Accounting & Audit
Liz Taxin, MBA – 2016 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Oct. 24, 2016
Liz Taxin, MBA
Managing Director, Global Compliance & Reporting
Harvard University (BA, magna cum laude), Harvard Business School MBA
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
There are strong opportunities in the accounting profession for recent graduates, especially in the technology space. Become an active learner and raise your hand to become involved in as many projects as possible, even outside the scope of your day-to-day role. Network with people at all levels in the organization to expand your knowledge about practice areas. Take an international assignment to develop the global skill set required in today’s market. Do not be afraid to take risks and try new things – environments with challenge and discomfort are often the most fruitful to learn from.
What would you suggest to accounting firms that are interested in retaining and advancing more qualified female staff?
My advice applies to both women and men. Understand the myriad styles of different individuals and ensure that performance evaluations and promotions do not have unconscious gender bias. Pair junior staff with senior mentors, to help them to effectively understand and navigate politics and positioning. Offer training programs for key skill sets to advance to the next level. Millennials prioritize more flexibility in work environment and this is part of their overall job satisfaction.
Why did you choose to work in – and stay in – the accounting field?
I am in the software side of the accounting industry. It is high growth, global and fast-paced. Our customers’ needs are being transformed by technology, regulation, changing demographics, and globalization. These trends present interesting opportunities to innovate in software and help to shape the market of the future.
What are you currently reading?
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I like to read historical fiction and novels that engage areas of my brain outside of business. It expands my scope of thinking.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
Technology is already ingrained in the fabric of the accounting profession and will become even more so. Accounting firms will evolve the way they serve customers by leveraging data analytics and corporations will demand greater speed and efficiency. Globalization and centralization will lead companies to focus on a standardized view of accounting and reporting across all of their business lines, which will also be enabled by technology. Millennials will increase as a percentage of the workforce, including leadership positions, and they will shape the office environment of the future.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
By partnering with our customers to develop software that will help them to gain and sustain competitive advantage in their markets. Driving global solutions that reflect how companies operate today and drive efficiencies across the business.
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.
Early in my career, I was fortunate to have a boss and mentor who was a strong role model as an effective female leader. She offered candid advice across many dimensions and ensured that I was front and center for challenging assignments and roles. We have continued a partnership and she remains an advisor 15 years later.
Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow. View all challenges as learning opportunities and “act like a sponge” – soak up as many new experiences as possible outside of the comfort zone.
See the other recipients of the 2016 Most Powerful Women in Accounting award.