Student Accounting Association Hosts Jeremy Hartzell, HBK

Posted on 3/20/18 9:07 PM

IUP’s Student Accounting Association held their third meeting of the semester on March 7, 2018, in the Eberly auditorium. The guest speaker was Jeremy Hartzell, the principal-in-charge of the Pittsburgh office of HBK CPAs & Consultants. HBK is an accounting firm with 14 locations across the Mid-Atlantic region and Florida and is a member of the BDO Alliance.

Hartzell obtained his undergraduate degree in accounting and his MBA/JD degrees at Duquesne University. Before joining HBK, he spent 12 years working for Deloitte. He left Deloitte to work at the Bank of New York, but missed the human interaction of public accounting. He was recruited by HBK while he was looking to get back into public accounting.


The main message of Hartzell’s presentation was that accounting is a relationships game. Two of his biggest clients at HBK were his clients when he worked at Deloitte. He kept in contact with these clients on a friendly basis while working at the Bank of New York. By maintaining strong relationships with these former clients, when Hartzell made the move to HBK, these clients moved with him and switched from Deloitte to HBK. One of these clients is a billion-dollar company! He also has the numbers of many CEOs and CFOs on his phone and talks to them frequently. He recalled one time that his daughter accidentally called the CFO of a company late at night. Because this CFO had such a close business relationship with her father, rather than being irritated or even angry over the late-night call, he cheerfully told her to have a nice evening.

Hartzell also emphasized that in accounting, one should never judge a book by its cover. One of his best clients never wears a suit, so Hartzell was not sure if he would get along with this particular client at first. However, this client gives him a lot of business and always pays on time. Hartzell also explained how he will have client meetings at various locations, ranging from McDonald’s to five-star restaurants to dinner at the client’s home. By building relationships with clients of all types and being able to call these clients to get work done, an employee adds a lot of value to a company.

Join us at our next SAA meeting on Monday, March 26, in the Eberly auditorium. The featured guest speaker will be Micaela De Benedetto, 2016 IUP accounting alumna and corporate staff accountant with NRG Energy. NRG Energy is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. According to NRG Energy’s website, “NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S, built on the strength of the nation's largest and most diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform.”

De Benedetto began her career with NRG Energy right after graduating from IUP. Her presentation will give accounting majors an opportunity to learn about accounting positions outside of public accounting.

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology