Jeannine K. Brown, CPA
2023 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Founder & CEO
How do you envision the accounting profession evolving in the foreseeable future for women?
I entered the accounting profession in 1995, and I’ve seen how far the accounting profession has come. I’ve witnessed and have been able to assist with and benefit from the intentional evolutionary focus on the advancement of women. Few women were in chief, partner, or board leadership roles when I started in accounting. While the profession is much further along than other industries, we have much more to do. There are women in leadership, but very few are Black, Latina or Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or queer. The women who’ve earned their seats at the table in the ranks of partners and chiefs must be more active and vocal to expand the demographics and intersectionality of the women. The profession’s evolution is in the hands of women to ensure that the room is filled with those who have historically been left out and to serve underrepresented client/customer communities.
What advice would you give to women college students about preparing for a career in the accounting profession?
Preparing for a career in the accounting profession can be an exciting and rewarding journey for women college students. My top and most beneficial advice is to develop meaningful relationships.
Meaningful relationship building, mending, and nurturing only come naturally for some women. Many women focus on their technical aptitude, staying under the radar too long and going unnoticed. Fostering relationships with a diverse pool of people is the most rewarding way to reach success. Personal and professional development is faster when co-workers, clients, and association members become friends. When you approach work as more than just an accountant and bring your whole self to each encounter, you will be mentored for development, sponsored for promotions, taught power skills for career acceleration, and supported through life transitions. Opportunities will be presented to you because you are in a relationship with the right people. Relationship building is the superpower all women need for a long, sustainable career and a fulling life.
How would you advise accounting firms on how they can better attract, retain, and advance more women?
Attracting, retaining, and advancing more women in accounting firms require a concerted effort to create an inclusive and supportive work environment. A demonstrated commitment to the retention and advancement of women goes beyond the numbers and is not performative. Inclusive and supportive work environments include ensuring women are leading and working on cutting-edge technologies and innovations impacting the profession. Artificial intelligence tools like Chat GPT will disrupt how firms staff engagements, provide solutions, and deliver services. Women must be a part of and have a stake in how the tools will be used.
Women are loyal to this profession and can be retained when presented with advancement opportunities that allow them to be intellectual industry thought leaders.
What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why? Tools with artificial intelligence capabilities are my favorite.
What do you like to do when you have time away from work? I like to rest outdoors. If I could nap outside every day I would. When I’m not resting, I enjoy traveling. I recently traveled abroad to Amman Jordan. I immerse myself in the local culture – food and lifestyle. I find that my soul is at ease when I leave the States because the pace in which most of the world moves allows me to be fully present to what is happening around me.
What are your favorite podcasts?
- Before 30 Podcast
- Traffic, Sales & Profit
- Beyond the Business Suit
- Bossed Up
- Punk Rock HR