Charlottesville, VA – July 2, 2018 – Florena Fay Paurillo, CPA, gained her United States Citizenship last month, after spending more than 10 years in our country and helping hundreds of Hantzmon Wiebel clients with their federal and state taxes.
Prior to coming to the States, Paurillo was a CPA and professor of accounting in the Philippines. In addition to these impressive credentials, including an MBA, she also gained her Master’s in Accounting at Liberty University and sat for her CPA exam here.
“When I came to Hantzmon Wiebel, they gave me a chance while I took my classes and sat for the exam. I am very grateful,” says Paurillo.
Paurillo came over on a single-entry fiancé visa. She and her now-husband Allan had known each other as children in the Philippines before his family moved here when he was 9 years old. They had lost touch, but reconnected when his family visited the Philippines in 2004. The friendship grew and they decided to marry.
“I came here with a suitcase by myself. I had my clothes and my wedding dress in it,” says Paurillo. ”I left everything behind: my career, my home, my parents. I was 29 years old and had a life there. It was a big risk.”
Four children, all girls, and 12 years later, Paurillo decided to make it official and become a citizen. In order to qualify, you have to be a resident in good standing for at least 5 years, complete an extensive application, pay more than $750, complete a background check and get fingerprinted. In addition, candidates must study civics, history, and current events for a verbal exam. Paurillo’s children quizzed her regularly. It was a part of their breakfast table conversation and a daily ritual. She passed with flying colors.
According to Paurillo, the hardest aspect of becoming a citizen is giving up your loyalty to your home country. She said the finality of it was hardest, but the judge made it better by stating that candidates were giving up their loyalties, but not their culture that makes them unique.
Paurillo is grateful to have this life and provide the luxuries of this country to her daughters. She says that education and insurance are a privilege, not a guarantee, in third world countries. In fact, her father left home at 17 years old and lived on his own in order to go to school. He, too, is an accountant. Her grandfather could not read or write. As a farmer, he could only sign his name.
“My dad always said, ‘If you want to get ahead in life, you have to go to school,’” says Paurillo. With three degrees, she’s done just that.
“When I think about the challenges Fay faced and all that she has accomplished, I am amazed. She’s a delight to work with and a trusted resource to our clients and staff. She is a quiet leader in our midst. We are extremely proud of her accomplishments and are humbled to call her a friend,” says Jennifer Lehman, CPA, CGMA, CEO, Hantzmon Wiebel.
Since 1928, Hantzmon Wiebel has worked as a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs, family businesses and nonprofit organizations to help them utilize best practices in their industry to grow and thrive. As the largest and most experienced public accounting firm in central Virginia, we serve clients locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Hantzmon Wiebel is a member of Allinial Global, a member-based association dedicated to the success of independent accounting and consulting firms.