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Nikki Winston, CPA, MBA – 2020 40 Under 40 Honoree


Nikki Winston, CPA, MBA – 2020 40 Under 40 Honoree

Finance Manager, Microsoft

Career Highlights: I began my career working for big corporations in manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare. My curiosity about middle markets led me to into private equity and M&A where I rebuilt accounting departments after reorganizations and acquisitions. While these weren’t the sexiest jobs, the learnings that I gained from leading a 3-year financial restatement, reducing close cycle time by 70%, and automating a manual procure-to-pay process brought me professional joy.

Outreach: Once I became a CPA, I reflected on what I’d accomplished with all that was on my plate as a working mom. Candidates reach out to me daily for CPA exam advice so I created the Winston CPA Exam Virtual Classroom – an online community for candidates to discover effective ways to study for the CPA exam. The virtual classroom includes on-demand coaching sessions, practice exams, candidate Q&A, and accounting tutorials covering heavily tested topics while providing the much-needed guidance, support, and mentorship to prepare for the CPA exam. Aside from teaching accounting, my goal was to give candidates the non-technical exam essentials that they won’t find in traditional CPA exam review programs from the perspective of someone who’s been where they are. My CPA Exam Virtual Classroom, something I built with my own hands and ideas, had a 100% pass rate in the first quarter that it launched!

Of equal importance is leading and creating space for my employees to develop into the professional rockstars that they aspire to be. Throughout my career, I’ve learned the difference between a being leader and being a boss. I lead through engaging and empowering employees to do their jobs; educating them on both the technical and unwritten career rules; and most importantly, understanding that they are people first, employees second, and leading with empathy even through ambiguous times.

Podcasts: Drink Champs by N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN | Access and Opportunity by Carla Harris | Your First Million by Arlan Hamilton | The Daily by the New York Times | Jemele Hill is Unbothered | The Sakita Method by Sakita Holley

Websites: Black Enterprise | WSJ | Pinterest | LinkedIn

Books: Expect to Win by Carla Harris | Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker | When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

See all of the 2020 “40 Under 40” honorees.