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Firm Management

Karen Abramson – 2014 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

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Karen Abramson

CEO
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting
www.cchgroup.com

Education: BA, George Washington University
Professional Associations: Past executive board member of the American Assn. of Publishers; Member of European Executive Council for Outesll, Member of International DOI Foundation Research Board
Hobbies: Travel

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Click here to see the other honorees
of the 2014 “Most Powerful Women
in Accounting” awards.
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  1. What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?

    Work hard, do your best and when opportunities present themselves, don’t turn them down. Follow those opportunities and see where they lead, and don’t be so worried about setting your own plans. At Wolters Kluwer we encourage people to participate in different task forces across the business that are outside their particular area of expertise. That gives them exposure to other managers so we can help move them around and grow their career.
  2. What advice would you give accounting firms on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?

    One of the ways to change is to have firms focus on succession planning and talent management to make sure there is balanced representation. At Wolters Kluwer one of the things we focus on in our planning is to have equal gender representation at all levels. To ensure that that leadership will be well balanced moving forward we very much believe in giving stretch assignments and roles with operating responsibility.

  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?

    According to the AICPA, although 44% of the accounting profession is female, only 19% of CPA firm partners are Women. Clearly this is an area that still needs some focus.

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

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever received regarding balance was: don’t approach it as work will always come first, or your children will always come first, or your husband will always come first…because you will have a day when one comes first and other days when the other comes first. It’s all about balance.

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

    Our Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting division has 40+ offices in 20+ countries so I am always working virtually. Mobility is what enables me to do this.

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

    My iPad.
  7. What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?

    CCH mobile (of course!) to stay up to date on tax and I really like the Waze app and how it leverages and integrates user generated content