Geni Whitehouse, CPA.CITP, CSPM
Countess of Communication:
Brotemarkle, Davis & Co. LLP
Social Media: @evenanerd
Educational Background: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC BS BA, concentration in accounting
Professional Associations/Memberships: AICPA; Organizer and speaker coordinator for TEDXNapaValley
Hobbies: Comedy, Improvisation, Hiking, Blogging, Writing
Click here to see the other honorees of
the 2012 "Most Powerful Women
in Accounting" awards.
Studies show that more women than ever are graduating with accounting degrees, but few are pursuing, or staying in, public practice careers. What do you think may be causing them to think public accounting careers are not as attractive as other careers?
The time commitment and focus required to advance to a senior management position is difficult when you are trying to raise a family. Today’s women and men seek positions that allow for both rewarding work and a full and balanced life.
What advice would you give to these college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
Accounting is the language of business. Whether you pursue a career in public accounting or in any other field, it is extremely valuable to understand and apply accounting concepts.
If you were asked as a consultant to give advice to firms, would you have any recommendations on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?
Provide more opportunities for client interaction earlier and encourage accountants to improve their written and oral communication skills. Consider offering more part-time positions, eliminate the billable hour, and harness technology to create remote work environments.
Do you think that there is still a glass ceiling in accounting firm senior management and partner levels, or that the profession has moved to a mostly gender neutral state?
I think women have little tolerance for unrewarding work, but I don’t think there is a big difference in treatment of men and women. I think the accounting profession offers great opportunities for women.
Do you think being a woman in the accounting profession has made career advancement more challenging than it might have been for a male in the same situation?
I didn’t feel that I was given unequal treatment at any time in my career. The accounting profession rewards hard work and results.
What solutions have you found successful in managing work-life integration. the balancing of your career with your personal, family and social life?
I don’t know that I have been particularly successful managing work-life balance. In the early years, my family suffered as I worked long hours and travelled a good deal. I worked in the tax department and missed out on many of my children’s milestones. I am fortunate to have a husband who has always shared the responsibility for caring for our children and home.
How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance? (Spending less time in the office?)
We are all more mobile than we ever thought possible although our profession has been slow to empower employees to take full advantage of remote work and related opportunities. We should be spending more time with clients and less time in our offices.
What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?
My smart phone – the GPS system and camera have become crucial tools for functioning in today’s world. And who could stand to be without Twitter access for more than 15 minutes?
What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?
Expensify has changed my life. I travel a good bit and no longer have to spend hours summarizing and aggregating my expenses. Now I can take a photo, upload the image and create a report in minutes.
What do you like to do when you actually have free time without any obligations to work or family?