Sandra B. Richtermeyer: Accounting Profession Advocate

By Williams, Kathy | Strategic Finance, August 2010 | Go to article overview

Sandra B. Richtermeyer: Accounting Profession Advocate

Williams, Kathy, Strategic Finance

Management accountant. Public accountant. Accounting professor. Volunteer. IMA[R] Chair Sandra B. (Sandy) Richtermeyer, CMA, CPA, Ph.D., has been all of these and more. "Now I very much enjoy being an advocate for the accounting profession," she says, and she's planning ways other IMA members can help her, particularly in promoting the Certified Management Accountant (CMA[R]) credential and in developing leaders. "The CMA is applicable to so many different types of organizations, and it puts a great strategic focus on all the important roles and responsibilities of accounting professionals," she adds. "Its strategic lens shows how accounting and finance professionals can empower an organization and be an integral part of the leadership team and the progress that organizations make. Being a CMA has given me the perspective to look at the profession in a much broader sense and to examine all the various possibilities that accounting and finance professionals have."

In her past and present work with a variety of nonprofits, Sandy has been concentrating on leadership development, board development, and governance. "I enjoy helping nonprofit organizations with their strategic planning, governance, succession planning, and performance measurement. I'm able to be involved with all of these at IMA, and that's one of the things that makes my IMA service so engaging.My many years of IMA service have helped me prepare for a variety of leadership roles. I hope our members take advantage of opportunities that IMA offers them to grow as leaders, which, in turn, can translate into great things for their career. I continuously see how our active members transfer their IMA involvement right into the workplace. I enjoy encouraging our current and prospective members to get involved."

A Good Balance

Led by a strong work ethic and a spirited sense of duty, independence, and fun, this fourth-generation Wyoming native admits that she spends the majority of her time in a balancing act because there are so many things she wants to accomplish both professionally and personally--and she loves it! "I've always done a variety of things simultaneously," she laughs, "because I didn't want to settle for just one thing at a time." This determination started back when she was in high school in Cheyenne."My sister, who's an accountant, told me I should take an accounting class in high school because I would really like it--and she was right. But I also loved my computer technology classes. I've always enjoyed math, so these were natural extensions. When I went to college [the University of Wyoming in Laramie], I planned on being a computer programmer and systems analyst. Then I got a job as an accountant for a John Deere dealership while I was still in school. They were just implementing their first computer-based system, so I took the lead on that initiative, redesigned their accounting system, and wrote custom programs for features they needed that the system couldn't provide. I realigned their processes, worked with the management on decision support and cost control, and supervised all of their financial accounting functions. It was my first management accounting work. That made me decide to also major in accounting, so I graduated with a degree in management information systems and accounting."

As soon as she graduated in 1987, Sandy took a job with a public accounting firm in Denver, Colo., and quickly sat for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. "Working for a public accounting firm, it was extremely important for me to obtain my CPA license right away," she says. In her early CPA days she worked primarily in tax and assurance services. As she gained a few years of experience, she began providing management consulting services to her clients. Her early consulting engagements frequently involved systems implementations and business process redesign.Many of her clients were implementing their first complex accounting information system, and it was a great opportunity to be involved with their decisions from conception through a few operating cycles that helped her monitor system stability. …

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