Hard work creates good outcomes, whether that’s in someone’s personal or professional life.
Borland Benefield associates are no strangers to hard work. That includes Charlie Polmatier, Borland Benefield shareholder and head of the Municipal Audits Division. Charlie has focused on building client relationships and strengthening Borland Benefield’s auditing capabilities since 1999, exemplifying the dedication and skill that has become Borland Benefield’s hallmark.
And he’s no stranger to the world of competitive cycling, either.
A Fresh Start
Charlie found his way to Borland Benefield thanks to a combination of skill, curiosity, and happy chance.
“I moved to Alabama from Georgia so I could attend Auburn,” Charlie says, “I studied and attained my degree in economics.”
That economics skillset led him to a position at SunTrust Bank in 1995. But, despite his respect for Suntrust, he was driven to do something more.
“One day,” he recalls, “I got a chance to speak with the bank’s CPA. I was very interested in how this CPA was the lynchpin between companies – our clients – and the bank itself. That world intrigued me, so I set about finding my way into it.”
After putting in long hours at UAB’s night school, Charlie exited as a certified CPA in 1999.
It just so happens that Borland Benefield was searching for a new CPA that same year, and Charlie leaped at the opportunity after meeting with Sheldon Webster, a staple shareholder in Borland Benefield’s history, as well as a real-life adventurer.
Charlie joined the team and never looked back.
Growing into the Role
“I’ve been building relationships between clients and Borland Benefield from my first day in the office,” Charlie says.
During his first year, Charlie was part of the Borland Benefield team delivering audit services to Selma, Alabama – for the administration of Mayor James Perkins, specifically, the first African American mayor of Selma.
Charlie also built up Borland Benefield’s ability to provide auditing services for Public Housing Authorities and other municipalities.
“The rules and regulations that PHAs have to follow under HUD are ridiculously complex,” Charlie points out. “We’ve gotten the cadence and processes down to a science here and act as the bridge between PHAs and HUD.”
Under Charlie’s leadership, Borland Benefield’s Municipal Audits Division has become synonymous with quality. In fact, the primary source of new clients stems from word-of-mouth between PHAs that have used Borland Benefield’s services.
“I don’t go out and sell what we do,” Charlie says, “I go out and sell us. We keep PHAs in the loop, but we don’t bog down clients with emails or meeting requests either. We have a very streamlined system. I chalk that up to my time in the banking world and my economics background. CPAs are usually the ones helping third parties – I’ve been that third party, so I know what our clients are thinking and going through. “
Skilled in the Office, Skilled on the Road
Like every Borland Benefield associate, Charlie has hobbies outside of work – hobbies many would find surprising.
“I’ve always loved being active,” he says. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always been white water kayaking with my dad, mountain biking with friends in Georgia, or playing golf or football or baseball. But age and family catch up with everyone. I stopped having the time to do all that.”
That led Charlie to take up road biking. “I picked up my first bike in 2007 and fell in love with it instantly.”
Over time, Charlie rode farther and faster, pushed himself more and more, and eventually became part of Birmingham’s dedicated cycling community. In 2015, he got his USA cycling license, allowing him to participate in road racing events. (He bikes in up to twenty events a year!)
“I’m not a biking pro by any measure, but I’ve raced competitively all over the country. I’ve won a few events, like the 45+ Time Trial for Alabama and Georgia in 2019 and the River Gorge 40+ in 2017 or 2018. I just keep pushing, and that seems to get me where I need to go.”
Charlie admits his hobby has become a habit. He now has six bikes in his collection, and Amazon knows his address as a steady flow of bike parts arrive at the office regularly.
“I just love the challenge of the competition,” he adds. And few events are more challenging than the LoToJa––a 203-mile race from Logan, Utah, to Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. For that race, he brings an entire support team to help.
Great Work from Great Accountants
From his drive as a young accountant to his dedication to honing his skills to his focus on making Borland Benefield’s Municipal Audits Division the best around, Charlie exemplifies just how integral dedication is to excellence.
“There’s a culture here that’s built on doing right by the client,” he says, “even when that means taking the long way around. It’s tough, but that just means the best are attracted to Borland Benefield. And these people always deliver their best. I’m very proud of that.”