Virginia Passarell: Accounting for Success
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SANTA ROSA — After 15 years working in the dental industry, Virginia Passarell took a bold step to broaden her professional opportunities. “As the manager of a group dental practice, I sort of hit the ceiling in terms of upward mobility, so I decided to go into a new field,” she explains. “I went back to school, earned a degree in Management and Accounting, and got a job working at a corporate CPA firm. I loved the work, but I didn’t love being in a cubicle. Three years later I became a corporate controller, where I managed the accounting departments for several large corporations. This was much more to my liking, but when the economy turned and those corporations closed down, I found myself wondering what to do next. Ultimately, I opted to open my own tax preparation firm, which turned out to be a wonderful decision.”
Today, as owner of Passarell Tax & Bookkeeping Services, Virginia says that while she likes working with numbers (“They sit still and do what I tell them.”), her favorite part of her job is working with people. “I really enjoy helping my clients. Many of them come in feeling anxious about the process, so I like being able to sit down with them, walk them through the steps and put their minds at ease.”
A resident of Santa Rosa (where she lives with her husband, Jim), Virginia expresses her appreciation for life in Sonoma County. “After being here so long, I’ve developed a lot of close relationships with people, including many clients who have become good friends. I never want to move. I’d feel lost if I lived somewhere where I didn’t bump into familiar faces at the grocery store or on the street.”
Outside of work, Virginia fills her free time with a variety of active interests and pastimes. “I enjoy sewing, quilting, cooking and playing mahjong,” she says. “I actually belong to a group of ladies who get together monthly to play mahjong. I also love art—there are a lot of great artists in this area, so I enjoy meeting new artists and collecting artwork.” Additionally, Virginia likes spending time with Jim and their daughter, Andrea. “Andrea recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in linguistics. She speaks Spanish, French and Japanese. I joke that she dabbles in English, because a 25-year-old’s usage of the language is a bit different than mine.”
In regard to her professional career, Virginia espouses the value of professional equanimity. “I’m very calm and composed when working with clients and discussing their taxes,” she explains. “My goal is to remove all of their fear and anxiety regarding the process. It gives my clients peace of mind knowing they can come in and drop their problems in my lap.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Virginia says she’d recharge her batteries before filling her social calendar. “I’d probably lay in bed for a couple of days and then start scheduling activities and get-togethers with friends. Of course, I would certainly miss my clients, so I’d be proactive about maintaining those relationships as well.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A cat person. My current cat, Fumi, is a beautiful, bright-eyed Ragdoll.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Cook with friends. Although, if it’s Sunday, it’s watching football—I’m a big football fan.
Q: What’s your favorite type of food?
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Cookbooks—I have more than 300 of them! One of my goals is to thin out my collection, but I’m a bit of a hoarder, so it’s easier said than done.