Brittany Seib is an Accounting Manager for a construction company and has worked in accounting for over five years. To her, accounting is like a puzzle and every little moving part has to fit together and balance in order to work. She loves breaking everything down and figuring out the analytical aspects.
She started in her current position knowing that, in a matter of months, a number of people had started and left that exact role. So, not surprisingly, there wasn’t a consistent process; in fact, many inefficiencies resulted in everything being done by hand or on paper. Brittany, who exudes an entrepreneurial spirit, saw this as an opportunity. She has a passion for “cleaning things up” and has made impactful changes within the company. She laid the groundwork to close books within 20 days of every month versus at the end of each quarter. Additionally, she helped implement a P.O. process (a way to process purchase orders) within the AP department to improve response time for emails and phone calls with internal and external clients.
Brittany has numerous accounting achievements, but her track record of accomplishments extends beyond accounting. Through her work, she has established her department as trust-worthy and capable experts, propelling them into a position of being true business partners within the organization. Additionally, she has positively impacted the work/life balance for those in her department by implementing more efficient processes. She even commented, “I feel like I have done the impossible!”
What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?
As a young child, Brittany wanted to be an attorney. In fact, it was a running joke in her family because she has always been direct, outspoken, personable and yes, always argued for her point of view! She was a ballet dancer until the age of 20 and majored in art history during college. After college, she moved into accounting and has been there ever since!
Like many, Brittany was given the advice to find something she loved and was passionate about, so she did. She attended Columbia College of Chicago, a private arts school, for ballet; however, she was injured and burned out and began to question if she really wanted to do ballet. Soon, an art history class piqued her interest. She loved doing the research for an assigned project and committed to it fully by transferring to Indiana University and majoring in art history.
Graduating during an economic slump, her entrance into the field of accounting was almost by chance. Not a lot of companies were hiring for entry level positions, but she received an offer for an office manager / accountant position with a construction company while the person normally in the role was on maternity leave. During her time in this temporary position, she learned the basics of accounting including the construction company’s business model as well as how the company pays invoices/bills and receives payments for completed work. This position ended, but opened the doors for future accounting roles, including her next position with an environmental firm as a staff accountant. That’s where Brittany found a mentor who showed her the ropes and helped develop her accounting acumen. Soon, she was able to complete tax returns, provide full service bookkeeping (keeping records of billing, payments, and financial transactions) for 15 clients, and file payroll taxes.
Brittany’s advice is to practice and develop your communication skills because your ability to write what you mean, mean what you say, and follow through is everything. You have to be clear and concise, but also understand that how you say something is just as important as what you say. When you are managing a team, communicating not only what you need, but why you need it builds trust and knowledge, and helps the team understand the value of their work.
Your ability to organize is very observable; it’s evident to those you work with day-to-day. We all have a set of tasks that need completed on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and sometimes it can be difficult to outline the order of what needs to be done. Finding a way to organize that works for you will ensure you complete your work on time.