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Avani Desai, CPA – 2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

Avani Desai, CPA

2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

Schellmann & Company, LLC

How have you personally seen the roles of women evolve in the accounting profession?

Over the course of my professional journey, I’ve witnessed significant evolution in the roles of women within the accounting profession. Initially, advancing while balancing family responsibilities proved challenging, especially as few women, particularly women of color, held leadership positions in accounting firms. Many women faced the difficult decision of leaving their careers to fulfill caretaker roles at home. However, I’ve personally disproven the notion that such sacrifices are necessary.

One notable shift I’ve observed is the growing network of support among women in the accounting industry. This network provides invaluable encouragement and mentorship, empowering women to navigate and thrive in their careers. Additionally, the recent shortage of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) has showed us the importance of actively encouraging and empowering women to remain engaged in the workforce. It’s crucial not only to attract women to the field but also to ensure they feel supported and valued, fostering a more inclusive and diverse profession.

What do you anticipate will be the biggest change in the accounting profession in the next 10 years?

In the ever-evolving world of accounting, we’re breaking free from outdated stereotypes that once defined us as “bean counters” or “paper pushers.” Today, our profession is at the forefront of building shareholder confidence, advising prestigious companies, contributing to ESG initiatives, and uncovering bad cyber actors.

The evolution of technology, and especially AI, is changing the way that accountants do our jobs. As our use of AI develops, it will let accountants obtain a better work-life balance, making their professional experience more fulfilling and efficient. Not only does it promise enhanced efficiency, accuracy and speed in routine tasks, but it also holds the promise of freeing up accountants and auditors from the burdensome load of repetitive administrative work. It’s essential to consider how we can seamlessly integrate these technologies into our work, coexisting with them and riding the wave of innovation.

What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?

As someone who tends to stray off track, any to do apps have been a lifesaver for keeping me on top of my tasks and responsibilities?

What are your favorite podcasts?

WorkLife by Adam Grant.

What books have you read recently that you would like to recommend?

Liz Wiseman’s “Multipliers” is a leadership guide that contrasts diminishers with multipliers. It illustrates strategies for fostering an empowering culture, where team members can maximize their capabilities.


Read more about the Most Powerful Women in Accounting.