Women In Leadership Series: Tammy Keith, CFO, Fairbank Equipment Inc.

This post is part of a series. To read the introduction, click here.

What has your career path looked like? After graduating with a degree in accounting from Friends University, I started my career in public accounting with Kennedy and Coe (now K-Coe Isom). I earned my CPA license and worked for several years doing both tax and audit. I dealt with a wide client base—everything from construction companies and storage/campground facilities, to distribution companies and banks, among others. Then one of my distribution clients, Fairbank Equipment Inc., contacted me about their controller position becoming available. This was a great fit for both the company and me, and almost 27 years later, I’m still growing in my career there.

Who or what influenced the path you chose? I’ve always had an affinity for numbers and knew very early on that I would pursue a career in accounting.

What advice would you offer to young women considering a career in finance? I encourage anyone looking to begin a career in accounting or finance to first obtain their CPA license. I feel this helps expose them to a wide variety of business fields and can help give them insight into potential areas they might want to specialize in.

Have you encountered any barriers that are particular to women? When I started in public accounting it was very difficult for women—especially women with children—to move up the ladder. I felt that it was definitely a “man’s world.” However, I’ve seen that this barrier has been largely eliminated in the years since I left the public accounting field, and I now know a lot of very respected women partners in public accounting firms.

Up next: Maxine Clark, Founder, Build-A-Bear, on March 15.