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Kristy Short, Ed.D – 2015 Most Powerful Women in Accounting


Kristy Short, Ed.D

Chief Marketing Officer
Rootworks, rwc360 LLC

Click here to see the other honorees of the 2015
“Most Powerful Women in Accounting” awards.


What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?

Don’t resolve to follow the standard path, which is typically to graduate and then work for a large firm right out of the gate. This, of course, is a sound career path, but there are other options. The profession isn’t the same as it was even a few years ago. Today’s small firms represent an entrepreneurial hotbed of opportunity. Driven by modern business models and cloud technologies, small firms are providing services on par with their larger counterparts. And with all the Baby Boomers set to retire en masse over the next several years, young professionals will be inundated with opportunities to advanced within small firms and, ideally, move into partner and/or firm owner roles.

What advice would you give accounting firms on ways in which they can better retain and advance more qualified female staff?

Make sure that a clear career path is in place. If qualified staff can’t see a future with your firm, they won’t stay.

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

At the risk sounding self-promoting, my answer is “The Intentional Accountant,” by M. Darren Root, CPA. I not only read the book, but I was also integral in developing it—working with Darren as his editor. Through the development process, I progressively absorbed the information and advanced to a new level of understanding in relation to the rate of change in the profession and what firm leaders need to do to stay relevant. This knowledge is invaluable as an educator.

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

I talk to hundreds of accounting firms every year on the topics of marketing strategy, marketing communications, and branding—all critical components of a successful business model. I also produce volumes of content geared to educate the profession, including my regular columns in CPA Practice Advisor, white papers, blogs, newsletters, and social media.

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

A few years ago I created an anti-bullying program called Operation Nice (OperationNice.ORG) for grades K-5. I offer assemblies to public and private schools that motivate and inspire kids to be kind to one another and work as a team to prevent bullying and create a culture where they “Spread the nice!” Operation Nice is based on my children’s chapter book—Zanda Humphrey’s Operation Nice. The level of energy created among the kids I talk to is inspiring and fuels me to keep up efforts in this area, even though there isn’t a lot of spare time in my schedule to devote to this much needed cause.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

With thousands of Baby Boomers set to retire, the profession is positioned for an explosion of entrepreneurial opportunities. The mass exodus of qualified professionals will create an even bigger demand for entrepreneurs and visionaries to take over firms and re-engineer them to continue to meet the needs of technology-savvy, cloud-centric clients.

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

Education! My expertise is in marketing strategy, communications, and branding…areas of business, which are not always fully understood or embraced by accounting professionals—yet very much required to compete today. I will continue to facilitate workshops, write articles and white papers, and speak one-on-one to firm leaders and staff to educate and move them forward in these areas.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped shape the direction or focus of your professional life.

My business partner and Chief Creative Officer at Rootworks, Wade Schultz. Like me, he is firmly entrenched in the creative side of the business, but is also a remarkable visionary in terms of business expansion and improvement. Time and time again he has guided me to think bigger and longer-term, as well as provided periodic reminders that all roads lead back to the client. That is, it’s all about making the client’s experience rich and purposeful. He also makes for a great therapist on those days when nothing seems to go as planned.


Click here to see the other honorees of the 2015
“Most Powerful Women in Accounting” awards.