Accounting & Audit
Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA – 2019 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Jun. 12, 2019
Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA
2019 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Partner, Garbelman Winslow CPAs
B.S. Accounting, Salisbury University
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
There are huge opportunities in all industries of accounting for women,. However, there are enormous opportunities to own your own business in the small public accounting business sector. It is important to make a place for yourself at the leadership table. You need to learn how the business works and make sure you are the best in the necessary areas for advancement. You have to be willing to work hard, be innovative patient and take risks. I used technology to elevate my advancement at my Firm. You have to be willing to take on projects that maybe you do not believe you have all of the qualifications to complete. You do not have to know everything, you just have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and figure it out. Your ethnicity, hair color, or the fact you have tattoos does not define who you are. It is your knowledge, the way you treat others and your willingness to succeed that defines who you are. You belong at the table and I know you can do it!
What would you suggest to accounting firms that are interested in retaining and advancing more qualified female staff?
Women need to be given access to leadership roles and shown the way for success. There needs to be knowledge sharing from the top down and also advancement cannot just be about billable time. There should be rewards and incentives for innovation and efficiencies.
Why did you choose to work in – and stay in – the accounting field?
I chose public accounting because I wanted to help people understand financial statements and grow their businesses. I chose to stay at a small firm because I wanted to continue to educate client’s on financial statements and help them leverage technology to make their lives better. We are all so busy and our client’s keep using outdated systems which are not efficient and they do not know where to begin. To remain a trusted adviser we must listen to what keeps our client’s up at night and it is not always about the numbers.
What book(s), blog(s), podcast(s) do you recommend?
I am currently reading The Excellence Dividend by Tom Peters. Honestly, I am not a huge book reader, I like to follow influential people on social media and be involved with future thinking organizations. I am reading this book because it was a gift from Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs. He said it reminded him of me and he is right. I have lived my life and career on moving towards excellence with an attitude of “Can do “and Optimism. The people I follow: Barry Melancon, CEO AICPA, Tom Hood CEO MACPA, and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, Past AICPA Chair, Sophia the Robot, Tom Peters. Organizations that follow: AICPA, CPA.com, FASB, IRS, MACPA, MindBridgeAI, Thriveal CPA Network
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
This is the innovation revolution and anything that can be automated will automated. We will elevate our staff to higher levels of customer service and provide much more meaningful work. We will use technology to provide better audits and reduce the amount of fraud in organizations. The accounting/auditing/tax professions will all be transformed by the innovations in technology.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
I have embraced technology during my career and now have access to Artificial Intelligence (AI). I will be part of the transformation of how audits are performed and evolving AI for other non-audit services . I will also leverage technology to change the structure of how small public accounting firms are organized and how they serve their clients.
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.
This is a challenging question because I have been mentored by the leadership at the MACPA for my entire CPA career. If I had to pick one person who was the most important mentor it would be my husband, David. He is the one person that always believed in me and pushed me when I had self-doubt. He stood by me when I failed the CPA exam the first time and listened (tirelessy…I’m sure) to the countless ideas and brainstorming during my career. He spent a lot of time alone (and still does) as I worked to move up the ladder and become Partner and continue to innovate the Firm. He takes care of everything at home and has taken care of me for the last 25 years. He sacrificed his career and dreams so that my growth and achievements would become our dreams and our goals. He is my rock and the foundation that I stand on. We make a great team and I would not be where I am today without his love, support and sacrifice.
Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow.
“Kindness speaks volumes.” Always listen and treat those better than you could ever imagine being treated.
Learn more about the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Accounting.