With a Mind for Math, Crow Finds Fit As CPA at Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck

By Don Wade

As a child, Kelly Crow thought she might be want to be a nurse. A neighbor was a nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and she always seemed to have a case that was inspiring.

Kelly Summons Crow held an internship at Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck PLC while a student at Christian Brothers University. Today, she serves as a tax manager for the Memphis-based accounting firm.

(Memphis News/Andrew J. Breig)

“I loved the stories she told,” Crow said. “And the role she played in other people’s lives.”

But before Crow had even graduated from St. Agnes Academy, she had come to a realization: Queasiness at the sight of blood doesn’t mix well with nursing.

Her father, Bill Summons, was a math teacher. In fact, he has been at it for some 30 years and today serves as faculty senate president at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

“I’ve always had a mind for math,” Crow, 29, said. “Due largely in part to him.”

But teaching math was never an option – “I don’t have the patience for teaching,” she said – and so she set off on another path.

Eventually, that path led to attaining an accounting degree from Christian Brothers University. While a junior at CBU, she received an internship at the Memphis CPA firm of Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck PLC. She was hired full-time and today serves as tax manager.

Her mother, Pam, worked in management for Medtronic and her father sees her career as a CPA as a natural blend, if you will, adding, “She got that business gene from (her mom).”

Crow also carries a competitive gene. She pushed academically and was the same way after she committed to running cross-country. But her dad also remembers that came about almost accidentally.

“She was in junior high and they were going to watch some movie she didn’t want to watch,” he said. “At the same time they said, ‘Anybody interested in cross-country, go to the gym.’ So to get out of the movie, she went to the gym. My wife and I were surprised because she didn’t like to be out in the heat.”

She got over that and then some. Crow was captain of her high school cross-country team and earned a scholarship in the sport at CBU.

While she had dismissed the notion of nursing, she still wasn’t positive what she wanted to do when her dad took her and a friend to an accounting camp in Nashville while she was in high school.

“We did not want to go,” Crow said, adding they swore they would never go near a ledger again.

But today that friend is a CPA in Cincinnati. Crow started as a business major at CBU, but switched to accounting when a professor taught the subject with gusto, explaining it as a heretofore unrealized adventure of complexity and theory.

“She was phenomenal,” Crow said. “She was excited about it.”

And that’s how Crow continues to approach accounting. At Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, she works with high-wealth clients, real estate partnerships, nonprofits and auto dealerships.

“It keeps me on my toes,” she said. “I love the variety of clients. Every business is different. Every industry is different.”

Although her running days are all but over – sore knees – she does bring that runner’s mentality to her work – pushing, pushing, pushing until the job is finished.

“I don’t want to leave anything on the table with any of my clients,” Crow said. “Same as on the cross-country course – don’t leave anything in the tank.”