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Chair's Perspective: Diane Sturek, CPA, MAcc

May 15, 2023
Photo of Diane Sturek, CPA, MAccA message from Diane Sturek, CPA, MAcc, 2022–23 Chair of the INCPAS Board of Directors  

Human Resource: The Most Important Asset

I teach an introductory financial accounting course. The main objective of the course is to teach the basic financial statements and the accounting cycle. As I try to get students to distinguish between five of the basic elements of the financial statements, I ask them to think about examples from their personal life and work experience. When asked to give an example of an asset, a student will always refer to the company’s employees. Later, when discussing cash flow activity classifications, they perceive that companies invest in their employees.

I think students are disappointed to learn that employees are not considered assets.

Can the accounting profession take a lesson from these students? I think it says that, as people as well as employees, they want to have value to their employers.

How would viewing employees as assets impact the retention of current employees and attract more people to the profession?

How do you and your firm or company invest in your staff? How do you show them they have value? As accountants, we often look at the numbers — net worth, compensation and profitability. Certainly, compensation plays a major role in employee satisfaction, but for many, there is an essential intangible reward when feeling valued.

I know many of you are feeling the pain of the constricted pipeline. The WSJ reported that over 300,000 accountants quit their jobs during the pandemic. How would viewing employees as assets impact the retention of current employees and attract more people to the profession? I’m not suggesting we capitalize employees, but perhaps if we show employees and colleagues that they are an important resource for our organizations and clients, there would be a mutual benefit.

A Journal of Accountancy blog post from March 23, 2023, featured Hamza Khan, famous for a TEDx talk from 2016 titled “Stop Managing, Start Leading.” His premise is that things are managed but people are led. A successful leader must choose to put people first.

It is fitting to focus on people for my last perspective as chair of the INCPAS Board of Directors. Serving on this board has been a highlight of my professional career and personal life BECAUSE of all the people who have shared this journey. I want to thank all of you who took time to connect and teach me. I encourage you all to become involved to help promote and grow our profession.

I especially want to thank my fellow board members and other leaders of the accounting profession. It has been an honor to serve with you. You provided me with so many wonderful stories to share with students to promote the profession. Your passion for the accounting profession is inspiring.

I also want to take this opportunity to express gratitude to the INCPAS staff, past and present. Your dedication to the organization and its members is unparalleled. I hope all of our members are aware of your professionalism and what you contribute to the CPA profession in Indiana. You always put people first.


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Diane Sturek, CPA, MAcc
About the Author

Sturek is an accounting lecturer and course coordinator at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, where she has worked since 2004. Before moving to Indiana she taught accounting at the University of Missouri – Columbia and William Woods University – Fulton, MO. Prior to becoming an accounting educator, Sturek worked as an auditor for a large international accounting firm and an internal auditor for a national bank. INCPAS involvement includes serving on the Knowledge Management focus group.