From social work to CPA: Discovering a career at a symphony orchestra

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by Abby Draper

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication & engagement manager

Randi Dier, CPA, went to college for social work, dropped out and worked in a warehouse at The Andersons for six years before realizing that wasn’t what she wanted for her career. Dier then went back to college to study accounting and finally found what she enjoyed. Lady smiling

“I kind of viewed math and accounting as a puzzle…and I did love puzzles. When all the pieces fit together it's a good feeling, you know what I mean? And so I thought, I think I'm going to try to pursue this whole accounting thing.”

Dier worked in accounts receivable while she attended the University of Toledo. As graduation neared, she began looking for opportunities for advancement in her current position at the university. She didn’t find anything, so she reached out beyond her school and found a job at Peat Marwick (now part of KPMG).

She said if she had stayed at the university, she may never have gone the CPA route.

“It was not like I grew up thinking ‘I'm going to be a CPA.’ It wasn't even going through school that I was sure that that's what I was going to do. It was more just kind of how life led me there.”

Dier worked in public accounting for about two years. She did auditing for nonprofits and this is where she discovered her interests lay, attributing it to her original interest in social work. That’s how she ended up applying for the vice president of finance position at the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

She said even though she loves music and would have liked to learn piano as a child, she is one of the few people who work at the Symphony who are not actively musical. However, she has gained more of an appreciation for music since working there.

“When I go to concerts, I am just amazed at how good they are at what they do. So, I think I have a better appreciation for music in general.”

Dier said she has opportunities to meet guest artists, like Queen Latifah, who sang with the Toledo Symphony last year. She said she is shy, so she chooses not to have her picture taken with them, but she has that option as an employee. “I mean, it's just kind of cool to know how they are really as people, because sometimes you just see and hear about them on TV. It’s interesting to get a little bit of background on how they really are very, very nice and very complimentary toward our musicians.”

She said even with the financial issues she runs into being a CPA for a non-profit, especially a symphony, which a lot of people don’t see a need for, she has found the job very rewarding and has been there for 25 years.

“I guess I would just say, I think that the job has been very interesting. And has brought a different kind of perspective to accounting than I would have ever thought, because I never, when I was going through school, thought about working for a symphony orchestra.”

“I can't imagine being in a different kind of organization.”


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