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Partner Spotlight - Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes is the managing partner of Forbes & Company in Atlanta, Georgia. He has a Bachelor in Accounting degree, specializing in Information Management Systems, from the University of Tennessee, and he obtained a Master of Accounting degree from North Carolina State University. Steve started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers working with smaller clients. Building relationships with these clients and developing advisory components to serve them better inspired Steve to get out on his own to make a difference beyond the numbers in the business accounting industry. Digging in deeper to what drives Steve, professionally and personally, gives great insight into the man at the helm of Forbes & Company. Enjoy getting to know him in the following partner spotlight. 

How do you keep yourself motivated and driven by your work, regardless of how busy you are day to day? Positive client feedback really drives me a lot. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, and I love hearing back from clients when we make a meaningful difference in their businesses and lives. 

What is your best business advisory-related tip for businesses? Focus on what you do best, and delegate the rest. We’ve built our practice around serving businesses that believe in this mantra. I’ve found over the years that the most successful business owners understand how valuable their time is, constantly work toward maximizing their own value, and by extension, that of the business. Too many times I’ve seen fresh entrepreneurs be hesitant about passing off tasks. It ends up overwhelming them and taking them away from what made them start their business in the first place.

How do you define success? Happiness

What does true leadership mean to you? Inspiring others to be happy and fulfill their purpose. 

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? Before deciding on accounting, I was also considering architecture and advertising. It’s no surprise that those two alternatives are now specialty industries for us.

Which country do you want to visit and why? I’d really like to travel to the South Pacific to see the reefs and islands there. Once our kids are both at a safe age to scuba dive, we’re hoping to make a family trip there to explore.

Who would you like to visit with over coffee? That’s tough. This answer probably changes by the day, but today I’ll say Bill Gates. I love reading interviews by him, and he seems genuinely invested in using his wealth to better humanity. I’m a big fan of his work with Polio, in conjunction with Rotary International. Others heavy in the rotation are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Trey Anastasio, David Attenborough and Thom Yorke.

What are the the top three highlights of your life? The three most fundamental to shaping my happiness today are marrying my wonderful wife, Sarah, and the birth of my two amazing daughters, Anna and Maddie. For three more fun ones, I’d go with these:

  1. Sarah and I visited Paris and London as an engagement celebration. It was an amazing experience that really opened up my eyes to so many things. Our shoe-string budget made the adventure even more interesting and rewarding.

  2. Going to NC State for my Master’s degree was pretty formative for me. I was going there without knowing anyone. I received a fellowship scholarship to go there and felt a sense of responsibility to perform at an even higher level than I had previously. I look back at that experience as the start of my career in accounting.

  3. My first music festival (Bonnaroo). I was really into music as a kid, playing trumpet and tuba in band through high school. I no longer had an outlet for this interest when I started college, and my passion for music somewhat fell by wayside. I went to Bonnaroo in my late twenties to see Elton John (a childhood favorite), and the live music experience helped me rediscover my enthusiasm for music. This led me to playing bass guitar in a couple of bands in North Atlanta. We’re currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, but we’re still practicing! 

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime? The internet. Mobile technology is a close second.