‘It’s important to invest now in the technology …’
Destined for the profession: From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be an accountant. From attending a business-oriented high school, performing various bookkeeping jobs, and attending business school at New York University, I found my passion for accounting and finance. After graduating from NYU, I started my career at KPMG. I saw accounting wasn't just about numbers — it was about getting to know different clients as well as their businesses and industries. Throughout my career in public accounting, I have been involved with a number of international clients requiring global travel. I liked that each project was unique, and it wasn't long before I decided I was in accounting for the long haul. At Friedman, I had the opportunity to build a not-for-profit practice from the ground up. It has been a rewarding experience helping organizations realize their missions and serving important causes.
Helping not-for-profits after the pandemic: Coming out of this pandemic, not-for-profits will hopefully have a better appreciation for building up their reserves and preparing for unanticipated challenges that may come their way. Many have also had to migrate to a virtual platform — some were equipped and others had to scramble. It's important to invest now in the technology to be ahead of the curve when something unexpected happens. It's almost like a disaster recovery plan. Build out a robust planning process and be able to update that process going forward.
Trends in not-for-profit boards: We always emphasize the notion of having governance in place for our not-for-profits, and I think that will be very important going forward. Your board must be a good fit for your organization, have the right skill set, and have a diverse skill set so you can call on different experts. Make sure as well that your board is actively engaged in the organization, that board members come prepared, and that the organization and the board have an open line of communication.
The importance of a recruiting pipeline: For the health of the profession, we need to have a strong recruiting pipeline. It's important to show the benefits of this profession to those who are considering it. We have to adapt to what the younger generation is asking for and what they need on their end to have a fulfilling career. Show them that it's not about focusing on numbers all day, especially in public accounting. It's more like business development. Talk to them about the importance of soft skills as well. Communication is key to demonstrating your knowledge to people. Being able to communicate with your clients is just as important, if not more important, than your technical skill set.
- Favorite book or movie: The Shawshank Redemption.
- Favorite app: Nextdoor. It's great for connecting with local residents/neighbors and provides valuable information.
- Favorite item to travel with or keep on your desk: I keep and periodically reflect on family pictures and cherished cards that my kids have made for me. When I travel, I catch up on the newspaper and magazine stories I haven't had time for.
— As told to Lea Hart, a freelance writer based in Virginia. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac, the JofA's editorial director, at Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com.