By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Claire Tsukuda says her accounting background has helped tremendously as she navigates all her responsibilities as a startup CEO.“It's helped me a lot in terms of establishing credibility, but also thinking about how we design our software products,” she said. “I can sit back and think ‘What did we do back when I worked at Deloitte?’’”
Tsukuda is the CEO and co-founder of Kipsi, a technology platform that helps firms streamline and automate client engagements. Before joining the software world, she worked as an auditor at Deloitte, and has experience working for larger companies along with small startups. She eventually got an opportunity to launch a business through a startup incubator that pulls people into the program based on prior career experience, which is how she co-founded Kipsi.
Tsukuda described herself as entrepreneurial even from a young age, and said once she chose accounting as her career, she aspired to become a firm partner one day.
“Then when I left public accounting to think about what I wanted to do, I still wanted to run something,” she said. “The main reason for that was I like the idea of being able to influence the culture of an organization.”
Having a company culture that’s focused on transparency, gender equality and DEI was important to Tsukuda, and said while Kipsi only has four employees including herself now, she hopes to continue to strengthen those values as it grows.
“We try to be really transparent with our team,” she said. “Those are things that I've really valued throughout my career, I wanted to embody that in whatever organization I was going to build up. I've really enjoyed the experience so far. You learn something new every day.”
Because they are a small team Tsukuda has a wide range of responsibilities, including the HR and sales functions. Her accounting background allows her to be comfortable talking to firms about the software, especially as someone who understands what it’s like to be at a Big Four firm.
Reflecting on her education, Tsukuda said she’s glad she chose to go down the accounting route and the possibilities and stability it’s provided her.
“There are so many different things that you can do,” Tsuduka said. “I think it's one of the best things that you could study in school.”