Embracing Change – Day by Day

I’m putting together a presentation for the AAA Public Interest Conference tomorrow about the future of the accounting profession and remembered this post.  If you want to know what a varied career – and rich life – I’ve had,  then this is the one.

It was originally published July 28, 2008.
I often think of my career as having had at least four parts, so far:

1.  The first nine years I was, first, an internal auditor and financial analyst in a bank and then a financial accounting executive in two different B2B industrial distribution companies.  (Many of my best “what not to do” stories are from those years and it was during this period that I passed the CPA exam.)
2.  The next eight years I spent with KPMG Consulting, JP Morgan, and then returned to BearingPoint as a consultant, the last half of which was spent in Latin America 100%. (It was during this time I became a consultant in mind and body, met many wonderful people who are still my friends, perfected my Spanish, and changed my life irreversibly.)
3.  The post 2001 years, until recently, were spent at two firms, Jefferson Wells, part of Manpower, as a Regional VP for the Midwest including Toronto, and at PwC.  I was on my own for two years in between, but I allowed two men, a PwC partner who had been the #2 Auditor at CINB, my first employer, and the National Partner in Charge of Internal Audit at PwC, to entice me back to working for PwC.
(It didn’t take much, only a large salary that helped me out of the financial challenges I had created for myself in being on my own for two years and the flattering comments of the National IA Partner:
“You are a renaissance woman. We need you to inject consulting experience and a global view into our flat, insular, internal audit culture.” I’m a sucker for an Italian man who looks up to me.)
4.  I’ve been on my own now again since October 2006, writing the blog and doing client work that infuses that writing, while staying close to only whom and what I want to spend time with.  I call it professional convergence.
Some people I know now only know me as a writer and blogger.  Many people who know me now didn’t know me as a married person. (I haven’t been for ten years.)  They only know me as a Jefferson Wells executive or PwC employee and don’t know I speak Spanish and didn’t know me when I was in Latin America or when I was a Controller, General Ledger Manager and Internal Auditor.
Some people only know me from my Latin America days and will forever see me as Francisca the “gitana”, living a life filled with travel, tequila, and task-oriented, technology focused, cross-border project management.
So when I show up at the ISACA Leadership Conference in Toronto, as the Vice President of the Chicago Chapter, people are surprised to find I am not really an IT auditor or security professional.  I write a blog about the Big 4.  I consult on strategy, sales and marketing, operations and Web 2.0 issues for professional services firms in the internal audit, corporate governance and compliance space.
I was never one to load myself down with a lot of designations and certifications. I passed the CPA exam, but I have never been licensed or practiced public accounting.  I have been in the public accounting firms but in technology consulting and internal audit practices and most famously, thanks to my PwC colleagues, auditing the strategy, operations, compliance and governance of that firm.
I am not an internal auditor, nor am I a super-technical technology consultant. I do consider myself a writer now.  I use that term often when introducing myself.  And I do have my own firm, however small and beautiful I keep it for now.
I thought of all these things when I sat and talked for hours with Krupo and Neil last Thursday and since.  They are both 26 1/2 or so, at the beginning of their lives, and yet they feel so much older in their actions and insights.  Is that good or bad?
Well it’s better than being flaky, and it made it so much easier for an old lady like me to talk with them. But I worry that they won’t be able to keep up the pace for as long as I have.  It takes a lot of energy and pure resilience to do what we are all doing now for another twenty years, at least in my case, and another forty in theirs.
I hope they have it in them.
3 replies
  1. ResilientMichael
    ResilientMichael says:

    Very well said. I too worry about the pace of business for those that live/work within a 7/24 work place.

    When people don’t have the awareness and skills they can pay some very large prices. I see far more chronic illness, relationship breakdown, and career melt downs and a host of other things when I work with these types of professional at younger and younger ages.


  2. Krupo
    Krupo says:

    The combination of reading Solzhenitsyn and others in your youth, and listening to the trials and challenges your friends and family have undergone in the past helps put professional life into perspective.

    The insane incompetence and befuddledness encountered on a daily basis – in government, among other places – on the other hand acts as a stimulant to make things better through this line of work.

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