Downtime with Robert Mesher

Jason E. Kaplan
Robert Mesher, co-founder of Geffen Mesher, the accounting firm, in his wine cellar.

The co-founder of accounting firm Geffen Mesher enjoys collecting wine and reading cheap fiction.

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What I am reading

Cheap fiction. I love to read at night; it’s very relaxing, and I run in cycles. I’m completely out of the murder-mystery cycle. I’m reading all kinds of other fiction — or nonfiction, if it can get my interest in the first few pages.

Must-have gadget

It’s hard to believe that we have something called a cell phone. Now it takes the place of a portable computer for me. I think I’ve got a couple of portable computers at home that I never touch; why touch it when the cell phone does everything? It’s unbelievable.

Professional role model

Well, I had the good fortune, even though I started my own firm at a very young age, to merge that practice with Henry Blauer and Stan Geffen. Henry Blauer was amazing to me. He was witty, quick, intelligent, knowledgeable. I don’t know how many adjectives I can throw at him.

What motivates me to come to work

I tell people I’ve been practicing retiring now for 13 years, so obviously I’m motivated in some way. It’s the people who motivate me: the clients, the staff and the relationships.

What I am watching

Mainly news, with the exception of the series “Succession” on HBO.

What I do outside of work

Golf and collecting wine.

Favorite family tradition

Annual family holiday gathering. We’re Jewish, but both my kids married Catholic, so we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas with our grandchildren.

We sometimes jokingly call the grandchildren “cashews” because they are Catholic and Jewish combined.

Favorite place to vacation

Beach house at Seaside.

Fondest memory growing up

The freedom I had as a child growing up in the Irvington [in Portland] neighborhood. All the boys in the neighborhood would ride their bikes to Irvington Park to play sports.

In the winter it was football, and I’d come home so muddy that my mother would hose me off with the cold garden hose water before letting me in the house.

The biggest disruptor to the accounting sector in the next 10 years

So much financial consulting happens naturally in conversation. A client will mention something they think is a small detail and not realize how valuable the information is in terms of increasing their options on a deal or unlocking a tax benefit.

With business communications happening more and more with technology, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the ability of accountants to get the broader picture needed to consult effectively.