September 2016 Special Section

Charity And Taxes: Two Constants for Austin, Gillman & Lovano


Written By: Paxton Sellers

Tucked away on Park Avenue off Newberry Road sits Austin, Gillman & Lovano, a small, high-end accounting firm. The name Austin dates back to the original owner of the firm, Keith C. Austin, who worked from his dining room table for several years before founding the firm in 1956. Although the firm has changed owners since then, each one has kept the name Austin out of respect for its founder and the firm’s 60- year history in Gainesville.

Different from many accounting firms, Austin, Gillman & Lovano believes in respecting the specialties of various professionals. The six accountants in the firm work in tax return preparation and proactive tax planning for their clients, so they may advise clients about planning needs as well as current year tax returns.

The firm prides itself on caring for clients and their high level of service, said Gillman. With each individual’s best interests in mind, the team of accountants will refer clients to other specialists, like financial advisers or attorneys, should they need life insurance, wealth management or legal documents. “We want to make tax preparation, planning and life transitions seamless and less stressful for our clients,” said partner Kristen Lovano. “A lot of clients want a personal relationship on top of the professional. They want to know they can trust you with their information.”

The care for others that Lovano and Gillman show in their professional practice extends to the charity work they do in their free time. Gillman was a board member with the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County and is now a board member of the Junior League of Gainesville. Lovano was a member of the board for Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida and is now the treasurer of Alachua’s chapter of Girls on the Run, an after school elementary and middle school program that inspires girls to be healthy, confident and achieve their goals. “They learn how to relate to other girls, to find confidence and to love themselves,” Lovano explained. The 12 week program operates in the fall and spring semesters and teaches life skills through interactive lessons and running games. At the end of the program, the girls do a community project and participate in a Girls on the Run 5K. “That’s how we teach them they can do anything they set their minds to,” Lovano said.

The pair are also involved in the Women’s Giving Circle, which Gillman chairs. Organized through the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, the Women’s Giving Circle is a volunteer group of about 70 women who pool their resources to help fund selected local organizations. According to Gillman, the group recently contributed towards a new building for the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG), a nonprofit that provides family resources to Southwest Gainesville. “We care,” Gillman said. “We want to help people move forward.”

In both their professional and personal time, the team at Austin, Gillman & Lovano are focused on making life better for the people of Gainesville, a 60-year legacy they plan to uphold for years to come.

 

PAXTON SELLERS is a recent college graduate and a Gainesville native. By day, she’s an aspiring journalist and editor. By night, she works on her Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification and perfecting her macaroon recipe.

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