- Career background
- Values of public accounting
- Job search experiences
- Joining KBS
The KBS team has added another! Lauren tells us about her accounting background and why she’s excited to join Kill Busy Season.
I was born in KC and went to The University of Kansas where I got a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting. I chose the accounting profession quite honestly because it was a field with job security and I did well in all my accounting classes, so it kind of fell into my lap. I interned and started my career with the PwC office in Kansas City - eventually moving to the Chicago office - and spent about three years in the audit department there in total.
After a year or so in Chicago I knew I wanted to find a job that kept me more in the city versus constantly traveling to my clients in the suburbs or out of town. I knew it was the perfect time to try and transition out of accounting but didn’t know what that looked like yet. I had a very interesting opportunity come my way to do XBRL work for a fast-growing tech company, Workiva. Only being familiar with what the definition of XBRL was from my CPA exam, extensible business reporting language, I knew it was a good steppingstone out of my formal audit work career.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself moving back to Kansas City for my now husband. I interviewed for a handful of positions, all of which were not in line with what I was looking for. Basically, ended up falling back into my old ways and took an internal audit position in town due to the lack of diversity being sent my way.
PwC was a great environment to start my career, and I will always look back fondly on those days. In your first year you develop organizational skills, time management and the ability to communicate effectively. All while gaining exposure to high-end professionals. There are so many people who are willing to help you grow professionally and want to see you succeed. I really value all those relationships I built during that time.
Workiva is an accounting solutions platform, Wdesk, with many features that they offer to help streamline reporting. One of its features is their XBRL platform that allows companies to build out their financial statements while simultaneously tagging it with XML syntax. In layman’s terms, XBRL is a computer software language that is developed specifically for the automation of business information and analysis of financial statements. This format increases the transparency and accessibility of information analyzed by investors by using a uniform format. It’s also a requirement that all companies must file their financials with this coding. Sounds like a sexy job, I know. I loved the high energy tech environment it provided me, as well as a different perspective of how to use my accounting skills.
To be honest, it was stressful. I dug through the mass amounts of recruiter messages on LinkedIn to seek out some help in the process. I worked with a few recruiters that I really liked; however, although I had told them many times I didn’t want to be sent normal accounting roles, those were all the opportunities that were sent my way. I was talked into taking many interviews for one reason or another to check the business out but was never passionate about the roles. I ended up falling back into my old ways and took an internal auditing job at a reputable company, knowing this would only be temporary until I figured out how to pivot out of accounting once again on my own.
Aside from having personal experiences of feeling pigeonholed in my profession and seeing a white space in the recruiting world, I really connected with what Kill Busy Season is trying to accomplish. For so long I felt stuck in accounting not knowing how to transition out or feeling like I had the proper resources to do so. KBS is trying to solve all those hurdles for people by providing easily digestible information, like these blogs, to help people get informed on their own accord about how to go out there and find that next career that’s going to resonate with them.
I felt it was very serendipitous when this job came my way because I loved the idea of helping likeminded career-oriented professionals get connected with job opportunities that they might not have known were possible. Personally, I also loved that I was still able to utilize my CPA and relate / empathize with the professionals I would be talking to since I had been in their shoes before. Lastly, it’s pretty inspiring every day to be starting on the ground level with KBS and have a direct impact in our potential success-- building things the right way from the beginning!
I think the main thing is to know it’s never too late to make a change. Build a solid network to have in your toolbox and leverage those connections when needed. People are always happy to help, and if they can’t they are happy to help connect you with someone that can. A lot of people think they must find their perfect job right out of college or within the first few years. Just like your career, industries are changing constantly so a job you might not have been privy to could suddenly be an inspiring one down the line. There are new opportunities disrupting the market all the time, like when I graduated, I didn’t even know what crypto was and now those are some of the most sought-after jobs. I’ve made a couple of very big career pivots, so it’s very possible.
Being a part of a story. I want to be able to stay someday I was an important part of a team that is doing something that I care about and making a positive impact. As much as being uncomfortable in a new role is well, uncomfortable, I know that during those times I am growing professionally and now in my career is the time to keep embracing that feeling. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, make sure those people, colleagues, or friends are ones that inspire you to grow personally and professionally and keep reaching for that next level of growth.