Jennifer Warawa - 2013 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

Jennifer Warawa

V.P. and General Manager
Sage Accountant Solutions
Sage North America

Education: Accounting Okangan University College; Strategic Marketing Management, Harvard Business School
Professional Associations: IT Alliance
Hobbies: Reading, public speaking, writing, relaxing at home.

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?

Some of the best opportunities you’ll have (and the best way to build your brand) evolve from engaging outside of the classroom. Look for opportunities to go ‘above and beyond’; show your commitment and passion for accounting and it will pay off ten-fold.

What advice would you give accounting firms on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?

I have engaged with many young female accountants recently as part of our efforts to connect with the next generation of accountants and it’s becoming increasingly clear that this group often feels as though they don’t have a fair chance to move up in the firm and that their career opportunities are limited. Involving young women (and men for that matter) in decisions about the future direction of the firm will go a long way in retaining great talent. They often feel as though decisions are passed down with no clear rationale as to why and that they have no opportunity to participate.

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 honestly thought the profession had moved to a more gender neutral state but surprisingly I have heard some discussions lately that have lead me to believe it is not as far along as I would have expected (or hoped).

How have you managed to balance your professional and personal life obligations, whether that includes family, etc?

Finding that perfect ‘balance’ is something I haven’t yet mastered. The way I have been able to balance my professional and personal obligations to date is by having an amazing, supportive husband that graciously fills in all the gaps and holds the fort down so I can do what I do. Without him, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make all this happen.

How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance?

I am extremely mobile in my professional and personal life. Mobile technology has created greater freedom to “WFA” (work from anywhere) and because of mobile devices, wherever I am can easily become my office, whether that’s a plane, a hotel room, or my kitchen table. There are times when the only reason I could attend a specific event is because I could stay plugged in to what was going on at the office without actually being there, so it has made a huge difference in both my productivity and work-life balance.

What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?

Given that I can’t ever be too far from it, I would have to say my iPhone. Although I should probably learn to create a bit of distance, it’s always within reach and if I don’t have it with me, I feel like I’m missing something.

What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?

Given my love of social media, I would have to say Twitter or Hootsuite are at the top of my list. These apps keep me plugged in to my favorite thought leaders, connect me to events (even when I’m not able to attend in person), and allow me to connect with anyone, whether I know them or not. They have also allowed me to meet new people and make new business connections, and I use these two apps the most.

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).

I love to read. When I’m in work mode I love motivational, business related books but when I’m on vacation, I love a good story to ‘take me away’. Because I travel so much, I also love downtime with my husband – walking the dogs or enjoying a relaxing evening by the fire (or pool in the summer). Just spending time at home is a real treat so it doesn’t take much beyond that to make me happy.