The Road Less Traveled

F&C Aussie mate, Adam Todd-Thomas, bids a fond Hooroo

Hooroo is Australian slang for goodbye.

It is with gratitude we announce the departure of our Aussie family member, Adam Todd-Thomas as he prepares for his next journey.  It was only a year ago, the young Aussie brought his big smile, generous personality, and Australian spin to the Finley & Cook family.  We have enjoyed his sports antics, the willingness to help others, and his hard work and dedication.

Adam arrived in the United States on a basketball scholarship and has worked his way through college to earn a Master’s in Business Administration & Marketing degree from Florida National University.  He has shared his journey in the article, The Road Less Traveled.

We wish him safe journey’s ahead.

The Road Less Traveled by Adam-Todd Thomas

From Australia to the United States

Growing up in Australia, a world full of sports, beautiful nature and the best coast lines in the world, some would ask just how I ended up here at Finley & Cook in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Going through my childhood sports were always at the forefront. I have played sports since I was 6 years old. From soccer, cricket, cross country, swimming, tennis, softball, Australian football (AFL) to rugby and basketball.  Through high school I could never picture myself in an office job, but basketball…basketball was the answer.  At least that’s what I thought at the time. After picking up a basketball at age 14, something began to tick.  It was a game I fell so much in love with, I put all the other sports down.

Fast forward to the year 2013

Fast forward to the year of 2013. I had graduated high school in November of 2012 (that is the schooling system in Australia, January through November is one school year) I was at a crossroads.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  Sure, I was good at basketball but here I was at a crossroads of what to do next. 10 years of my life was just sports on repeat yet, here I was with no answers and all the questions about what life had in store for me next.  Sure, enough through months of procrastination and thinking, all while the only thing that remained consistent was basketball, a mentor and coach reached out.  “Have you ever considered playing basketball in the United States?”  Being perplexed by the question and only having seen basketball in America on TV I answered well yes!  He then replied, “I think you’re more than good enough to take that leap”. So, there was my answer, Basketball.  Basketball will get me out of this procrastination and provide some direction of what in the world I wanted to do with life. After making a highlight video and posting it online, schools and coaches began reaching out interested in what a kid from Australia had to offer.  One coach liked what he saw enough to fly out and visit with my family and I about this whole “moving to the other side of the world thing, to put an orange ball in a hoop thing.”  That was the day life as I knew it changed forever.  After two meetings with coach, the decision was made.  I would be taking my talents to Bethany, Oklahoma precisely 10 days from now, what a turnaround right?

Fast forward to the year 2018

Fast forward to 2018. Four years had gone by since the decision came to move across the globe to put a ball in a basket.  Graduating on the honor roll with a Sports Management degree, a kid from Australia had officially come a long, long way.  Sure, enough I was back at the famous crossroads, what next?  After a summer of speculation, including options to return to Australia, play professional basketball overseas or get into coaching.  The decision was made to move to Miami, Florida. The reason? To pursue an opportunity of being a graduate assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at Florida National University while studying for a master’s degree.  After a season of traveling up and down the east coast and seeing what Florida had to offer on the beach and coastline, two things were clear.  One, Australia still has the best beaches and coastlines.  And two, time to graduate again, this time with a master’s degree and again on the honor roll.

Back home

After graduating, a long summer back in Australia prevailed.  It was a well-earned break.  The infamous crossroads made another likely appearance, this time with bigger implications. Options once again included:  returning back to the United States, attempting to play overseas again, or staying home in Australia and starting the adult life there.  The ultimate decision came down to, my love of basketball versus the long-term stability of a steady income. I had to weigh up living the dream of playing the game I love as a professional on a low salary or dive into the real world.  An adult job providing me with a stable salary and opportunities to start life after basketball.  At this point I made the choice to return to my second home, Oklahoma City. Which brings me to Shawnee, Oklahoma and Finley & Cook.

Career beginnings

Being fresh out of grad school with a new master’s degree in business administration and marketing I was searching to jump in the deep end and start my new career. To be honest I really had not heard of Finley & Cook.  My only visits to the Shawnee area were in my college basketball career to play against St. Gregory’s and Oklahoma Baptist University.  A close friend of mine and college teammate had started his career as an accountant at Finley & Cook after moving from Texas.  After discussions over the phone, I looked at the website and what the Marketing Associate position entailed and how well I shaped up for it.  After reading it, I thought I would be a good fit for the role and decided to submit my resume.  After all, at this point what did I have to lose, I was a fresh graduate looking to make his start in the work force and build a career.

I was very intrigued by a lot that Finley & Cook had to offer and honestly, a lot of the story behind the firm.  What I found very interesting about the firm was the history. This was a place that was not new, they have a history and a culture if you will, they have been in business since 1947. To me this means a lot of things.  For one they know what they are doing to be in business that long, and two it is located in Shawnee, Oklahoma which stood out to me even more.  Here is an accounting firm that is not located in the city of Oklahoma or the surrounding suburbs.  They have a formula for success that has kept the firm going. I was very intrigued with the Native side of the firm.  I was not familiar with the “Native services” and how it was linked to an accounting firm, it was definitely something I had never heard about before.

