What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your finance career?
“My first job out of college was with Ernst & Young, now EY, in audit, and I progressed to become an audit manager. One key thing I learned as I would go from client to client, conducting those audits, working with a team, was how critical it was to understand the business that we were auditing. If I went in with the checklist and was just looking at transactions and checking off if they were properly recorded, I wasn’t really doing my job or meeting the client’s needs because those audits needed to be risk-based, and if you did not understand the business, you did not understand the risk.
“An example I can give you is that we were doing an audit for a company in Massachusetts, and we were focused on doing a lot of the transactional testing. One evening, in the hotel room, after we had completed the day’s work, I was looking through a local newspaper and noticed an advertisement for the building where the company was located and that it was for sale. No one on the management team had highlighted that, and for an entire corporate location to be selling the building within which it was located, that was a red flag. What I realized was, we weren’t asking some basic questions about the future of the business, and what was going on, because we were so laser-focused on recording and checking off. It made a big difference in terms of how we looked at the business and where we needed to focus our efforts. So I think that was key, to understand that, and I’ve carried that with me as I have moved forward.” –Carol Lowe, CFO, Sealed Air Corporation
Now listen to our complete interview with CFO Carol Lowe Here
Note: Jack Sweeney is the host of CFO Thought Leader, a popular iTunes podcast that explores how finance leaders are driving change within their organizations. Guests of the CFO Thought Leader podcast do not endorse or recommend commercial products, processes, or services.
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