Teresa Mackintosh, CPA
Executive Vice President, General Manager, Tax Business Unit
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
Social Media: @tmackintosh, Teresa Mackintosh
Educational Background: BBA & MBA – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Professional Associations/Memberships: AICPA, American Marketing Association
Hobbies: Exercise, good wine, a gazillion kid events
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?
According to the latest Rosenberg Survey, women partners have increased to approximately 15% of all partners in public accounting in the US. This is exactly parallel to the number of top women executives in other industries, whether we measure board seats, or top executive rankings in the US.
There are many theories regarding why there is not parity from the bottom to the top of the title distribution. There are two theories that resonate with what I see. The first is that in most households, there are really tough daily choices that conflict with the needs of the family, and career interests.
Second, many studies indicate that generally, women aren’t as comfortable taking risks to pursue opportunities outside of their comfort zone. We would rather wait until we are comfortable, and maybe even over-qualified. In my experience, I have witnessed both of these behaviors in spades.
What advice would you give to these college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
My advice to women in any profession is to seek the balance that makes the whole you, happy. There are no magic equations to get promoted, or find balance. The reality is that “work life integration” is about as good as it gets. If the partner/executive path is what you are seeking, go after it. Take on assignments that make you uncomfortable, regularly.
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?
Be Inclusive – both in your behavior, and the behavior you reward within the organization.
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 believe the profession has largely moved to a gender neutral state.
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?
In my experience at a very large firm, and then corporate America, there is actually a tremendous opportunity for women to excel and advance. There is support for success, and a genuine desire to have a diversity of decision making at the top levels.
What solutions have you found successful in managing work-life integration. the balancing of your career with your personal, family and social life?
Goodness, let me know what the answers are! Here are my best tips. Be present and engaged, no matter the activity. Whether it is 5:30 AM exercise, the Saturday morning baseball game, or the client meeting. Be there. Focus. Multitask a little less.
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?)
I am 100% in my work. I am either traveling, or working from home. I rely completely on the combination of my iPhone, iPad, and laptop.
What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?
In addition my iPad, iPhone and laptop, the availability of a mobile wi-fi device, and wifi on airplanes.
What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?
If I were still actively practicing, my favorite mobile app would be CCH;’s Intelliconnect. It is wonderful access to tax research from my mobile device. Since I work in industry, my favorite mobile app is Concur to track travel expenses.
What do you like to do when you actually have free time without any obligations to work or family?
My alone time is miserly divided between exercise, HGTV (kind of a junkie when I get the chance), drinking good wine in my fun new living room (note the connection to HGTV), reading on planes without wi-fi, and baking ( since my picky kids won’t eat any food actually worth cooking).