specific vertical expertise that they were interested in, to send an e-mail to him and the leadership team. So, I was unsure whether my field of interest was on topic for his request. The next day, Eric scheduled a meeting to talk with me more—I was still shocked and nervous, despite knowing how approachable everyone at YPTC is! We talked about my career, and he asked if I had any audit experience. I was slightly defeated given that I didn’t have traditional experience, but I was familiar with internal audit given my prior positions in corporate accounting and as an audit liaison—the latter being like the role of a YPTC Associate. Eric perked up at this and mentioned that he had previously hired outside consultants for internal audit reviews and that he had a few projects he wanted me to tackle. I was so excited! I immediately began researching standards in internal audit and refreshing my skills in that area so I could learn, grow, and most importantly, be of service to the firm.
It felt good that the door was there and open, and that Eric greeted me with a real opportunity to make a difference. At the end of the day, that’s what YPTC offers to all of us—whether it is with our clients, co-workers, or within the firm, we get to make an impact. From that one e-mail, I was able to begin work in internal audit, and assist with training content as well. I am so grateful for the vote of confidence that has been given to me. YPTC’s growth is indicative of great opportunities to learn, advance, evolve, and help more nonprofit organizations serve the greater community.
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC is currently hiring nationwide. If you are an accounting professional looking to use your skills for good, contact us today or apply now. We can’t wait to meet you!