Becker + Paro present: Entrepreneurship in accounting
The trajectory of a “traditional” accounting career path is typically thought of as one at a firm, corporation or other structured organization; however, the reality is that accounting career paths can take a variety of different routes and ways of playing out that aren’t necessarily part of the firm path.
Becker recently hosted a webinar with Paro, a freelance network of financial professionals, that featured a speaker whose accounting career has veered off the traditional path and onto an entrepreneurial career journey.
Read on to hear the story of an accounting entrepreneur whose self-starter mindset has shaped her unique accounting career path.
Kyle McGowan-Moore, CPA, Owner of KAM Financial Services
What has your accounting entrepreneurship career path looked like?
I started my career as a real estate accountant and licensed CPA right after college. I progressed quickly in my career, and started to hold positions of leadership after 4 years. Once I became responsible for the full accounting picture, the knowledge and trust I gained from these roles led to people recommending me to individuals and small businesses who were experiencing various accounting issues. These requests led to the birth of my accounting practice, KAM Financial Services (KAMFi for short). Despite KAMFi’s success, I have continued to grow my corporate accounting career, and I cannot imagine giving up one for the other at this point.
Why did you choose to pursue a non-traditional accounting career path?
My path is non-traditional in that I did not choose corporate accounting over entrepreneurship or vice versa, but I am enjoying the best of both worlds. I work full time as a controller for a manufacturing company, while also operating my own business, KAM Financial Services, which provides virtual accounting services. My entrepreneurial path chose me; helping one person with accounting services led to that person recommending me to another person, and the business continued to grow consistently. I now balance both of these roles, something not many accountants can say.
How has your past experience in a traditional accounting career trained you for your entrepreneurial journey?
My traditional accounting roles have taught me so much about resolving issues and putting out fires. The standard tasks that come with running an accounting practice are pretty simple; however, it is when things go wrong, sometimes all at the same time, that your value is really given an opportunity to shine. I don’t think that I would be able to problem solve as effectively as I do now without my experiences in my traditional accounting positions.
What are some challenges you encountered on your career path?
My accounting practice KAMFi’s biggest challenge is convincing small businesses that are determined to have an in-house accountant that having a virtual accountant is a viable, more affordable option for managing their businesses’ finances. Breaking the tradition of what the accounting role should look like has been an uphill battle that was fortunately made easier during the COVID pandemic.
In my professional career, my biggest challenge is that companies I want to work for are sometimes threatened by me operating a business. It is difficult to convince them that my desire to continue working in corporate America is not temporary and is not a conflict of interest with my accounting practice. Companies tend to appreciate, rely on, and benefit from the experience I have gained by working with so many different industries through KAMFi, while also wanting me to close it as a condition of employment.
How has having an entrepreneurial spirit positively impacted your career?
Having an entrepreneurial spirit means that I am always seeking to solve problems. I cannot resist the urge to challenge processes that have been completed a certain way simply because they have always been done that way. I am always seeking out ways to improve, streamline, and optimize processes, which makes me an asset to both corporate America and my clients.
What advice or career steps would you recommend for those who want to be accounting entrepreneurs?
Be ready and willing to define your own entrepreneurial journey. This journey is yours and yours alone, and it should be based on your own timeline with goals and milestones that you individually set.
How did you use your CPA license to better your career?
I have used the education that came from obtaining my CPA license to develop me in areas that I did not gain from my accounting roles. For example, even though I don’t have experience in cost accounting, companies know that my having passed the CPA Exam means that I am at least familiar with the main concepts. Taking continuing professional education courses (CPE) also ensures that I am staying on top of key developments in the accounting field.
In addition, the respect and prestige alone that come with the CPA title opens doors, as people understand how serious the exam is. They understand that it is not necessarily required for accountants to become CPAs, so having a candidate that went the extra mile to do so can speak volumes about their work ethic.
How did Becker help you meet your career goals?
I would not have survived the CPA Exam were it not for Becker. I was a single mother with a 7-year-old daughter when I started the program, so having the flexibility to attend a lecture anytime and anywhere made it possible for me to meet my goals while also continuing to be a present mother. The study guides were easy to use and understand, and the instructors made each subject fun and memorable. There is a slight chance that I still quote some of the mnemonics from time to time! I would highly recommend the Becker CPA Exam Review for anyone who is preparing to take the CPA Exams.
The accounting profession is one that can offer many different paths wherein self-starters and those with ambitious entrepreneurial mindsets can find careers that are unique, successful and fulfilling.
Watch Becker’s full webinar with Paro on demand for free in Becker’s webcast library.
Explore Becker’s CPE course catalog to develop your entrepreneurial skill set and learn how you can pave your own accounting career path.