Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

AFTER HIGH SCHOOL I HELD SEVERAL JOBS that gave me the opportunity to get into the trenches and understand the operations of a business. The diversity of that experience was a great help in my career. Two kids and a failed marriage later, I went back to college. I wrote an audit program for Pioneer Savings Bank as part of an internship, and it hired me to start its first budget department. I spent the next six years climbing the corporate ladder, putting in long hours and breaking the glass ceiling in an industry that typically did not embrace minority females in executive roles.

I WAS PROMOTED FIVE TIMES over a five-year period, thanks in large part to my boss, Bill Wall, the executive vice-president and CFO. He insisted I learn corporate politics and taught me to play hard ball when I needed to. I moved up to CFO when he left.

I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL FOR MY CPA ACCREDITATION after Pioneer was acquired by First Citizen. Being part of senior management during the acquisition made me realize that I needed more than just a bachelor's degree to go to the next level. The CPA added substance to my resume.

I ALSO HAVE CERTIFICATION IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT from the American Management Association. Manufacturing is very much about customer-driven processes, continuous improvement, benchmarking--and the project management concepts of scheduling, deliverables and budgets can be applied across many industries.

I LIKE TO DOCUMENT AND EXECUTE and see my initiatives come to fruition. You're never going to get everything 100% right; it's not a perfect world. But it's important to try to visualize the end of what you are trying to develop, work your way backwards through all the deliverables and have plans B and C.

I LIKE TO GO THROUGH ALL THE DETAILS of tasking out a project and all the scenarios that could make the critical initiatives get off-path. …

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