Meet Sylvia Johnson, CPA
As a part of Black History Month, we asked several TSCPA members why diversity in the profession matters to them and how accounting helps them leave a legacy they are proud of.
TSCPA member, Sylvia Johnson, CPA:
Q: Why does diversity in the profession matter to you?
A: Diversity in this profession matters to me because accounting is a field of study that in the past was not encouraged or really introduced to minorities and women. Though accounting is the backbone of any company, no matter the industry or size, many have failed or gotten into financial trouble from not utilizing our services. It is imperative to understand just how your company is performing financially and how you can best operate efficiently and effectively. And then there are those, especially in the minority populated areas, that did not understand the value of accounting services, either from lack of existence or understanding or no representation in their communities. This lack of exposure and accessibility has been the downfall of many companies and individuals with tax issues. Diverse representation in our profession will encourage the utilization of accounting services and, in the long run, enable more businesses and individuals to stabilize and become assets to our economy. This too makes it very important to allow diversity behind the sacred walls of the corporate accounting departments where all can get the valuable experience necessary to develop and apply what they learned in the real world.
Q: How does accounting help you leave a legacy you are proud of?
A: Accounting helps me leave a legacy that I am proud of mostly because it has allowed me to introduce these services to some businesses that were not aware of how they could benefit from them. Also, trust is a big issue when dealing with the money and livelihoods of most. I am big on helping my clients understand what I do for them, therefore establishing a level of trust that has given them more faith in our profession. I definitely encourage business owners to use the services of accountants as they realize the value. Considering I have been working in this industry for over 40 years, I have also been able to mentor, inspire and encourage those coming behind me to be a part of this profession.
Also, I want to remind those interested in the profession that is not so much about being good at math but being able to understand the logic of “accounting” for the money earned and the money spent. And once you understand the logic, it is applicable to any industry or person. Thankfully, I was introduced to the field of accountancy during a career day at my private high school. And even though I made an “A” in my accounting class when I took it in high school to see if I liked it, my university advisor flat out told me that I should change my major before I ever took a college level accounting course. Obviously, I did not take his advice. Diversity in this area is important to make sure this necessary service is offered and available to all in need of it. I believe it will become a more trusted and utilized service when it doesn’t appear to be something only one group of people can provide.