Why did you become a CPA?
I was a straight A student in math throughout grade and high school, but I wasn’t sure about becoming a math teacher. In college, I discussed my love of math with my academic counselor, who enrolled me as an accounting major. After graduation, I worked as an accountant for several non-profit organizations, where I attained the position of finance director. I set a higher goal for myself and went to work for a CPA firm. My first assignment there was to work on an audit of a large local school district. I became fascinated with the profession and worked toward and obtained my CPA license.
Briefly describe your work experience.
I started my professional career working in several non-profit organizations. Since then, except for a short period working at a university, I have worked in local CPA firms, including the last 26 years as head of my own firm. Most of my experience has been in conducting and supervising audits for the United States Government, the State of South Carolina, non-profit organizations and businesses. I have also provided accounting, tax, and management consultation services, written accounting manuals, personnel manuals and job descriptions for several organizations and provided training and instruction to agency personnel in the implementation process of any new policies, procedures and guidelines. In addition, I have performed peer reviews of other CPA firms.
Diversity in the CPA profession is a priority. Do you see progress in this area?
Yes, I see the CPA as a profession of service. Service is defined as “the work performed by one that serves the good of, help, use, benefit of, or contributes to the welfare of others”. The characteristics of individuals and the framework of American businesses today are so varied that I believe the CPA profession must grow and maintain diversity in order to keep pace and continually serve the public with excellence of quality.
How do you balance work/life integration?
Sometimes the demands of this profession require working long hours, especially during tax season. However, you have to balance it out by making time for the things you enjoy most in life. For me, this includes traveling with family and friends, attending sporting activities such as my grandchildren’s soccer games, and watching NBA basketball on television.
What advice do you have for minorities and/or women entering the profession?
Know thyself! Don’t let anyone else define who you are. If you believe that this is your calling, don’t give up or get discouraged when you encounter obstacles or difficulties. This profession is varied and there is so much to learn. If at first you don’t get it, study it again and again until you do! In today’s climate, perseverance and dedication can take you as far as you are willing. But remember to take time out to enjoy life with family and friends, so that you can truly enjoy the fruit of your labors.