SALEM- "We were a one-girl office when I started," Esther Coy explained.
When she started working for a Salem accounting firm almost exactly 55 years, in 1959, she answered the phone, did miscellaneous bookkeeping tasks, and typed financial statements-without any typos-on a manual typewriter.
Over the years the "write-ups" she did by hand in large ledger books moved to computers and she added the calculation of payroll and sales taxes to her work repertoire.
Nancy Votaw (left) and Esther Coy have shared an office for 26 of the 55 years Coy has worked at Salem accounting firms. With Coy’s retirement this week from Hack, Steer & Company LLC, Votaw will take over her work. (Submitted photo)
Coy, who will celebrate her 82nd birthday in July, will retire from Hack, Steer & Company LLC this week.
She kept working long after the usual retirement age because she enjoys bookkeeping and the close relationships she has with clients and office colleagues.
She has worked on many of the same clients' accounts for decades.
In fact, she has done one company's books since she was hired by Wally King in July 1959. King was a partner of Hill, Barth & King, which operated a branch office in Salem and was the predecessor firm of Hack, Steer & Company.
In 2006, Roger Hack and Steve Steer, who had been Hill, Barth & King partners, purchased the Salem office and have since operated it as an independent accounting firm. The staff currently includes four certified public accountants and eight additional employees with accounting backgrounds and significant tax preparation experience.
Hack, Steer & Company offers small businesses accounting and tax services including payroll tax preparation, as well as preparation of sales, use, and commercial activity taxes.
Esther specialized in payroll and sales tax preparation. When she retires on June 6, Nancy Votaw, with whom she has shared an office at Hack, Steer & Company for 26 years, will take over her clients.
"I just stayed on because I liked working. I enjoy working. I always liked the figures," Esther said. Loyalty and continuity also carry over into Esther's personal life. She and her husband Jim Coy have been married for 61 years. They live on the farm where Jim grew up. Their daughter Cindy Coy works on a research team at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, part of the Ohio State University in Wooster, Ohio.
Esther admits to being "kind of a perfectionist as far as getting things to balance: the bank statements and the books."
Clients always appreciated Esther's attention to detail. In recent years when she worked just part time, several long-time clients made a point of dropping off and picking up paperwork at times that coincided with Esther's work schedule so they would be sure to have a catch-up chat with her.
Esther said it is hard to describe the connection that she has with the firm's many excellent clients other than to say, "I got along with all the clients, worked well with them over the years."
Ever modest, she said, "You'll have to ask the partners if I did a good job."