Local business man has faith in community; settles family, practice here

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

A strong commitment to the Elizabethton community rests at the heart of Kenneth R. Kelly Jr.'s business and his decision to remain in the area despite opportunities to succeed elsewhere.
   Kelly, a Certified Public Accountant, opened his own office in Elizabethton just over six months ago. At that time, he had a choice to make as to where he would take his trade.
   "I made a personal commitment to live and work and raise my family in Elizabethton," Kelly said. "It would have been real easy to go to Johnson City and set up a practice there but I still believe that it is possible to live here and work here. I have a lot of hope for this place."
   Kelly started work in the accounting field in 1995 and was certified in 1997. In order to achieve certification, a person must have a minimum of 150 hours of education in order to sit for the examination. That usually requires a baccalaureate degree with the pursuit of a master's degree, Kelly said. Kelly received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and attained his Master's in Accountancy from East Tennessee State University.
   Before making the decision to go into his own practice, Kelly worked in the accounting firmed owned and operated by Margaret Moses. He described his decision to leave that firm as a tough one for him to make. "I wanted to be able to provide a little more individualized service to my clients," Kelly said. "Margaret's office was so large I was doing more management than I was practicing and I felt like I needed to devote a little more time to the practice of accountancy.
   "Most of the time there was spent managing other people's work and not really devoting much time to my own work."
   As a Certified Public Accountant, Kelly offers a variety of services to both businesses and individuals. "Primarily with individuals we assist with planning for and preparing tax returns," he said. "We also do estate planning and related tax implications of estates."
   With businesses, Kelly can offer income tax planning and preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, business evaluations and auditing and review services.
   For Kelly, the most rewarding part of working as a public accountant is interacting with the customers. He said the best part of working with people is "being able to help businesses and people achieve their financial goals."