Early in my career, I worked as an auditor. This gave me the opportunity to take a glimpse into a variety of different businesses. I loved that I was forced to learn quickly. There I began my desire to be constantly challenged in my career.
My advice to anyone new to this field, or any career path, is to find a career you enjoy doing—a job that is in alignment with your core values and natural skillset. Work hard to be the best you can by learning from others, find opportunities to continue your education, and always seek a variety of experiences. Take every opportunity to try something different and learn from the experience. Be prepared for the next opportunity, but be patient about when it may come.
Today, I oversee the accounting functions at the second-largest public utility in the nation—this includes everything from payroll to payables and receivables to reporting. It’s a job I find both rewarding and challenging. As I moved into this leadership role, there are a few lessons I’ve learned:
Be a good communicator. Accounting involves numbers. In our field, it is necessary to understand the latest in accounting rules and regulations. There is another important aspect to accounting that is often overlooked: communication. A successful accountant must not only be able to know the details of their field, but communicate that information in terms others can easily understand.
Be a good team member. Whether it is your own staff or a cross-functional team, being a positive and productive team member is essential to being successful in an organization. You not only must contribute your skills, but you must also trust in others to do the same. The complete integration of various talents is the true value of a collaborative team effort.
Know your values. At some moment in your career, you may be asked to do something you don’t feel is ethical. When that occurs, I rely on my moral compass. To me, having moral courage is the single most important ability you can possess.
How has education affected your career?
In the field of accounting you need to continue to learn. Accounting rules are constantly changing and it’s imperative you understand them, at least at a high level, to perform your job effectively.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
My twin sister. She is also an accountant and someone I can exchange ideas with. We keep each other grounded and focused on what is important in life.