Michelle Golden, CPF
Education: Columbia College, management and marketing
Professional Associations: International Association of Facilitators (past board of directors, past US Regional Representative)
Hobbies: genealogy, reading, and being in the sunshine.
Click here to see the other honorees
of the 2013 "Most Powerful Women
in Accounting" awards.
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
If you have a knack for numbers, accounting is truly the backbone of business. Lean toward coursework in management, economics, communications, and marketing. You’ll need a broad knowledge of business to succeed in accounting. Leadership will likely be in your future, too. Develop all the skills you can in these areas. Accounting is an interesting, exciting field with a lot of different potential career paths in every possible industry. To make the most of your opportunity for growth, know more than numbers.
What advice would you give accounting firms on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?
It’s not about attracting and advancing more females, it’s about finding and nurturing the most intelligent and entrepreneurial CPAs. Encourage and reward innovative thinking; act on team members’ new ideas; stop promoting people who don’t exhibit leadership traits; and role-model healthy and authentic behaviors. These are the things that will help you keep the best and the brightest, regardless of their sex.
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?
If you believe there’s a ceiling then there is. I’ve never bought into that, nor have the successful women I admire most. The world isn’t gender neutral and probably won’t ever be (though I’d much rather be called “sir” than “ma’am”!). The fact is, men and women are different, and those differences benefit the workplace as much as they benefit the home.
How have you managed to balance your professional and personal life obligations, whether that includes family, etc?
I try to be present with my family (I can always do better) and I try to commit only what I can deliver. It’s hard to combat the superhero thing that I put on myself, but it’s necessary because there’s only so much I can do. Seeing how fast my older kids grew up was the rude awakening I needed to focus more on the family and worry less about the work and the house.
How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance?
Extremely mobile. Being able to store my work in the cloud substantially simplified and enhanced my business and totally changed the way (and where) I work. I started my company 15 years ago and I have no idea how people ran businesses before the interwebs—I’m in awe of what people accomplished without the ease we now experience, and take for granted.
What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?
I’d have to say my iPhone. A week ago, I would have said my iPad, but I recently left it on a plane (Southwest recovered it for me) and I missed it greatly, but my phone managed to cover me in the interim.
What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?
OmniFocus. Best task and time management tool that I’ve ever used.
What do you like to do when you actually have free time without any obligations to work or family?(Examples: reading, wine and movies, tv, art, travel, exercise, cooking, etc).
Love to spend time with my kids and grandkids the most. I enjoy traveling, good food, good books, and spending time in nature.