The real estate industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that requires professionals to be adaptable, detail-oriented, and forward-thinking. Pete Leoni, the Controller at The Menkiti Group, possesses over a decade of experience in accounting and finance within the real estate industry. In this interview, we delve into his journey, role, and insights into the real estate accounting world. We also learn about life outside work as well!
The Path to The Menkiti Group
Pete’s journey to The Menkiti Group was driven by a combination of factors. He was initially drawn to the organization by the remarkable impact it had on neighborhoods across Washington, DC, through transformative development projects. The prospect of working alongside visionary leaders in a mentor-mentee relationship, was a major selling point. His focus on building a long-term career with the company and opportunities for substantial professional development solidified Pete’s decision to join the organization.
Behind the Scenes of a Controller
As the Controller, Pete plays a pivotal role in helping the leadership team make strategic and opportunistic decisions rooted in accurate information. In simple terms, he ensures the financial gears of the organization run smoothly. This involves building and refining processes,monthly reporting on the 64 properties currently under the company’s care and staying up to date on the commercial real estate landscape to make informed and strategic decisions at any point.
A key aspect of Pete’s role is problem-solving. When issues arise, he works to understand their root causes and develops processes to prevent similar challenges in the future. This skill for process improvement stems from his experience working in times of great change at previous companies, where he honed his skills in change management and driving solutions.
Enjoying the Journey: Passion for Real Estate Accounting
Pete’s passion for real estate accounting is deeply rooted in the tangible nature of the industry. He finds fulfillment in the end-to-end process: from the initial work required during property acquisition to coordinating with various departments when an asset is placed into service. The pinnacle of satisfaction comes from seeing fully leased, cash-flowing properties that contribute value to tenants and their neighborhoods. It’s a motivation flywheel that keeps him engaged in the demanding work and successful in his role.
Adapting to Industry Shifts
The real estate industry has witnessed significant shifts in recent years, particularly with the introduction of new accounting standards like ASC 606, which helps outline and define how to deal with revenue received from customer contracts and ASC 842, which requires all leases longer than 12 months to be recorded as assets and liabilities on balance sheets to foster transparency. Pete acknowledges the challenges these changes bring but views them as opportunities for growth. Ensuring compliance with these standards will provide a solid foundation for accounting and financial reporting as The Menkiti Group embarks on larger and more complex development projects.
Outside the Office
When Pete is not wrapped up in accounting and finance, he is enjoying life at home with his wife and two young children. He loves to explore local neighborhoods and their restaurants, but when he stays in, he is excited to cook and try new recipes. Pete is also a major soccer enthusiast. Since playing collegiately at Canisius College in Buffalo, he continues to play and watch soccer whenever he finds the time.