Exum Family

Fisher in the family

When Chris (BSAc ’90, MAcc ’92) and Chelly (BSAc ’90, MAcc ’92) Exum met as undergraduate students in the UF accounting program in 1989, they never could have imagined the legacy that was beginning.

Today, Chris and Chelly manage Exum LLC, a boutique accounting firm based out of Lake Mary, Florida. Their professional careers got off to strong starts because of the foundation built at the Fisher School of Accounting, and they have a unique perspective as they watch their children go through the same thing.

Exum family at Scotty’s graduation.

All four of Chris and Chelly’s children – Katey (BSAc ’20, MS-ISOM ’21), Scotty (BSAc ’22, MAcc ’22), Matthew and Mark – have graduated or will graduate from the Fisher School in the coming years. Katey is currently a Senior SOC Consultant at A-LIGN in Miami while Scotty is a Staff Accountant at Deloitte in Tampa. Mark and Matthew are identical twins in their sophomore years at Fisher.

“As soon as our children started school, we placed significant importance on education,” Chris said. “From a very young age, our children expressed an interest in attending UF. We always talked about how difficult it was to get accepted to UF. Many of the decisions that we made were based on producing well-rounded children that would have the opportunity to attend UF if they still wanted to when the time came. They never wavered on that decision, and the hard work we all put in was worth it.”

Exum family

Chris and Chelly at Katey’s graduation.

When Chris and Chelly got married in 1992, they decided to make Orlando their home. Chris started his career at Price Waterhouse while Chelly started with a local CPA. When the couple’s first child, Katey, was born in 1997, Chelly opted to start her own firm so she could stay at home with their daughter.

After Chris transitioned to Deloitte for a short amount of time, he left to run his family business. Chelly and Chris then decided to work together and focus on building up Exum LLC, hoping that the family would one day work together. The Exums have been serving their clients for over 25 years.

As the business and their children grew, the Exums kept their alma mater as a priority. They frequently returned to Gainesville for tailgating and football games. But as the kids got older and closer to going to college, an anxiousness returned about whether or not their children would get into UF started to grow.

Exum boys on a trip to Gainesville.

“With Katey and Scotty, it was really nerve-racking for all of us and such a relief when we found out they got in,” Chelly said. “With the twins, I was terrified. You start thinking about what happens if only one of them gets in or neither of them do. I still remember our excitement – screaming and running around the house – when we found out they were both accepted. We are so proud that we are all Gators.”

Going through the accounting program more than 30 years ago has given the Exums a unique perspective on how it has grown. They earned a strong foundation in accounting principles during their time as students, and now they’re able to watch their children gain the same thing.

“They are very prepared,” Chris said. “They are able to understand our discussions about accounting issues we deal with, and on more than one occasion, we have asked them for their input on issues so we can consider different perspectives.”

Chelly added, “We’ve also seen how the program prepared them for the CPA exam, as Katey and Scotty passed all four sections on the first try.”