Women Who Count Conference

Who is going to join me for an opportunity to connect, advance and lead  (and a little sightseeing) in Washington DC? I know you have choices when it comes to the conferences you choose to attend. So I want to share what makes the Women Who Count National Conference different and hope you join members of the AFWA Mesa East Valley Chapter at this year’s conference.

A Conference for Women: 75% of our Conference sessions will be lead by women. You’ll learn how to advance as a woman in the accounting and finance industries, and be inspired by the experiences of those women who you’ll meet. (P.S. Men are invited and welcome to attend!)

Technical and Professional Development Education in one event: Sessions cover a range of topics from tax updates and the future of the accounting industry, to leadership success stories, and self-improvement. You can choose the sessions most important to you! A variety of professional stages, career paths, and States represented.

This unique event brings a variety of professional women together. Women Who Count attendees come from across the country and they are young professionals, firm shareholders, tax professionals, CFOs, and so much more.

Get more info here: http://www.womenwhocount.com/


Girl Scouts Get Fiscally Fit with AFWA Members

The Foundation of AFWA is proud to provide our members with resource packets to support the Girl Scout financial literacy curriculum. The curriculum, designed by Girl Scouts of the USA, fills a gap in financial understanding for girls. The Foundation of AFWA aims to support women and girls, with this program being a perfect fit with The Foundation’s mission.

Using the Fiscally Fit materials, AFWA members, individually or with their Chapters, are encouraged to work with local Girl Scout troops to educate and share their passion for the industry we all love.

The Foundation’s Educational Advancement committee has selected a badge for each of the six Girl Scout levels. Using the Girl Scouts’ curriculum we have prepared a guide for AFWA members to lead or support the achievement of each of these badges.

Sign up for an upcoming webinar to learn more:

  • Tuesday, April 4, 2pmET/11amPT: Register
  • Thursday, April 6, 8pmET/5pmPT: Register
  • Saturday, April 8, 12pmET/9amPT: Register

To get started, download the Program Overview packet to learn more about the Girl Scouts and Fiscally Fit.

> Fiscally Fit Program Overview

> Fiscally Fit Program FAQs

Fiscally Fit Badge Guides

The Girl Scout Badge Guides for each level are currently available in a dropbox folder. These guides will help you understand the complete badge requirements. If you have any issues accessing the files you need, please contact Ericka Harney.

> Girl Scout Badge Activity pages (in Dropbox)

Questions about Fiscally Fit? Contact AFWA Executive Director, Ericka Harney

National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 3, 2017

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we have the power to change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

In 2003, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute took action against a disease that was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year – a disease that women weren’t paying attention to. A disease they truly believed, and many still believe to this day, affects more men than women.

Stemming from that action, National Wear Red Day was born. It’s held on the first Friday in February every year to raise awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women. But despite our progress, more work is crucial. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. But what’s more powerful? Millions of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends making a change.

More than ever, your financial contributions help save women’s lives. Funds raised by Go Red support educational programs to increase women’s awareness about their risk for heart disease and stroke as well as critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health.

Help raise awareness by participating in National Wear Red Day.

Wear Red that day, get your office or class to wear red, take pictures, share on social media with #GoRedWearRed and #PhxGoRed, visit heart.org and goredforwomen.org for heart health tips and resources.


Members of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance National Board and Headquarters Staff showed their support for Go Red For Women at their recent board meeting in Lexington, KY. #TeamAFWA #GoRedWearRed #PhxGoRed

AFWA Members Use their Skills to Give Back

Applying Professional Skills to a Good Cause

When we think of giving back, we tend to think of donating money or goods. But as an accounting or finance professional, your professional expertise and experience may be more helpful than you realize. Here are the stories of five professional women putting their talents to good use in volunteer roles. Let these women inspire you to give more of your time in meaningful ways.


Dorothy Ashley, CPA, is retired from the State of Arizona General Accounting Office.  She continues to work for a small CPA firm during tax season interviewing clients and preparing tax returns.

