A chat with the newest member of GAAP Dynamics
Amber Albert is a GAAP and healthcare training specialist with GAAP Dynamics. A former Audit manager with KPMG, she joined the company in October 2015. Check out Amber’s interview where she discusses her career path, her decision to join GAAP Dynamics and her advice for young people just starting out in the accounting profession.
What was your career path, and why did you choose GAAP Dynamics?
I started my career in June 2008 as an Audit intern at KPMG. When I entered my internship, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My knowledge of auditing went only as far as what I learned in auditing class while attending the University of Florida (Go Gators!). Although my internship was challenging, and I realized I had a lot to learn, I knew I had found my fit and was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time position with the firm.
When I first started, I didn’t have a main industry focus; however, I quickly realized that I had a passion for the healthcare industry. I liked that that there was always something new, the rules and regulations were continuously changing, and what I looked at year after year was never the same. I also felt that in some way, I was helping people. I thought that if I was auditing a healthcare system, I was helping the system and, in turn, helping the thousands of patients that visited the system each year. It was very rewarding having to use my technical accounting skills researching accounting standards and writing memos on various transactions (nerdy, I know!)
Throughout my career at KPMG, I looked for every opportunity to involve myself, whether it was within the community or within the Tampa office. I have always been creative (I have a love for everything and anything to do with crafting), and I used these “extra involvements” as an outlet for my creativity. I have also always loved to help people and sought every opportunity to teach, inspire, and educate my staff and fellow team members. Before I knew it, I was not only an auditor, but also a party planner, a teacher, a mentor and a volunteer.
I first taught KPMG national training in the summer of 2015 and quickly fell in love with it, realizing I could use my creativity to help and educate people. Shortly thereafter, I happened to stumble upon the GAAP Dynamics website and saw that they were hiring. I read the job description and thought, “Wow, this job seems like the perfect fit for me.” I knew I had to jump at the opportunity.
Being a part of the GAAP Dynamics team means I am able to use everything that I loved about my previous job on a daily basis: researching technical accounting standards; using my creativity to develop trainings, including eLearning; and educating and inspiring others. I am very thankful to be a part of GAAP Dynamics.
What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?
The first highlight of my career is realizing how many people I have touched and helped along the way. Having a staff member take time to say thank you for being a mentor, a participant in a training email me afterwards to ask advice or a co-worker tell me how much of a difference I have made in the firm by being so involved is very gratifying.
The second highlight of my career is the honor of speaking at several events. The event that stands out the most is a University of South Florida Beta Alpha Psi banquet. The attendees were young students, many indecisive about their future career path. I wasn’t sure what to speak about, but ultimately decided that I would talk to the students about what exactly an accountant does. When I sat down to brainstorm, I realized that it was so much more than sitting at a desk all day reviewing financial statements, vouching anything and everything I could get my hands on, and footing schedules. It was at that moment that I realized that even though I majored in accounting and my title was Audit Manager, I was so much more than just “an accountant.” Because of my decision to major in accounting, and to start my career at a Big 4 firm, I have had more opportunities than I could have imagined and have learned more than I ever thought was possible. I have also been able to work with some very inspirational people. I am very lucky to have had the career that I have had thus far.
What are you looking forward to most when working at GAAP Dynamics?
I am looking forward to being able to use my creativity on a daily basis, while still researching technical accounting topics and using my existing technical accounting knowledge. I am also looking forward to developing course materials and facilitating training engagements that excite and engage the learner!
Also, working with all of the amazing people at GAAP Dynamics. Even though I am new to the team, everyone I have met already has inspired me. The passion they each have for the company is absolutely motivating.
What advice would you give young people just starting out in the accounting profession?
Below is my advice for young people starting out in the accounting profession (I wish someone told me these things!):
- Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Nobody expects you to know everything when you are just starting out. Just because you have spent the last four (five, six, etc., who’s counting?) years in college learning doesn’t mean that you are going to know everything. There is always a learning curve. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We have all been there and most people want to help, so please raise your hand!
- Be positive!
Let’s be honest: The days aren’t always easy, and the hours aren’t always short. Sure, you can dwell on the negatives, but it makes your day so much better if you look at the bright side. Take time each morning to read a positive quote or an inspirational story. You’ll be surprised how much it can brighten your day and change your outlook on life.
- Be a Team Player and Motivate Others!
Sometimes teamwork can be harder than we like, especially when a project is not going according to plan. Be the person on the team that helps to motivate others. Find a creative way to say “thank you” and recognize individual accomplishments (a thank you card can go a long way) or look for ways to make everyone excited about starting a new day (I once made a busy season “advent” calendar). Being a team player and finding innovative ways to motivate team members not only make you stand out, but also make everyone on the team (including you) feel good.
- Get Involved!
Take advantage of the activities your company offers, and look for ways to help out. Getting involved allows you to meet others within your company and makes your job feel less like “just a job.” Also, get involved within the community. Realize that you are lucky enough to have a job, so give back to others who are less fortunate.
- Take Time for You!
Sure, work is important, but you also need to find time to take care of yourself. Find something that you can do for you, such as exercising, participating in a not-for-profit organization or having dinner with a friend. My “me time” is spent at the beach. Being at the beach helps me relieve stress. If you are able to find something that makes you happy and helps you to unwind, you will be happier at your job and in life overall.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself looking back at the past 10 years, not having any regrets, and being happy with where I am in my life. Personally, I would love to have a family someday, which I would consider to be one of the greatest accomplishments in my life! Professionally, when I look into the next 10 years, I am not sure where I see myself exactly or where my career will be, but I hope that I am still a part of the GAAP Dynamics team. I am thankful that my career path thus far has led me to where I am today, and I am excited to see what the future brings!