Skip to main content

Firm Management

Jennifer Warawa – 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.

Jennifer Warawa  55f9cd5d920b4

Jennifer Warawa – 39

Global Vice President, Product Marketing – Accountants
Atlanta, GA

Twitter: @jenniferwarawa


What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?
Many books have had a great influence on my life so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. The book I am reading right now is “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”. The reason I love this book is because we’re immersed in a world of multi-tasking and unlimited opportunities, and with that often comes a lack of focus. “The ONE Thing” is a great reminder of the power of focus and how it can accelerate your success – I’m loving it!

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
I believe one of the best ways someone can contribute to their firm or company is by constantly learning, evaluating, questioning and challenging the status-quo. I try to bring a ‘fresh set of eyes’ to my work every day and look for opportunities to do things differently to better serve our customers. I have been with Sage for almost eight years and I think it’s important to always refresh my thinking, stay close to the market and reinvent the way we do things.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?
First, I stay close to the market overall. Spending time with accountants and CPAs at conferences, trade shows, meetings and by visiting their firms is critical to ensuring Sage delivers solutions that will truly have an impact. Second, I’m a frequent speaker at conferences and I put a great deal of time and thought in to my content to ensure participants will take something away that can have an immediate, lasting impact. I love it when I run into someone that has heard me speak and they tell me, “After your presentation last year, I went back to my firm and made some big changes that changed our trajectory!” It’s feedback like that which tells me anyone and everyone can make an impact and help shape the future.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
Community is an integral part of my professional and personal life. I sincerely have a passion for giving back and helping those who have not been as fortunate as I have, and I also love working with youth Last year, my husband and I became foster parents and currently have two foster children, ages nine and ten. We are committed to being active participants in Georgia’s foster care program by recruiting and supporting new foster families, which is a huge community need. In addition, I volunteer with Family Promise, an organization committed to helping homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
Consistent with last year, one of the greatest changes we are seeing in the accounting profession, and one I think will continue to be seen for a while, is a rapid pace of change; not just around technology, but also how firms react to it. For a long time, accountants felt they couldn’t keep up with new technology, and now they’re seeing changing expectations from their clients that also factor in to their need to react and adapt. Clients are starting to demand increased engagement from their accountant, as well as deeper insights and action plans.

Basically, they see value in partnering with their accountant on a more frequent basis to help them navigate their business direction. In order to keep up, a firm will need to adapt their business model. How do they do this? First, they need to identify how they can add increased value to their clients and secondly, evaluate how they need to change their firm’s business model to support delivering on that value. It’s about positioning themselves as not just as a trusted business advisor, but a trusted, valued business advisor. Being a ‘trusted advisor’ isn’t a competitive differentiator in a profession full of the same; it is becoming more about the value add the accountant can bring to their client relationships.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
The accounting profession remains a strong part of Sage’s strategy and in order to support the profession (our valued accountant customers), Sage has increased its focus at a global level on the accountant market. In my new global role, I have the opportunity to not just deliver valuable cloud solutions to the accountant market in North America, but around the world. As we see firms beginning to shift their business models, they need help and support to successfully make the necessary transitions. We’re going to continue to innovate and deliver technology and educational solutions that enable firms to build more valuable relationships with their clients, ultimately being able to make a greater contribution to the success of small and medium businesses.

What is your career philosophy?
My career philosophy is centered on continuous development. I don’t think anyone is ever ‘done’ when it comes to learning, evolving and getting to the next level. As such, I am always personally and professionally looking to learn, grow, evolve and stretch myself. I believe everyone is capable of greatness so my ultimate career ambition is to not only achieve my fullest potential, but help those around me do the same.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.
My step-father Bert was a very important, life-changing mentor in my life. He was a business owner for his entire career and I grew up immersed in an environment of entrepreneurship. He taught me not just through his advice and guidance, but by how he lived his life and ran his business, which I believe makes someone the ultimate mentor. Through him I learned the fundamentals of being a successful business owner from A-Z and growing up working in a family business in a male-dominated industry (manufacturing) played a major role in who I am today.

Everything I learned in those 15+ years being closely involved in his business is applied on a daily basis in my leadership role at Sage and I am extremely grateful for his mentorship and the opportunity to be part of his business.


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