Lori Kaiser never pictured herself as a business owner. But when her original goal didn’t align with the flexibility her personal life demanded, she forged her own path.
“Back in the early 90s, the options for working were full time or not at all,” said Kaiser, CPA, CGMA, founder and CEO of Kaiser Consulting.
Like many accounting professionals, she imagined her long-term destination as becoming partner at a large accounting firm. Working full time for KPMG as senior manager with a baby on the way, Kaiser began to question if the rigid structure would fit her lifestyle as a new mom. But after giving birth and working a flexible schedule while on maternity leave, she decided to consider other options.
She said goodbye to KPMG, but she knew she didn’t want to say goodbye to accounting.
A few months after her departure, some of her clients asked her to do project work for them. She quickly had too much work to handle on her own and began building the foundation for Kaiser Consulting.
She sought people who wanted the same kind of flexibility in accounting that she desired – individuals with the same skillset and in the same stage of life as her. She said finding others who fit this criterion and craved the same structure was an easy task.
When asked about what advice she would give others who don’t fit the traditional mold of accounting but have a passion for the profession, Kaiser said it’s all about excitement for the job.
“If you’re not energized, ask a peer, mentor or manager for some challenges. It will totally transform how you feel about your job,” she advised.
For those who wish to obtain leadership roles, Kaiser said it is important to be vocal about these aspirations:
“People can’t read your mind.” In the meantime, she said volunteering for challenging assignments will show initiative while also helping to refine your skills.
Build your personal brand – “know who you are and what you’re good at.” Once you find this and share it with others, Kaiser said, success is not far away.