Cheri H. Freeh, CPA, CGMA
Principal: Hutchinson, Gillahan & Freeh, P.C.
Educational Background: AAS in Accounting, Northampton Community College; BSBA with Accounting Specialization from Thomas A. Edison State College
Professional Associations/Memberships: PA Institute of CPAs and American Institute of CPAs
Hobbies: Hiking, Biking, Tennis, Home Renovations, Reading.
Click here to see the other honorees
of the 2014 “Most Powerful Women
in Accounting” awards.
1. What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
The sky’s the limit. There are countless opportunities, however, they will not be handed to you, you must earn them.
2. What advice would you give accounting firms on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?
Be flexible. I used to always joke around that I needed a “wife” because the fact is, my male counterparts had someone at home that was doing their cooking and cleaning and making sure the kids were taken care of and I did not have that. Luckily, over the years I had employers that were flexible and understood that I was at the mercy of the day care center hours and school hours and had to run out during the day for doctors or dentist appointments for the kids, etc.. This didn’t mean that my work was put on hold, this meant that I worked at more unconventional hours. I remember sitting in a dentist’s office waiting for my daughter and working on tax returns on my laptop. What counts is that the work got done and the clients were happy, not where and when I completed that work.
3. 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 there is still room for improvement. There are certain areas where women still have to work a little harder to prove themselves.
4. How have you managed to balance your professional and personal life obligations, whether that includes family, etc?
I’m probably the wrong person to ask…….My name is Cheri and I am a workaholic . I think organization is the key (I’m a big list maker). I work nights and weekends if necessary, my clients know that I’m available at most any time yet I still managed to raise three daughters, be a girl scout leader, serve on multiple non-profit boards, be the cookie mom, serve as a foster home for a couple dog rescues and work on construction projects on my house. You just need to be organized, plan ahead and set healthy priorities. That means making sure that you include time for yourself. After surviving breast cancer my priorities changed and I will admit that if it comes to cleaning my house or going for a bike ride….you’ll find me on my bike.
5. How mobile are you regarding your work?
How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance? I love technology….the ability to work remotely in the field with laptops and portable printers and scanners and networks is great, but my favorite is the fact that I can keep up with my email and stay in communication through my cell phone. All that down time waiting for meetings or traveling has now become more productive.
6. What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?
As I mentioned above, my cell phone.
7. What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?
Probably the .pdf reader. I went from carrying large binders full of paper to meetings and now I just take my i-pad. I can read all the documents and mark them up and it’s easy to do while on a plane or train.