Why did you become a CPA?
Becoming an accountant was my dream job in high school. I took accounting courses and it was challenging, interesting and rewarding all at the same time. My idea of a CPA at that time was someone who was a problem solver and provided solutions so that the business could move forward. My goal was to become a corporate CFO and be a decision maker. To me being a CPA was to be an admired professional that worked hard to be successful.
Briefly describe your work experience.
I started out as a staff auditor at a local accounting firm, where I worked for three years and was able to work on various engagements that provided me with the experience I needed to move forward. I then worked as the controller at a billion dollar state agency. Both of those positions have allowed me to move in my current role as CFO for a non-profit with a much smaller budget. The job is just as rewarding and challenging.
Diversity in the CPA profession is a priority. Do you see progress in this area?
My oldest sister is a CPA. One of my cousins is a CPA. Today, I have several friends that are CPAs. In 2000, when I started in the profession, I only knew of three black CPAs. Fast forward to today and I cannot count how many diverse CPAs I know. Although we need to continue the efforts to increase diversity, I see the progress of diversity within the profession. I believe as C-Level mangers of the profession become more diverse, more will seek to become CPAs.
How do you balance work/life integration?
Unfortunately, this is something I continuously analyze! I am a work in progress when it comes to having a work-life balance. I have three young children who have a busier social life than I do. I am very fortunate to have a very strong support system with my husband and other family members. I try to do things that make my life easier, such as when my children are involved in their activities I find time for myself. I am most successful at accomplishing my goals when I keep a journal of all the things I need to get done.
What advice do you have for minorities and/or women entering the profession?
I would advise women and minorities to understand what is their ultimate goal. When I was in high school I wrote in my journal my goal to become a CPA and CFO. I forgot that I wrote that goal, but a few years after becoming a CPA I found my journal and was astonished at the seed I planted. It provided me with a renewed strength to continue to grow in the profession. Through all of the challenges and rewarding experiences, I know that if I had not established my goal early-on, I would not be in the position I am in today.