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Firm Management

Elizabeth Pittelkow, CPA.CITP, CGMA, DTM – 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.

Elizabeth Pittelkow 55f979c7bf339

Elizabeth Pittelkow, CPA.CITP – 33

Director of Accounting and Compliance
ArrowStream, Inc.
Chicago, IL

Twitter: @Pittelkow


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

The most influential book for me personally and professionally is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. It motivates me to be a better person and helps me to inspire others to improve their lives.

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

I co-lead our company’s accounting efforts and work with other decision-makers to help determine our corporate strategy. I also champion our compliance efforts, which has helped us implement IT best practices and maintain a strong risk management focus.

I care about our people, so I have contributed to human resources initiatives, such as conducting satisfaction interviews with our employees, developing cost-effective internal training programs, and planning social events and philanthropies.

One of my favorite roles is serving as the president of my company’s Toastmasters club. Our club is open, which means that it serves both our employees and other members of the Chicago community. Our customers, vendors, employees, and friends have improved their leadership and listening skills, public speaking abilities, and overall professional confidence through the activities of our club.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

I encourage fellow young accounting professionals to become engaged in the accounting profession by seeking leadership roles within their companies and professional associations.

I speak for and represent young accounting professionals and members in business and industry for the organizations I serve. I currently serve on AICPA Council, the AICPA Business and Industry Executive Committee (BIEC), and the AICPA E.D.G.E. Conference Planning Committee. I also serve on the Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors and the Illinois CPA Society Ethics Committee. My leadership roles enable me to influence the strategic initiatives of these organizations and uphold them within the accounting community.

I am passionate about promoting integrity and strong strategic skills in our profession. I seek opportunities to write articles and teach classes about ethical decision-making, public speaking abilities, team-building, leadership skills, and effective listening.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

I participate in the Illinois CPA Day of Service every year through activities such as fundraising and walking for Relay for Life, helping to maintain neighborhood food gardens, offering résumé advice to students, and mentoring young new moms on the importance of building credit and saving for the future. I also enjoy teaching Junior Achievement classes to young Chicago students to help them learn financial concepts such as budgeting and investing.

I volunteer with my ArrowStream colleagues by giving time to the Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) Adopt-A-Family program, packing food at the Chicago Food Depository, and making cards for children in hospitals as part of Cardz for Kidz.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

Accounting professionals will become trusted advisors in more than just accounting and finance; they will be the go-to experts and thought-leaders in technology, operations, and business decision-making. Strategic skills like communication, negotiation, and problem-solving will be just as important as technical skills in our profession.

Technology will continue to be a strong focus, especially with cybersecurity concerns, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) considerations, and technological advancements that will improve the effectiveness of our work and the work of our clients.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

A key to our future success in the accounting profession is attracting students and encouraging them to pursue lifelong careers in accounting. I serve as a mentor to College of Business students at the University of Illinois to help them understand how accounting careers offer meaningful contributions to individuals, to companies, and to the public.

My hope is to continue to serve in leadership roles to be a voice in the profession and help shape initiatives that will enable our profession to thrive in the future.

What is your career philosophy?

My career and life philosophy is to always do the right thing and to continuously better myself while uplifting others.

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

My parents collectively combine into my “Super Mentor.” My dad has taught me the importance of integrity and quality in business, and my mom has taught me to question everything and to better myself and others around me. Both have taught me to celebrate, remember, and cherish the important people and moments in life.


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