Carolyn Mazzenga, Partner-in-Charge of the Melville Office, Interviewed in CPA Practice Advisor Article "Carolyn Mazzenga, CPA – 2013 Most Powerful Women in Accounting"
CPA Practive Advisor
What advice would you give to female college students about the opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
There is tremendous opportunity in the accounting profession now because the economy is on its way back. Even though it’s not all the way back yet, new opportunities are opening up all the time and firms are hiring. Accounting is a great foundation, whether you stay in the field or eventually go on to something else later, like opening a business or moving from public into private work. In addition, accounting is becoming more and more gender neutral. We are seeing more and more women entering the profession, and entering into higher level, decision-making positions.
When you’re interviewing, you need to stand out. Do your homework to separate yourself from others. Know about the firm where you’re interviewing and, if possible, the person who is interviewing you. Distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack by showcasing what makes you different or special, such as volunteer work you may do or anything else that gives insight into your character and the things that are important to you.
What advice would you give accounting firms on things they could do to better retain and advance more qualified female staff?
More accounting firms need to offer flexible work arrangements. Marcum has always offered different work arrangements to accommodate various needs, and as a result, we have managed to attract and retain many highly qualified female staff, and keep our attrition rate low. Our female partner ratio is very high.
We have wonderful talent, and we make it a priority to keep them. When our CPAs get to the point where they are starting families, they realize that Marcum’s willingness to accommodate flex schedules is a huge plus. We actually hear staff “selling” it to other staff – not partners selling it – as a big advantage of working at Marcum.
How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance?
Very mobile. Mobile devices have had a great impact on productivity and client service, and they definitely have had an impact on work-life balance, both positively and negatively. I am always connected. I tend do to a lot of client work late at night and on weekends. Being connected allows me to not be tied to my desk. But on the flip side, it is hard to disconnect, and there are times when you really need to.
What single piece of technology could you absolutely not live without, and why?
My Blackberry. It keeps me connected to email. Because of the nature of my practice, which is focused on high net worth individuals, many of my clients communicate with me in the evening via email. I reply and compose in full length, so a keyboard is essential for me. I just can’t give up my Blackberry for that reason alone, but I supplement it with an iPad mini for everything else. I can practically carry it in my purse along with my Blackberry.