Happy National Women’s History Month! Windham Brannon marks the occasion by spotlighting some of our female leadership. Windham Brannon proudly affirms that 57% of our employee base and more than half of our leadership team is female. We support several different women-based and women-owned organizations including: Commercial Real Estate Women, Women’s Global Leadership Summit, Women in Pensions Network, Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, Kate’s Club, American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Assurance Principal and Employee Benefit Plan Practice Leader Anne Morris shares her perspective.
Question: Everyone has a story about how they decided to enter their career field. What made you want to pursue accounting? Did you always know or did you discover it in school?
Anne Morris: I may be one of the rare breeds that wanted to be a CPA from a very young age. My dad is a CPA and growing up, I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I had no idea what that really entailed until college and then when I started working, but I have enjoyed it and am very happy about choosing this path. I love the work I do, the people I work with and I get a great sense of joy when helping my clients.
Q: How has public accounting evolved since you entered the workforce?
Anne: This is a two-fold answer for me. It definitely seems to be a more laid-back culture. No more wearing suits five days a week, sitting at your desk from 8-5 every day. The culture has shifted to a more relaxed dress code as well as more flexible hours, to include remote working. With that also comes gaining an understanding of the shifting culture. While the culture has become more relaxed, the laws and regulations that we have to follow are getting more sophisticated. There is no lack of having to still understand all of the evolving changes in the accounting arena from both an audit and a tax perspective.
Q: What has helped you get to where you are, and what advice would you share with people who are interested in following a similar path?
Anne: The biggest thing for me is having support systems. These are both on the professional and personal sides of my life. Being at Windham Brannon and seeing all of the women leaders we have is the motivation for me to want to succeed, and those women are helping me in my path. They want me to succeed just as much, if not more, that I want it for myself. I also lean on peer groups of other professional women to have a sounding board at times and remind me that we are all here for the same goals. Being a woman in this industry can be challenging, especially when you have a family at home. Splitting your time between work and home is a constant struggle. I have been lucky to have a wonderful support system at home who is accepting of what I have chosen for my career. Knowing that I have them makes me want to work harder every day. The advice I would give is to find that group. Whether it is inside or outside or your office, find a group that will support you and be your cheerleader when you need it the most.
Q: What are common misconceptions people have about accountants that you’d like to address?
Anne: That we are boring!! I tell people a lot that we do have personalities and feelings, just like other regular people. I have a lot of people surprised when I tell them what I do for a living!