Amy Vetter, CPA.CITP, CGMA
2019 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
CEO – The B3 Method Institute
BBA Accounting, University of Cincinnati
MBA, Nova Southeastern University
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession
There has never been a better time to be a woman in the accounting profession. When you are starting out, that is your time to explore all the different career opportunities there are in accounting. Take the time to learn the ropes and realize it is laying the foundation for what your long-term career will be. Don’t hold yourself back from taking opportunities that are presented to you, even if you feel you are not ready. Instead embrace the chance to keep growing and learning and creating your own unique path. For example, I started in external audit, then internal audit and corporate finance, later opening my own advisory practice, becoming a partner in a firm and then working as an executive in accounting technology software companies. There is no limit to where you pivot your career, as long as you keep saying yes to each new opportunity that presents itself. There are so many routes to go, don’t limit yourself, find what makes you excited and where you can have fun along the way.
What would you suggest to accounting firms that are interested in retaining and advancing more qualified female staff?
Ensure you have a diverse leadership so that the voices at the top represent the diversity you want in the firm. When there are leaders empathetic to different cultures and gender in the firm, then there is more awareness and empathy of the unique needs of each segment of staff in the firm. This also brings diversity of thought, different opportunities for networking that each diverse group has exposure to that others outside of that group may not even know about. Additionally, they can spearhead and champion initiatives in the firm to ensure they are fully executed and there is a voice at the decision table to represent the importance of it and make sure it gets the budget and focus it needs.
Why did you choose to work in – and stay in – the accounting field?
I knew I was going to be a CPA when I was 12 years old. My grandfather was a CPA in the 1930s and served his entire career as a CPA. Before college, I was deciding between music and art and going to business school, I realized what excited me was helping businesses thrive. Accounting has given me the skills and opportunity to continue to pivot in different directions when my expertise or interest grow in a new direction. There are so many different ways to be in the accounting profession, from public accounting to corporate accounting, technology to advisory services, and so much more. If there are verticals you are excited about, you can specialize further into construction, government, retail and the list goes on. There is no limit to finding what is right for you with the expertise you build over time. You just have to keep your eyes open for those opportunities and get involved.
What book(s), blog(s), podcast(s) do you recommend?
- For Leadership – Leadership & Self-Deception – The Arbinger Institute
- For Self Discovery – A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
- For Self Discovery – Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
There will be a continued awareness of diversity and making an effort to make a positive change in that area. More and more traditional tasks in a firm and corporate departmenst will be automated, creating an opportunity for learning and becoming more strategic in the work we do. I also think we will see more and more non-traditional boutique firms growing that may not necessarily have all CPAs as leaders in the practice, instead these firms will specialize in vertical industries and services where other specialties will be needed to serve the client, beyond accounting. The CPA exam will start evolving, changing the college curriculum and the skillsets accountants are being trained for once they graduate.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
I am a keynote speaker, author and contributor to accounting media, that helps to provide guidance on what is coming and the steps each of can take to get there, whether it be from the technology perspective, or creating better human connections with our clients and teams. Additionally, I volunteer with the AICPA as the Technology Innovations Taskforce leader, with the blockchain initiatives, as well as, the planning for AICPA Engage Practitioner’s Symposium and Technology + Conference.
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.
I haven’t had only one person in my career life. I have people inside and outside the profession that I go to for different guidance. I believe you seek out the people you need, when you need them, to help with your growth and providing an outside perspective that can challenge you and steer you in the right direction as well.
Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow.
“Create a life true to yourself rather than what others expect of you.”