151: From Big 4, to the PCAOB, to Academia – Kecia Williams Smith

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Kecia Williams Smith

Kecia Williams Smith, PhD and CPA from the North Carolina area, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast.

A strong foundation

Kecia became interested in accounting and overall business at an early age.  As she was about to enter college, it became apparent to her and her family all the opportunities that existed in accounting at that time, and so she made the choice to pursue the field as her career.  As Kecia describes it, she was a “cookie cutter” accounting major, and started in a typical intern role with Deloitte that later turned into a full-time position.  The next 9 years or so with Deloitte gave her a strong foundation in many areas, and also helped her realize where her passions and strengths were – in the audit quality and risk management arenas.

An exciting adventure – early days at the PCAOB

She received a recruiting call for the PCAOB  after about 9 years at Deloitte. It was just starting up, and the opportunity was to get in on the ground floor as an inspector.  Given her passion for audit quality, it was an exciting opportunity and she decided to take the risk.  Kecia spent many years with the PCAOB as well and worked her way up into an Associate Director role prior to deciding to go back and check off one of her bucket-list items – attaining her PhD.

Shaping the future of accounting

Kecia landed her first role as a professor at Virginia Tech after completing her PhD.  It wasn’t long until the opportunity to return to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State came along, and she decided to make the move.  She just recently has assumed the position of Director of their Masters of Accountancy program.  A few of the insights that Kecia shares with regards to being a successful Masters student include:

  • Don’t look at your Masters program as simply more classes. They are meant to strengthen and enhance your critical thinking skills
  • Don’t fall into the trap of “just studying enough.” Work to retain the information you learn as well.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it.  You can tell from the audio recording that Kecia has enjoyed every stage in her career, and she is excited about the future as well.

Please check out the following related episodes as well:  Kelly Richmond Pope and Mansour Farhat

(Click on this link for the publication mentioned in this episode: 49 Tips for Working With A Headhunter, click here.)

To listen in on the audio podcast with Kecia Williams Smith, please use the player below: