By Guest Blogger Lisa A. Myers, CPA, CFE, CGMA
The old joke, “Accountants never die, they just lose their balance,” can have particular relevance for women in our field.
For many of us, the word “balance” enters our lexicon more often than dollar signs enter our calculations: from balance sheets, to healthy balance, to work-life balance. The struggle to achieve balance may factor heavily into why half of U.S. accountants are women but only one-quarter are principals in private practice. After working in this field for 27 years and having the honor of becoming the first woman principal at Boyer & Ritter LLC, I find the goal of “work-life balance” may be a misnomer.
Like so many of us, I’m inundated by demands on my time. I am a caregiver to my aging parents; a wife and mother; and a trainer to a very active golden retriever puppy. I am thrilled and honored to be the incoming president of the PICPA and the leader of Boyer & Ritter’s Forensic, Litigation Support, and Consulting Group, which drives in “high gear” all year round.
Through it all, though, I focus on working to achieve more of an “integration” than a “balance.”
It’s not easy. We women have to give 110 percent. But as my favorite saying holds, “It is what it is.” Acceptance is key. Once you accept a new challenge, you’re better able to integrate it into your life.
Note to women in the profession: Even though the glass ceiling is broken, it doesn’t make the climb any easier.
You can, and you will, climb your professional ladder. Here are seven of my own principles I wish I knew when I was on that promising first rung:
- You cannot learn if you are unwilling to listen.
- The difference between success and failure is just a decision to keep trying.
- While networking is great, don’t fixate on the business card swap. Just be amazing. People will come to you.
- Working smarter is a result of hard work, not a replacement for it.
- Apologies and thank yous are the best way to create a conversation on your terms.
- Pattern yourself after successes. The male mentors in my career have traits I am happy to replicate.
- Volunteer! It is how to make inroads in your community, and it adds meaning to the math.
Having lost my father when I was only 8, and being surrounded by strong women who were truly ahead of their time, I have always felt the need to leave a legacy.
When we do for ourselves, the work we do vanishes. But what we do for others multiplies. On balance, that is the only total sum we need in life.
Lisa A. Myers, CPA, CFE, CGMA, is a principal at Boyer & Ritter LLC and a member of the firm’s Government Services and Forensic, Valuation, and Litigation Support Services groups. She can be reached at (717) 761-7210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lisa will be sworn in as PICPA president at its Annual Convention held at the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico.