Leslie Boyd, CPA, MST

Leslie Boyd received her MST from the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis and is a principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP.

Kelley Biz Blog: What is your advice to other women aspiring to move up and succeed in the business world today?

Leslie: I encourage women to embrace their strengths. Be proud of your unique skills and gifts. Learn to leverage these and boldly chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure. You will fall down and it is in falling and getting back up that we learn and grow!!

I also encourage young women to seek mentors – male and female that are successful – learn to emulate their behaviors and ask them for advice and support. You don’t have to go it alone and people want to help you! Also, encourage and support the other women. We are all in this together. Help one another. What you give out comes back to you!

Kelley Biz Blog: How did your Kelley education help you as you work toward or through your career?

Leslie: I did both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Kelley. I attribute much of my success to the tools and skills that my Kelley education provided me. As an undergraduate, the program taught me fundamental technical skills that allowed me to excel at my first job out of school as an auditor with a Big 4 accounting firm. The accounting program was rigorous, but it gave me a sound baseline in accounting that set me up well for the CPA exam. Additionally, the program taught me how to work with others, problem solve and think critically. It taught me to leverage my peers to find an answer and to keep pushing even when the going is tough.

I went back for my graduate degree about four years out of school, while I was working in the tax profession. I truly believe the technical skills I gained doing my MST have distinguished me as a technical resource in our firm.

However, even more importantly, I met one of my greatest mentors – Professor Jamison. He taught me way more than tax – he taught me life skills and public speaking skills. He took a chance on me – letting me teach seminars and co-instruct with him. He was a sounding board when things were tough in my career. The program was just as much about relationships as it was about both technical and soft skills.

Kelley Biz Blog: Why do you recommend other women go into accounting as a career?

Leslie: When I was starting my journey in Kelley, I knew my accounting classes were important because accounting is the language of business. It drives strategic decision making. And, I knew, that having that baseline and skillset could keep my career options open. I had no idea at the time, however, how rewarding a career in public accounting could be.

The awesome thing about working in public accounting is that you never stop climbing and advancing in your career. As soon as you master a task and skillset, you get to take on new skillsets. For example, you move from being a preparer, to project manager to relationship manager on accounts.

You also get to engage with and develop a variety of skills – beyond your technical skills. You learn how to manage projects, manage people, manage budgets, develop business, and solve problems for clients. You also get the opportunity to dig in deep and learn about a wide array of companies and industries.

Your possibilities to develop your career are truly limitless and your career can be customized to your strengths, talents and desires.