How and why did you first get involved with VITA? I was introduced to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which offers free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, through my membership in AFWA. I began volunteering every Saturday for VITA, sponsored by United Way, because I wanted to help people that really could not pay a preparer.  It gave me a good feeling inside to see the smiles on clients’ faces after we helped them.

How did you use your professional skills in your volunteer role, and does VITA require any special qualifications?  I used my skills in interviewing the taxpayers at VITA the same as I did at work at the CPA firm. Actually, my main job at the VITA site was to do the interviewing to make sure they had everything needed for a tax preparer to complete their return which included items they may have forgotten to bring. Every year, VITA volunteers have to pass a test in order to participate. There is not a requirement to be a CPA or an accountant, but you must learn the tax code and the software.


Alanna is Audit Senior at Dannible & McKee, LLP. She specializes in not-for-profits (NPO) in her firm but also serves in various capacities as needed for local NPO’s.

(Alanna) Through work, there are several NPO’s that I work more closely with to make sure they are in compliance with new laws and regulations, as small NPO’s don’t have the means or the know-how to be able to understand and know what they should or shouldn’t be doing in some cases. My time both professionally and in a volunteer basis fluctuates with need. I work with an NPO on areas that need improvement and then set them up to maintain on their own. I think it’s important that I “teach them to fish” vs “giving them the fish”.

Why did you first get involved with non-profits? In my household growing up, I learned young that it was important to give back to community. At home we helped our mom with her Women Nursing Associates through various functions or other organization she was helping with, and in high school I become actively involved with Young Life, which only grew from there.

How do you use your professional skills to help NPOs? I help with anything that is in need, I either give advice from what I know or just give them a resource for something I don’t. Sometime with small NPO’s it’s simply the lack of knowing where to look.

How does your volunteer/consulting work impact your overall professional experience? With NPO’s I have to research a lot, so I learn so much. I also have to dig for answers within their systems, which gives me an opportunity to learn different systems and how they work.


Mary Burns is retired, with 35 years of accounting experience in the oil and gas industry. She now serves as Assistant Director Finance for the Red Cross.

Mary Burns volunteers with The Red Cross

How did you first get involved with the Red Cross? Oklahoma has been affected by several large devastating tornadoes and I wanted a way to help those impacted.  At a Volunteer Fair at work, I met representatives from the Red Cross who gave me the opportunity to get involved.

How do you use your accounting skills as a volunteer? Initially as a Red Crosser, I trained for disaster response.  After Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross was criticized for not managing donor dollars wisely and in response to that, they created the Assistant Director Finance role.  I volunteered for the role and with my accounting background, was immediately accepted.

In this role, I report to the Director in charge of the relief operations and to the Red Cross Disaster Finance staff.  I assist the leadership team in developing their budget, monitoring expenses, tracking inventories and developing fiscal controls.  I am there to manage the brand risk.

In large scale disasters, there are hundreds of people, primarily volunteers, arriving from all over the country to assist.  They have a wide range of backgrounds, training and experience.  There can be lots of donations of relief supplies pouring in to many different locations.  We can operate out of many facilities, setting up service locations and warehouses quickly only to move them later.  It is a constantly changing environment so having good fiscal controls and reporting is very important.

Did your volunteer work impact your professional experience? Working on disaster relief operations requires good communication skills to be able to explain fiscal controls to a wide range of people and flexibility to adjust to changing situations.  With people who don’t know each other being thrown into situations of working together for 12 hour days, conflict resolution can be needed.  I frequently supervise one or two people and train volunteers.  All of these skills apply to professional situations.

The Red Cross is constantly looking for more finance volunteers. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Mary Burns.


Jessica Veal is a Senior at, Novinger, Ball & Zivi, PC. In her spare time, she serves as a mentor for college students pursuing accounting degrees and volunteers for various non-profits.

Why did you first get involved as a mentor? I first became a mentor to pay it forward. I appreciate each person who has given me advice and has supported me along my career path. I just wanted to provide that same guidance to someone else.

How do you use your experience as an accounting/finance professional as a volunteer? In one instance a college student wanted someone with career experience to advise them on their initial career path.  I was able to share my experiences. My accounting skills have also been valuable in volunteering for non-profit organizations and assisting with cash management.

