Free locked in to the idea of becoming an accountant during his sophomore year at Derby High School. Last month, the 24-year-old launched his career by joining the Salina-based firm's manufacturing group as an associate.
"This is a dream job that I've come into," said Free, who works from Kennedy and Coe's office in east Wichita. "They treat their employees very well."
Free, who earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Kansas and a master's degree in accounting from Wichita State University, said his first days on the job have featured "ground level work" to familiarize him with the firm's clients. He will soon begin field work, visiting Kennedy and Coe's clients throughout Kansas, eastern Colorado and southern Nebraska.
"A lot of places, you either go into audit or tax," Free said. "You don't get to see both sides too often. Kennedy and Coe kind of allows you to see the whole picture.
"You might go out and do an audit and then come back and do the return. It allows you more access to the client. That's probably one of the biggest things that was appealing to me."