Women in Accounting: Seizing Opportunity and Driving Change

Women in Accounting: Seizing Opportunity and Driving Change

As we turn the page on 2023 and look toward 2024, it’s a natural time of reflection and planning for the upcoming new year. Looking back on a challenging year for businesses is a perfect time to reflect on what we learned and what we may want to change next year. Our recent Women in Accounting panel session was a great reminder of some ways we can think about challenging the status quo to help our teams keep up with the constant change, while also growing personally and professionally. 

Our first Women in Accounting panel discussion offers perspectives on approaching your career, standing out from others on your team and in your role, and achieving your goals. Alongside our moderator, Asya Bashina, the Director of Product Marketing at Leapfin, were esteemed panelists including:

It was a lively conversation that offered listeners many valuable insights from their professional journeys, leadership tips, and how to find fulfillment in their work. Here are a few highlights from the discussion. 

Seize Your Opportunities

As each of our guests talked about their experiences, they called out the importance of looking for opportunities to get involved and not being afraid of taking risks in their careers. Each story highlighted how these moments were filled with learning and growth that has helped them propel their careers forward.

Shree mentioned that she is always looking for ways to make a difference in her organization - reviewing processes, questioning the status quo, growing her skill set, and seeking out opportunities to make an impact because that motivates her. Shree had some very sound advice encouraging listeners to get out and connect with other teams to build relationships and better understand the business. She said, “A good accountant with a good understanding of the business can be a very powerful tool.”

Xenia shared a similar perspective. She recalled the time in her career when she had to decide between staying in her comfort zone, or getting outside of it by literally moving to a different country. Making that change and pushing through a temporarily uncomfortable situation had a long-term positive impact on Xenia’s career - leading her to a job and team where she felt like she could thrive and grow. She also noted that visibility helps a lot - when people know who you are and your work, you are more likely to be considered for projects and find more opportunities to get outside your comfort zone.

Leticia had an interesting take on the conversation, emphasizing the need to take risks and recognizing that she has an opportunity to bring a different perspective to the table, which can be incredibly valuable to an organization. She said, “Don’t try to fit into someone else’s shoes, be yourself.” Leticia also shared that she surrounds herself with friends and colleagues she admires to be most effective in that role. Each panelist echoed that sentiment - being in an environment with great teammates and leaders has helped them “shine” as Xenia put it.

Amanda shared her experience finding the right role, including leaving a job after only three months because she was unhappy with her work. Faced with uncertainty, she stepped away from that job to pursue one that made her happy and where she felt she could thrive. She shared that you don’t need to approach your career from a single defined path. Instead, find projects that get you excited about going to work every day.

The Art of Change Management

In a fast-paced business, coupled with this year's uncertain economic climate, Accounting and Finance teams have been called upon to help manage costs and help expose potential opportunities for efficiency and growth. Our panelists shared how they provide those insights to their teams and help drive changes in their organizations to achieve those goals.

Leticia talked about her organization’s shift from relying solely on systems built in-house to looking at off-the-shelf systems to help solve some of their most pressing problems. She has found that working with strategic partners to help manage those systems has given her team more freedom to focus on higher-value tasks internally. Prioritization emerged as a theme across each of the panelists. Leticia shared that even with their growing business they are very strategic with their investments, prioritizing expenses that deliver higher return to the business.

Shree’s team also focuses on efficiency, relying on automation whenever possible. She said it’s been important to stay nimble and make fast decisions. One of the best callouts of the day was when she said that “accounting is a team sport,” and supporting each other has been crucial to how they operate.

Xenia provided tactical advice on how she’s successfully driven change at her organization. Her takeaways were:

  • Ensure your stakeholders are on the same page and buy into the change.
  • Document the changes and make sure everyone agrees to them.
  • Plan ahead as much as possible, and make sure everyone understands what’s happening.
  • Don’t be afraid to call in the professionals; you don’t have to do it alone.

Amanda shared similar advice, stressing the importance of planning. She emphasized the need to call out what is not happening so everyone understands the project scope then follow up with documentation. This has helped Amanda’s team avoid getting derailed and avoid overcommitting on projects. She also encouraged the audience to be bold and constantly look for ways to improve processes and systems.

Accounting and Finance in 2024

When the panelists were asked what they were most excited about for this coming year, they called out the opportunities they have to grow and change for the better. Leticia’s team has many new initiatives, but she’s particularly excited about automation to help her team be more efficient. The other panelists - Shree, Amanda, and Xenia - agreed that their organization is investing more in automation to minimize manual processes. Xenia made an important point that everything can’t be solved with software; sometimes, changing processes or behaviors leads to efficiency gains.

We were honored to have such highly accomplished women in Accounting and Finance as our panelists. They were gracious and unafraid to share their stories and secrets to their success. We can’t wait to kickoff 2024 and continue with the next installment of the Women in Accounting series. Be on the lookout for future panel sessions both online and in person.

Watch the full recorded panel discussion here.

Want to learn more about how Leapfin can help you automate revenue accounting? Click the button below to check out the product tour.