Does your volunteer work impact your own professional experience or growth? Volunteer experiences are instrumental in developing leadership and soft skills. I have become a more positive person with a greater understanding on how to be an advocate for those I will meet along my career path.


The StaffBuffalo team volunteers with Race for a Cure

Maggie Shea, CPA is the owner of StaffBuffalo, LLC which specializes in executive, permanent, and temporary placements, primarily focused on placing Finance and Accounting professionals. Maggie recognizes community involvement is key to her and her business success. An avid volunteer herself, she encourages her team to do the same and is known to occasionally shut down the office for her team to participate together in volunteer events.

Maggie and her team at StaffBuffalo take pride in volunteering on various Boards and for events throughout the year!  StaffBuffalo is built around the motto that their work is done “to make people happy”, which translates from work to volunteering and vice versa. The team works with companies and people to make career matches, and in turn, they make the managers and employees happy. The team is further solidified by their extensive involvement in the community.

The StaffBuffalo team participates in “Cooks for Kids” and ran the 5k at the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  They volunteer for NextGen (aka YCPAs of the NYSSCPAs) at the annual NextGen Golf Outing, the annual Taste of Buffalo, and volunteered at Evergreen Health Services in preparation for Pride Week, which included running in the Gay 5k.  The StaffBuffalo team also volunteers for the Finance Team at the Promise Shop for the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure WNY, plants trees in the community through Re-Tree WNY, and donates blood and platelets for Roswell Park.  They volunteer for and help coordinate the Annual  Parkside Tour of Homes and help fundraise, plan, and attend events for Child & Family Services, Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), and WNY Human Resources Young Professionals (WNY HR YPs).  The team also works closely with B Team Buffalo, where they volunteer for the groups largest event, City of Light, participated in a Buffalo park clean up, and volunteered for one of their other signature events, Send Hunger Packing.

Visit http://www.afwa.org/blog for more AFWA news and articles.

AFWA Mesa East Valley Chapter Receives Chapter Achievement Award

The Mesa East Valley Chapter of the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance was recently recognized with a national Chapter Achievement Award in the category of Communications.

11/7/2016 (Lexington, KY) – The Mesa East Valley Chapter of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) was recently recognized with a national Chapter Achievement Award in the category of Communications. The awards were announced during the AFWA National Conference held in Denver, CO in October.

The Mesa East Valley Chapter has a goal to be anything but the best kept secret in their community. The Chapter wants visitors to easily find them, and members to be well informed of all Chapter happenings. This goal is achieved through an extensive online presence which includes a Chapter website, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn page, LinkedIn group, Google+ account, Chapter blog, and Chapter newsletter

“We are impressed with the Mesa East Valley Chapter’s commitment to consistent and engaging communications across a number of media channels,” said AFWA National President-Elect, Lori Kelley, CPA.

The Mesa East Valley Chapter of AFWA will hold its next event, Winery Tour and Holiday Party, on December 13, 2016 at Su Vino Winery in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more at mesaeastvalleyafwa.org.


About The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance:

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance promotes the professional growth of women in accounting and finance. Members of the nationwide association benefit from opportunities to connect with colleagues, advance their careers, and become industry leaders. For more than 75 years, the organization has proudly upheld its mission to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full potential and to contribute to their profession. Visit http://www.afwa.orgfor more information.

AFWA Women of Influence


AFWA members have access to a network of successful, motivated, and influential professionals who understand the unique position of being a woman in the industry. Our Women of Influence represent the passionate and respected industry leaders who we empower our members to be. Serving as mentors to young professionals, and sources on industry topics, AFWA Women of Influence are impacting the future of our profession.

