Updated May 25 at 4:09pm

A career choice with compassion built right in

By John Larrabee
Contributing Writer
As a partner at BlumShapiro in Providence, Monica A. Motta wears two hats. More

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BUSINESS WOMEN

A career choice with compassion built right in

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As a partner at BlumShapiro in Providence, Monica A. Motta wears two hats.

Her work as an accountant for many of the state’s nursing homes, home health agencies and assisted-living centers also has made her an advocate for thousands of elderly Rhode Islanders. Her reports guide businesspeople and legislators as they wrestle with funding requests and budget cuts.

“Before they cast votes, legislators have to be educated as to what’s going on in the health care industry,” said Motta, who frequently provides data to Statehouse decision-makers. “It’s our responsibility to care for our elderly. They can’t always speak for themselves.”

On Jan. 1, Motta’s colleagues spoke loudly when they made her the first female partner at the Rhode Island office of BlumShapiro, a fast-growing accounting firm with offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She handles more than $3 million in recurring revenue.

“Monica’s industry expertise is a critical component for our clients in understanding today’s environment of ever-changing regulations, reporting and funding guidelines, and federal and local requirements and changes,” said Greg Cabral, managing partner at BlumShapiro.

Motta, a native of New York state, became a New England transplant when she enrolled at the University of Rhode Island. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. “As a student, I fell in love with the state and my future husband,” she said.

She’s been doing accounting work since high school. “The school had a work-study program, which allowed me to be a part-time bookkeeper at a rubber and chemical import-export company,” she said. “My mother was a bookkeeper, too.”

As a newly minted CPA, she began working at Sullivan & Co., a Rhode Island accounting firm. BlumShapiro purchased Sullivan in 2013, which is how Motta arrived in her current position.

At Sullivan, she was part of a team that launched an annual Rhode Island nursing home trend report. It compares key indicators for all the nursing homes in the state, and provides analysis of current state and federal regulations. The report – which BlumShapiro continues to publish – has been guiding business and funding decisions for 15 years. As the chief author, Motta is frequently contacted by lawmakers, lobbyists, administrators and journalists seeking advice or information.

In 2012, Motta helped organize a conference for nursing home professionals throughout Rhode Island to help them understand and adjust to dramatic financial changes in the industry. The government was changing how institutions receive Medicare payments, switching from one universal rate to dozens of rates determined by types of ailments. More than 100 industry leaders attended, “a full house,” Motta said.

She has seen her work dramatically impact the lives of people living in Providence and throughout Rhode Island.

“One of the oldest nursing homes in the state, a place that served about 95 people, the majority of them on Medicaid, and which employs about 130 people in South Providence, had gone into bankruptcy,” she recalled. “We worked with state lawmakers to craft legislation creating an enterprise zone in the neighborhood, so that they could get more money for the people they served. They recently came out of a 10-year receivership.”

The result: No employees were laid off, and none of the elderly residents were displaced.

A decade ago Motta became involved in helping a venerable nursing care facility relocate from the East Side of Providence to the East Providence waterfront, a $50 million capital project. There were obstacles every step of the way, from zoning and financing issues to legislative hurdles. Motta stuck with the project, and last year was there when residents moved into the new 156-bed facility on opening day.

Motta has developed a lot of friendships and contacts in the health care industry. “The people at BlumShapiro and at many nursing homes have been around for a long time, so it’s easy to call people to find out what’s going on,” she said.

Motta is also known for her willingness to mentor others. She is a member of Leading Women of Southeastern New England, an organization that helps women advance into top executive positions. She also serves on boards for several organizations, including the Rhode Island Student Assistance Service, a nonprofit that provides counseling to students in public schools.

She’s active with several professional organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Rhode Island Assisted Living Association. And she’s a regular participant in fundraising fitness events, including the Alzheimer’s Association Yearly Walk and the Gloria Gemma Flames of Hope 5K walkathon.

Motta attends many client events, including the CharterCare Gala and the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Charity Ball.

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