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Kerri Gibson, CPA – 2015 40 Under 40 Honoree

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees are among the best and brightest talent in the accounting profession. They are all active in the professional community, as well as in their local communities, where many are small business owners and employers.

Kerri Gibson 55f97dfc0177d

Kerri Gibson, CPA – 39

Vice President & General Manager, Small Professional
Wolters Kluwer, CCH Small Firm Services
Kennesaw, GA

Twitter: @KerriGibsonCPA


What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?
I am an avid reader of just about anything I can get my hands on. Really there is not just one particular book that has been the single greatest influence on me. I have taken pieces of inspiration, guidance, and “ah-ha” moments from a multitude of books that had an impact on me in a particular moment. Although, when I reflect on my favorite books, there is a common theme of strong female roles from Nancy Drew (childhood favorite!) to Elizabeth Gilbert, Tina Fey, and Sheryl Sandberg. I like that they each created their own story and took the path less traveled.

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
No matter what industry you are in or what position you hold in your company the best thing you can do is listen to your customer and solve their problems. Listening to my customers and making sure we are solving their problems is what I do best to make my company better. My customers are why I do what I do each day…quite simply I think small tax and accounting firms are some of the most overlooked superheroes of the American economy.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?
Change is a constant, but you can participate more effectively when you fully understand the key drivers behind the need to change, the challenges to overcome, and what success looks like on the other side. It is really hard to do that behind a desk, so I have to be where my customers are. The tax and accounting industry has a lot of ways to engage and I try to take advantage of as many as possible to get a full perspective. I participate in and speak at national organizations & events because these are great for staying on top of common trends. I also put myself into their everyday lives through activities such as office visits, facilitating focus groups, and customer advisory boards. I am also a big fan of social media because at any point in time you can see what is top of mind for customers and even engage in dialogue to get real time feedback. All things that give me insight into my customers’ reality.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
I recently just moved from Atlanta, GA to Montreal, Canada so in addition to learning a new language I need to find ways to get involved in my new community. I am passionate about animals and in Atlanta I was involved with animal rescue organizations through fostering, adoption, and fundraising. We recently adopted a cat through a rescue organization in my new hometown so my first opportunity may be to see if they need an English translator (the organization not the cats)!

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
I truly believe that the accounting profession is on the brink of change, especially in the small firm space. Between the generational shifts in their client base and the affordability of technology small firms will evolve in terms of: 1) services they offer, and 2) solutions they implement to engage with a client base that is tech savvy, mobile, and often with diverse portfolios. As traditional services, such as tax preparation and bookkeeping, become commoditized small firms must adopt technology that allows them to run more efficient firms and deliver on deeper value-added services.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
Working on the technology side of the industry is really cool, because we get to create the solutions that will make them invaluable to the next generation of their clients. What we deliver really comes from where they tell us they are taking their business next. This is why it is so important that we stay involved with the profession and our customers– we must be ready when they are.  

What is your career philosophy?
Be open minded about opportunity, because you really never know what unanticipated career adventure may lay around the next corner. When I started my career as a staff auditor in public accounting I never dreamed I would end up in a technology company. Curiosity is a great companion to opportunity; the desire to explore the “why”, “how”, or “what if” even if outside your typical job scope can open career options you didn’t even know existed. You will probably even discover passions you didn’t even know you had!

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

I have had several great mentors but there is one that stands out. When I consider why these 3 things come to mind:  

  • Advocate and champion – This one may seem obvious, but never questioning that your mentor is rooting for you with pom-poms and bullhorns even when you are not around is a great feeling in a competitive workplace. This trust has to go both ways however, I also owed to my mentor focus and delivery on my goals and responsibilities.  
  • Strength Coaching – Most people focus solely on improving weaknesses, but also fine tuning your strengths to develop an ever better professional version of yourself is so important. There is definite value in improving your weaknesses, but this mentor also taught me how focusing on my strengths can help set you apart from the crowd.
  • Tough Talk – A mentor that can be straight forward even when the message is tough to hear is important. We will all hear tough messages as we progress down our career paths, but what I really learned was how to get past my pride and get out of my own way for becoming a better co-worker and leader.



See all of the “40 Under 40” honorees for 2015.