DIANE DUDLEY, CPA, CGFM, Partner-in-Charge, Federal Audit Practice at KPMG  |  Washington D.C. AFWA Member since 1981

Diane Dudley is the partner-in-charge of KPMG’s Federal Audit Practice in Washington, D.C., a group of over 350 professionals.  She also serves as the overall audit partner or quality control review partner several large federal agencies. Ms. Dudley is highly involved in contributing to the improvement of federal financial management as an auditor and by commenting on relevant FASAB, OMB, GAO, and AICPA pronouncements.  She has presented testimony on federal accounting and financial management reform to Congressional subcommittees.  In addition, Ms. Dudley regularly serves as an instructor for KPMG national federal auditing courses.

SHELLY GAMS CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, CFP®, Financial Planner |  Billings, MT AFWA Member since 2014

Raised on a Longhorn Ranch in Cowley, Wyoming, Shelly Gams learned early how to put in a real full day’s work, and to be in service to others. Now, for the past 20 years, she has been serving others as a financial professional by providing clarity and direction for wise financial decisions. She is a graduate of the University of Wyoming in Business Administration and have many professional designations including Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®). Shelly has written many articles on financial education topics that have appeared in the Billings Gazette and Yellowstone Valley Woman’s magazine.

KAY GOTSHALL,CPA, Sr Tax Manager, Keiter |  Richmond, VA AFWA Member since 2003 

Kay Gotshall has 20+ years of tax experience including private and public accounting practice areas. She serves several of Keiter’s larger corporate clients with their tax provision and returns. Currently, Kay leads Keiter’s multi state tax team which is primarily responsible for a majority of the multi state tax filings prepared by the firm. In addition, the Keiter multi state tax team provides income, as well as, sales and use audit and research support services. Serving a wide variety of industries, such as broker dealers, construction, manufacturing, professional services, retail, and technology, my clients rely on me to provide multi state tax planning and compliance services.

MONIKA MILES, CPA, President at Miles Consulting Group, Inc.  |  San Francisco, CA AFWA Member since 1991

Monika Miles has served clients for over 20 years in consulting, “Big 4” public accounting, and industry, providing such services as federal and state income/franchise tax consulting, sales/use tax consulting, audit support and credits and incentives reviews.  In 2002, she left “Big 4” to start Miles Consulting Group, specializing in multistate tax consulting.  Monika’s passions include volunteer efforts with AFWA, where she has served as the National President (2011/2012), serving on the board of NAWBO-Silicon Valley (currently President),  and volunteering and raising money annually through the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Monika is proud to have been honored as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor for four years in a row (2012 -2015), and by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the 100 Women of Influence (2014).

Do you know of a Woman of Influence within AFWA’s membership? Our goal is to expand the Women of Influence community to include even more distinguished professional women. More information will be coming soon on the community we’ve built with these women, what they are doing for AFWA, and how you can nominate yourself or someone else. For immediate inquiries, please contact deborah.williams@afwa.org.



2017 Accounting MOVE Project: Propelling Women to Partner & Principal

The CPA profession is doing better than it ever has to advance women, but women still comprise only 23% of partners and principals. That’s a challenge for succession planning, growth and workload management. The 2017 Accounting MOVE Project, “Pipeline to Finish Line,” will zero in on specific strategies and programs that propel that percentage past the 25% mark.

“The pipeline is not solving itself. Women are about half of incoming professionals each year, but drop out on the brink of partnership. This is unsustainable,” said Joanne Cleaver, President of Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., the content strategy firm that manages the MOVE Project. “The profession can solve its talent gap simply by retaining more women at the senior level.”

A summary of the 2017 Accounting MOVE Project will be published in the May 2017 issue of Public Accounting Report, with the full report available at the websites of MOVE association partners, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Firms of all sizes are invited and encouraged to participate in the annual survey. The MOVE Project is making a real difference in the public accounting profession and has positioned CPA firms as innovators in the business world. Look no further than MOVE mentions in the CPA Practice Advisor, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and other publications to see how participating firms are leading the national conversation about advancing women.

Registration is open at Wilson-Taylorassoc.com. In addition to reporting findings from this survey, the MOVE Project will produce a list of the top public accounting firms for women and top equity leadership firms.

For more information on the 2017 MOVE project, visit the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance national website http://www.afwa.org/2016/09/19/4574/#.V-VvKK0uzKY.