By Kristin Butler
There aren’t many firms in Indian country that commit to hiring 100 percent Native and exclusively serving tribal clients.
Sean McCabe, Navajo, has been doing just that since 2006, when he co-founded Anuskewicz & McCabe, P.C. (AMCPAs), an accounting and consulting firm based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
AMCPAs is one of the very few Native American-owned and -operated accounting firms in the U.S. and the only one in the southwest. AMCPAs clients include tribal governments, tribally owned businesses, Indian-owned casinos, Indian schools, Native media and that glass walkway over the Grand Canyon.
“I also pride myself in working with other Native businesses. For example, my brother Joshua Lavar Butler is doing PR for us. Rocky Tano of Obsidian did our website — that’s just me working with other Native businesses when I can,” said McCabe, AMCPAs managing shareholder.
At its annual Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (National Center) recognized Anuskewicz & McCabe, P.C. (AMCPAs) with its American Indian Business of the Year award for its decade of success handling tribal accounting services.
“…I’m going to go off script here to say that Sean is also the accountant for the National Center, and he has done an outstanding job of getting our accounting system compliant and transparent. And plus, he’s just a great guy,” said Patricia Parker, National Center Board vice chairwoman, when announcing McCabe’s honor at RES Las Vegas.
Sean’s work and experience also recently garnered him the National Center’s and the State of New Mexico’s Emerging 40 Under 40 Leaders awards.
AMCPAs prides itself on service with mindful attention to the delicate weaving of business and culture within tribal organizations. Progressive-thinking, the firm is also on the cutting edge of technological breakthroughs and consults its tribal clients on specific tech advancements.
“I was telling my family earlier that any person who thinks that they can get an award like this or have the opportunity to serve their people and do it on their own is just fooling themselves, because awards like this are an indication of all of us coming together as tribal businesses,” McCabe said. “Like Miss Parker said, I work 100 percent with Native America, and not a dollar goes in my pocket or food in my kids’ mouths if it didn’t first come from something Native. I share this award with all of you, because this really is an example of what we can do when we come together.”
McCabe is a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in Arizona and New Mexico. McCabe has more than 19 years of experience in finance and public accounting. A Navajo tribal member hailing from the Fort Defiance Chapter of Navajo country in Arizona, he is well-known for not only his financial consulting work but also his speaking engagements throughout Indian country, such as providing training and advice on relevant governmental audits and operational issues through the National Indian Gaming Association’s speaker series.
McCabe earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and started his career as a staff auditor at a local firm in Albuquerque. He so impressed a client that he was recruited to join that firm as CFO. Soon after, at just 28 years old, he was named CEO of the company. He later moved on to his second CEO gig.
McCabe’s journey eventually lead him back to Indian country to co-found Anuskewicz & McCabe, P.C., combining his passions for accounting and helping tribes. McCabe co-founded Anuskewicz & McCabe, P.C. with another Sean, also a CPA with a track record of working within Indian country: Sean Anuskewicz. The duo additionally co-own Native Payroll Services, LLC, along with two other CPAs. It’s the only Native-owned payroll processing company in the U.S.
McCabe said he is humbled by the Business of the Year recognition and hopes his achievements will inspire other Native entrepreneurs and professionals to work hard for Indian country. “We will continue strengthening partnerships in Indian country,” McCabe said.
McCabe is a member of the New Mexico Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
McCabe is also heavily involved with other Native organizations. “Sean gives back,” Davis said. “You see him on so many different boards, donating his time with so many organizations out there in Indian country.”
From 2007-11, McCabe served as the inaugural board chairman of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise where he oversaw the development of the tribe’s multi-million dollar gaming economy. McCabe also the first and to-date the only Native member to serve on the AICPA Minority Initiatives Committee (MIC). McCabe uses the MIC as a platform to encourage Native students to pursue an education and a CPA career.
Since 2012, McCabe has served as the board chairman of the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F), a nonprofit founded by four-time PGA tour winner Notah Begay III. NB3F is committed to promoting healthy nutrition and sport among Native youth. McCabe is fiercely dedicated to reversing the deadly epidemics of childhood obesity and Type II diabetes in Indian country.
McCabe serves as board secretary/treasurer of Dine Development Corporation, parent company of NOVA Corporation — last year’s winner of the National Center’s American Indian Business of the Year award. McCabe is also a member of the National Council for the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian.
Despite his busy schedule, McCabe fits in plenty of quality time with his family, and he enjoys playing golf and guitar. He’s also an avid U2 fan and aspires to play in a U2 cover band.
Before leaving the RES stage, McCabe praised the National Center, and specifically its President and CEO, Gary Davis. “I’ve worked with a lot of organizations that are top notch, and Gary Davis is one of the most inspirational Native leaders out there. He could be running right now for [U.S.] President; I’d vote for this guy,” McCabe said, and he was received by a round of applause.