Sandra Wiley, SPHR
2018 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
President – Boomer Consulting, Inc.
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
As our profession continues to morph into the advisory and consulting world, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for women to build a career that is flexible and highly rewarding. As you look forward, think about your career in chapters, and know that no matter what profession you decide to undertake, you will need to land in a place that allows you to grow, change and continue to build a professional resume. Accounting can absolutely do that for you, but you might need to add some additional flavor into the mix with Marketing, Sales and/or data analyst skills.
What would you suggest to accounting firms that are interested in retaining and advancing more qualified female staff?
Build a culture that allows for lattice style career path growth and a ton of flexibility. You will recruit and most certainly retain if you allow women to find a path that is right for them at various times of their lives. It is not a defined path any longer, it is a curvy one with many routes. Additionally, find strong female and male mentors that will help motivate and guide your younger female team members. They need your time and your knowledge.
Why did you choose to work in – and stay in – the accounting field?
As a consultant, I tell people all the time that I stayed in this profession because every day I get to work with incredibly smart and fun people. Are their struggles, of course there are, but all of the positive attributes far outweigh any challenges.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading Crucial Accountability. I love the book Crucial Conversations and given that accountability is essential in our businesses today, I believe this is a perfect book for me – and the clients we serve.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
I feel a bit like a broken record, but the movement from the compliance business model to the consultant business model is going to shift to warp speed! Given that technology like AI, Blockchain and Data Analytics are improving daily, the need to move to a new business model including niches, service line development, different metrics, pricing, naming and hiring is imperative. What an exciting time we live in!
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
We have developed The Business Transformation Playbook at Boomer and it is woven into everything we do. We are transforming the profession through communities, training and consulting that we perform.
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.
Gary Boomer has been my mentor for 20 years. He is a master at motivating and pushing me, even when I don’t think I need it!
Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow.
Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich).