Lauren B. Kovar, CPA, CITP, CGMA
Director – Client Advisory & Strategy
Aside from the accounting websites, which blog/website do you consider a must-read?
I try and grab relevant news from a variety of sources without any real must-read blogs or websites. I am more apt to follow people and their suggestions on what to read. There are several colleagues and friends within the accounting profession that I stay tuned in to.
In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
Continuous improvement is a model I try to operate from within my company – both for internal policy and process, as well as external clients.
I envisioned and formed a targeted client advisory and strategy practice within Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting to address critical needs in Corporate Tax software services and established key relationships with large multi-nationals to serve as the lead strategic advisor and transformation expert in tax and accounting strategy, risk, controls, technology and overall operations.
I produce key thought leadership content and serve as the technical expert to support multiple global marketing initiatives.
I serve as Senior Site Leader for one of the Thomson Reuters Chicago facilities with overall leadership, legal and compliance responsibilities for the location that includes more than seven unique business units and greater than 120 employees.
I brokered a multi-faceted professional development and credentialing program between Thomson Reuters and the AICPA to provide training on critical business competencies and advanced credentialing for our staff
In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?
In the last 7 years, I have been extremely active in the accounting professional through various volunteer and leadership efforts. While I was still in Michigan, I worked with the State Society on several committees, but most notably, as Vice-Chair of the Professional Ethics Task Force and as an instructor of ethics for CPAs.
I serve on the AICPA’s Consumer Financial Education Advocates committee as a long-standing member following my three-year term on the National Financial Literacy Commission. In both roles, I was asked to share my expertise to enhance public financial literacy through awareness and education.
In 2014, I worked with the AICPA to form the Tax Information and Operations Management Task Force. As chair, I lead a team of professionals who volunteer their time to serve as strategic thought leaders in tax information and operations management, educate the Tax and Accounting profession and influence curriculum development for Tax, as well as to attract more attention for this under-served area of the profession.
I also contribute my time as a member of the CITP Credential Committee and the CGMA Webcast Committee. In all my volunteer work, I strive to make a difference for both the profession and the individuals working in the profession.
In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
My husband and I work to participate and give back to the community where we can. In addition to monetary contributions to several charities, we donate time and goods where possible through several organizations including our church. I also volunteer as a music minister at my church.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
I perceive the accounting profession to be changing rapidly on several fronts. Of all the changes, I think the most near-term and significant is how work is done and from where work is done. In fact, it is happening around us right now. The traditional model of working at a desk from a computer in an office, or even of working on-site at a client for long stretches of time is no longer the standard. Accounting professionals work at all times from all locations and using a wide variety of technology to support them.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
I consider myself an active contributor in shaping the future of the accounting profession.
In my work for Thomson Reuters, I am helping grow the specialties of tax operations and tax technology. Never has there been a greater need than now for accounting professionals with skills in these areas of practice.
In my work with the AICPA, I have a unique opportunity to participate as a thought leader and influencer in the profession. Our tax information and operations management task force has a bold vision to shape the accounting profession through our efforts.
What is your career philosophy?
I work to be successful in whatever I do. I have shaped my career by following a path toward opportunities that allow me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, try new things, evolve my experience and always stay challenged. I believe in questioning the status quo and try to be an agent of change – always striving for continuous improvement. I consider my career to extend beyond the work I do for my employer to my volunteerism, thought leadership and mentoring for the next generation of professionals.
Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.
My father has been an important mentor in my career. As a retired CPA, he has a perspective that comes from lifelong experience and success in the accounting profession. Not only did he instill in me a strong work ethic, but continues to show through example how to give back to the profession and community. My dad taught me how to navigate the more challenging aspects of a career in accounting and he taught me the importance of making a difference in my work. My dad always gave time and energy to the next generation of students and professionals, which is something I try to embody in my own work. Much of my professional attitude comes from his influence and guidance, which is a framework from which I built my life.