After submitting my resume and reading up on the firm, it was time to interview. Interviewing with Tracy and Mendy was a good experience. I knew what was expected of me at the firm, what my role would be and exactly what I would be doing on a day to day basis if I were to be the successful applicant for the position.

A few days later I got the call from Mendy sharing the good news that I had the job! The next step from here was starting day one and orientation with Shantel. This was a great experience even with the mountain of paperwork that needed to be done, making me re-live those college assignment days. The facility tour was great, I think the biggest challenge was trying to remember every single person and face you met on your walk around. Having Shantel on hand to answer any questions about the paperwork or anything in general was a great asset. We have a great IT team here so setting up my computer in seemingly 5 minutes was great and an achievement in itself if you ask me.  After this I was taken through a crash course about time sheets, the employee dashboard, emails and any other general info needed for a day one employee. The leather business folder was a great touch for me, it gave me the feeling that you have made it, you’re now in the adult world. After this you are then thrown right into the mix of things in the day to day life of a Finley & Cook employee, so you hit the ground running.

The working lane

The day to day life at Finley & Cook is extremely fast paced especially in the marketing department.  You have more deadlines than hours in a day and reservations, registrations and flight bookings in every different time zone across the Untied States to keep track of! With that being said, it keeps you going.  There is never a dull moment and you get to come across people from all different walks of life just over a phone call for a hotel reservation, flight booking or the great people that work for the Tribal organizations.   It is an incredibly fun workplace if you make it that way.  By that I mean you will run into people across all different departments if you are walking from one place to another in the firm.  Like any job, some days are worse than others, but the world is not perfect that is just the reality of it, some days you are under the pump to hit a deadline or to secure a booking before 5:00 pm. In marketing you really have your hand in everything across the firm, whether that be projects for 45th street, casino and government, marketing has some kind of role.  You are constantly working with different people from different teams on different projects.  No day is ever the same.


Looking back at my journey from when I started to where I am now within the Finley & Cook family, my experience has been great on all fronts.  I feel that I have learned a lot in fields that I definitely wanted to develop in.  Finley &Cook gave me a great foundation to learn the ropes and develop my skills and start my career.  Like I previously mentioned, some days are better than others however that is any job.  But I can safely say even on the worst day at Finley & Cook, I have had worse experiences in other jobs.  Finley & Cook is full of great people across all departments and roles within the firm, all with their own stories and personalities.  This first year has been great.  If I am honest, I have successfully gained skills in areas I thought were weak in my arsenal of skills offered and also learned different processes along the way. Everyone at the firm welcomed me in with open arms, so from a personal perspective, it feels like one big family. Adding to this Journey with the current situation of the world, I have learned even more with my time among the COVID-19 pandemic. I went from my day to day office job to setting up a home office and remaining socially distanced. This was an experience to say the least, going from your usual routine to being isolated at home and utilizing things like zoom calls and Skype just to stay connected. I think its safe to say I have experienced everything you could possibly experience within a year’s period.  Transitioning from office to home, in person meetings, to over the internet meetings and learning how to reschedule on the fly with the constant cancellations of events among this crazy time.  The skill of adapting to the current times and your environment has definitely proven its value on overdrive during this time for me.

The journey ahead

Throughout this journey I came across many crossroads, seemingly at every turn but I think that is something that pertains to life itself.  There are always going to be crossroads no matter how old we get and what we do, they are unavoidable.  I think the crossroads take us all on adventures that we will never forget and down every crossroad and turn you take; you never know what is in store.

Adam Todd-Thomas

Forever Family Member of Finley & Cook

I came to the United States by way of Brisbane, Australia 6 years ago now. I set foot on an unusual journey, being the path of collegiate sports, playing 4 years of Basketball at Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, OK.

In those 4 years I went to a National Championship and to countless places across the US.  I graduated with honors and a 3.70 GPA before tackling the next challenge of graduate school in Miami, Florida.  That year I spent the time controlling the sidelines and not being in between them as a graduate assistant coach for women’s basketball at Florida National University taking the team to the final four while working towards my master’s degree. I graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration and Marketing again on the honor roll with a 3.75 GPA.

From here I returned to my second home, Oklahoma City looking to begin my adult life.  Being an athlete my entire life, I’ve always been competitive and loved the grind to constantly better myself daily.

This was no different when I entered the work force with Finley & Cook, a CPA firm in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Stepping into the Marketing department, where everyday provides a new challenge and new projects to always keep you enthused and develop your skills on a day-to-day basis.  No day is ever the same within the Marketing department.  It is hard to get bored, being one of the only departments that literally has a hand in all departments of the firm.

I love the sense of competition in the Marketing department.  The biggest competitor is the clock.  Where it is about winning the day and winning the week to ensure the project gets completed on time.  Marketing lets me showcase my personality along with the ability to be in a team environment.  Being on a schedule to get things done in a timely manner, in marketing, the season never ends.  We don’t have peak seasons and down seasons.  It is just one speed the entire way, and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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