The Language of Business
Even in grade school, Todd Stokes exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit. He fondly recalls his first business venture: growing up on the east side of Seattle, in Microsoft’s back yard, Todd and his friends sold reformatted floppy disks. He knew he had struck gold when his list of paying customers included his classmates’ parents.
Todd credits his enterprising nature as the driving force behind his entry into the accounting field.
“I’ve always had an eye for seizing opportunities and saw accounting as the language of business. Having an understanding of financial statements provides insight into any venture. I wanted to speak that language in order to really understand businesses and organizations.”
After gaining more than 16 years of audit and accounting experience, primarily devoted to employee benefit fund and labor organization audits, Todd achieved his ultimate goal. He was thrilled when he was invited to join the Lindquist partnership, to enjoy an ownership stake in the firm.
As a partner, Todd is responsible for audits of more than 15 defined benefit, defined contribution, health, apprenticeship and legal funds, including funds with upwards of $2.6 billion in total assets. Todd contributes to the audit of a complex Taft-Hartley defined benefit plan with $40 billion in total assets. His experience includes audits of local and regional labor organizations with approximately $12 million in total assets and more than 15,000 members. Todd also supervises scheduling for more than 50 audit and return preparation engagements conducted by Lindquist’s Seattle office.
Todd’s colleagues count on him to bring clarity to even the most complicated accounting matters. He possesses unique expertise with complex investments and their structures. Since joining Lindquist in 2007, Todd has participated in the firm’s annual internal inspections and has developed and delivered training on benefit obligations, hard-to-value investments and investment valuation. He also helped compile and maintain the firm’s investment guide, a nuts-and-bolts manual for the Lindquist staff. The publication describes a multitude of investments and how to address them from an audit perspective and outlines each investment’s financial reporting and tax considerations.
While others may be intimidated by the challenge associated with complexity, Todd is intrigued by it.
“I think it comes from wanting to understand new things,” he says. “When a client purchases a new investment, I’m determined to get up to speed on it and understand how it works. There’s a perfectionist side to it, as well. As an auditor, I want to get things right, make sure I understand everything as I should.”
No Stranger to Hard Work
It’s no surprise that Todd loves a challenge. His college education was funded by commercial fishing and construction work in the summers.
“My uncle fell in love with Alaska and bought a commercial fishing boat and permit in the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, Bristol Bay. After high school, I followed him to Alaska and put myself through college working on his boat in the summertime. When I returned home to Seattle, I worked at my dad’s excavating company doing commercial and residential concrete work for the rest of the summer."
Having an understanding of financial statements provides insight into any venture. I wanted to speak that language in order to really understand businesses and organizations.
Todd continues to spend time on the water, fishing, crabbing and hanging out with friends and family on Puget Sound and around the San Juan Islands. When he’s not outdoors, Todd can be found restoring vintage arcade games. His growing collection includes 26 machines.
“My sweet spot is machines from ’77 to ‘82, like Asteroids, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong—the ones I grew up playing,” Todd says. “I enjoy looking for rare games. After I find them, I restore them and bring them back to life. I like working on the electronics, getting them up and running.”
B.A., Business Administration with an Accounting concentration, University of Washington
Professional Memberships and Activities