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Orumé Agbeyegbe Hays, CPA, CGMA, MST – 2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

Orumé Hays, CPA, CGMA, MST

2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Founder & Managing Director

What is your favorite part of being a member of the accounting profession?

What I love most about being an accountant is the diversity of roles I get to play. I’m a trusted advisor to my clients, guiding them through complex financial decisions. I’m an educator, sharing my knowledge and passion with the next generation of professionals. And I’m a colleague, constantly learning from and collaborating with the amazing people in this field.  This blend of roles, using both knowledge and real-world experience, makes accounting much more than just numbers; it’s about making a meaningful difference in people’s lives and businesses.

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

Over the past decade, I’ve observed a moderate evolution in the roles of women in accounting. There has been a growing influx of women entering the profession, assuming leadership roles, and even establishing their own firms. We are witnessing greater diversity in their areas of specialization and a more inclusive dialogue overall.

While these advancements inspire me, I can’t help but feel concerned whenever I see only 10-20% of female students in my accounting classes. This sentiment was echoed at a leadership conference I recently attended, where approximately 30-33% of attendees in leadership roles were women.

I envision a future where women hold up to 50% of leadership positions in the profession. It’s a goal that will require continued effort and commitment from all involved.

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

In the next 10 years, I see two major challenges in the accounting profession.

Firstly, we must address the talent pipeline crisis.  The industry faces challenges attracting and retaining skilled accountants, driven by perceptions of the field as boring, long hours, competition from other sectors, and an aging retiring workforce. To thrive, we have to rebrand accounting as a dynamic, impactful career and invest in attracting a new generation of talent.

Secondly, the integration of technology will be transformative. AI, automation, and data analytics are set to revolutionize how we work within our firms, and how we advise clients. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. By embracing these tools, accountants can evolve into strategic advisors, leveraging data to provide invaluable insights and drive business decisions for our clients.

What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?

Basecamp is my current go-to app. It is a great project management platform. I love how it organizes my workflow in one centralized place.

What do you like to do when you have _me away from work?

I love to travel. During this year’s busy season, I visited Thailand, Laos, and South Korea. I love exploring new places and meeting new people. Locally, I enjoy running and taking _me off to see a play or attend a concert.

What are your favorite podcasts?

I’m a fan of Small Firm Philosophy, Journal of Accountancy, Accounting Today, the McKinsey Podcast, and AI Chat. They offer insightful perspectives on topics like accounting management tools, practical advice, leadership, business trends, and AI. I find them to be very informative.

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

Recently, I read Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connection to Negotiate Fearlessly by Mori Taheripour, and it truly resonated with me. The book beautifully illustrates how negotiation is interwoven into our everyday lives, even in our internal dialogues. It provides invaluable insights on how we often negotiate against ourselves, holding back from asking for what we truly want or deserve.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to navigate the complexities of negotiation more effectively. It empowers readers to find creative solutions that benefit all parties involved, leading to more fulfilling and successful outcomes.

How do you use your power to create an inclusive and equitable workplace for women?

I mentor and sponsor women in my network, providing guidance, advocating for their advancement, and creating opportunities for them to excel. I applaud firms that support work-life balance, pay equity, and a safe, respectful environment for all. By leading through example, I strive to foster a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered. I encourage women to lean in, take risks, create leadership pathways, and actively help others climb the ladder of success. support their success.


Read more about the Most Powerful Women in Accounting.