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Firm Management

Kristen Rampe, CPA, CGMA – 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.

Kristen Rampe 55f9769f92c4c

Kristen Rampe, CPA, CGMA – 36

Principal, Kristen Rampe Consulting
Grand Rapids, MI

Twitter: @kristenrampe             


What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?

Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg. When I came to realize that as an experienced professional service provided, I needed to network and sell, I was scared. Like a lot of accountants that I work with now, I felt like this was NOT my calling. Go Givers Sell More shares practical networking and business development tactics well-suited for those who cringe at the thought of rainmaking.
In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

I have successfully implemented seamless integration of all functions of the business. Our marketing director (me), CEO (me), professional staff (me), accountant (me) and business development team (me) literally embody a unified approach to achieving our goals and objectives. Without this contribution, we would still be working, painfully, in silos.
In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

I am involved as a member of the Michigan Society of CPAs, serving on the Program Curriculum Committee and the Women’s Initiatives Committee. I also serve on the selection committee for the MICPA/AICPA Women to Watch awards.

One other way I seek to improve the profession is through sharing best practices on communication, client service and practice management topics. I write periodically for AccountingWeb and AccountingToday, as well as my own blog. I’ve also designed templates for the PCPS division of the AICPA, giving their many members access to great tools they can use in-house to develop people and future leaders.
In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

I volunteer in-classroom with Junior Achievement. Through this work, I help high-school students learn about the soft-skills necessary for finding a good job they love using JA’s Career Success program. I’ve held board positions and delivered other financial literacy programs, and I currently spend a lot of time volunteering with my children’s school.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

We will have a 10-20% less-stodgy reputation. Accounting is a profession filled with hard-working, deeply knowledgeable professionals. We live with a long-standing persona of being a bit boring, and tough to communicate with, but that is changing. It’s evident in the way accounting firms are embracing marketing, client-service and retention efforts.

I foresee sharing with our communities that accounting and accountants can be fun and engaging, without losing our reputation for high-caliber work.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

I see myself as one of the catalysts for accountants becoming better communicators and enjoying their work and workplaces. I believe in promoting the cultures that foster cross-generational connection, value top-tier client service, and seek strong engagement. I plan to continue to help accountants explore and embrace these dynamics.

What is your career philosophy?

Work smart, play hard. Know your goals, find your flow, be efficient. Then take breaks, enjoy yourself, and have fun. These recharge you and allow you to work smart again.

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

Mike Knowles, the partner I worked for during my seven years at Frank, Rimerman, had a huge impact on my career. He showed me the value of having a sponsor on your team as you progress. Mike sought out so many opportunities for me to lead others, develop new programs and demonstrate my talents, even beyond what I would have chosen for myself. Being sponsored by someone who was successful ahead of me, and saw my potential, influenced my career success beyond measure.

I’m also glad he didn’t change his mind on supporting me as I executed a variety of office and departmental pranks.



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