CFO Barb Beaudoin on Valuing Yourself in Accounting & The Variety of Career Paths | Episode 4

In this edition of Beyond the Numbers, Bernadette Grattan, Founder & Recruiting Director of The Resource Link, is joined by Barb Beaudoin, CFO of Dudley Ventures (now a part of Valley Bank).

Advice For Accountants: Value Yourself and Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

Barb’s initial advice focuses on the challenges and opportunities for women in accounting, “I had so many good opportunities because I chose this field. Things worked very well for me. It was nice to be in a position where I could take advantage of opportunities, grow, and achieve my goals from a professional standpoint.”

In her early career, she spoke about the shift in gender demographics within the accounting profession. “When I started, women were in the minority. But it was a time when things started to change. Instead of having a majority of males in the firm, women started getting much more involved. Probably now, there are more women than men.” She added, “So women, we’re just looking to fit in back then.”

Because of this, Barb emphasized the importance of self-advocacy and recognizing your value as an accountant, as she said, “I wished I had female mentors who told me, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in the environment. Don’t be intimidated by the folks ahead of you. Be realistic about what they need as a business and also your value. To value myself and to be unafraid to ask for things that mattered to me.”

In her experience, Barb observed that men are more comfortable asking than women. She said, “I learned over time that the men in the profession were never afraid to ask for what mattered. And I think we, as females, tend not to value ourselves as much as we should.”

Barb learned to speak up in a way that produced results. Doing so is the single biggest advice she would give her younger self, learn how to speak up for yourself.

While the gender demographics in accounting have shifted, Bernadette mentioned that women still hesitate to ask. She agreed, “Yes, we’re still at that point where we don’t ask. But five minutes before, a guy went in and asked for that same thing and got it. We, as women, need to ask the question too.”

TL;DR: Barb advised accountants to value themselves and recognize the business’s needs but be unafraid to ask for what they need.


Why Barbs Love Accounting: Never A Dull Moment In Accounting

Barb shared that she has never been bored in her career. She said, “I love accounting for so many reasons. I’d say, first and foremost, I’ve never been bored. I have always been interested in what I’m doing.”

Barb started her career in public accounting, but she said you can do it differently. However, “Starting in public accounting gave me insight into a wide variety of businesses.” Adding, “The thing I love about accounting is that it gives you a good understanding of the core of a business. You get exposed to a wide variety of businesses.”

She valued her experiences in public accounting, explaining, “I was on the audit team. I always enjoyed my work at that time. We traveled a lot to different places. We didn’t do a lot of remote work. I was fortunate to sit in the businesses we were auditing, learn about them, and meet the different people.”

TL;DR: Barb has always been interested in accounting. She has never been bored. Accounting allows you to understand the core of a business. During her public accounting career, she valued learning about businesses they audited and interacting with different people.

What Makes a Successful Accountant

Barb revealed that success in accounting isn’t solely dependent on technical knowledge. She explained, “What surprised me the most about being in public accounting and accounting in general is that technical knowledge is important, but your skills with people will make you successful. It’s about being involved with people.”

Contrary to the stereotypes about accountants, Barb said, “Yes, you’re dealing with numbers. We get a bad rap in the accounting field for the old green eyeshade, put your nose down and work on your numbers. But the truth is, successful people in our field do not do that.”

Barb explained that success in the field requires effective communication with all parts of an organization. She pointed out, “Certainly, accountants must be good at numbers. Today, technology can help you do that, such as data mining and getting the right information. But the most successful people in our field are the ones who work well with everybody in the other parts of the organization. If you don’t communicate well with people in sales, in the warehouse, in customer service, and others, you can’t be successful in accounting. You have to understand the business to get that right.” As Barb put it, the ability to “look at the story behind the numbers” is a hallmark of a good accountant.

TL;DR: Technical knowledge in accounting is important, but people skills and effective communication skills with all parts of the organization will make you successful as an accountant.


Opportunities for Growth and Responsibility in Accounting

Bernadette commented on the rapid expansion of industries in recent years.

This observation led Barb to mention the versatility of an accounting career, as she said, “The truth is, any business needs accountants, right? So, if you have a passion, it’s a good way to allow that synergy to enrich your life. For example, my son loves golf. He works for a golf technology company in their finance area in San Diego. Loves it!”

Accounting opens up numerous opportunities across industries.

Bernadette added that an accounting career often offers more job security than other jobs. She said, “That’s something that people don’t think about. If your son was in sales or marketing for the golf company, he may be at risk of being laid off, but you always need accountants, like you said.”

Barb agreed and highlighted the common career aspirations of accounting professionals. She stated, “I assume most of us have goals to improve or to rise in our career levels, which is to have more responsibility, make more money, and progress.”

She explained how accountants can become valuable to the management. “If you are good in accounting or the finance side, if you’re good at what you do, if you work hard, if you get involved, and help the business progress, you’re very valuable to the management.”

Barb emphasized the importance of accounting and finance professionals in executive decision-making. She pointed out, “If you are the CEO of a company, when they’re talking to the public, who do they need to have with them? It’s the accounting and finance person helping them navigate things.”

Finally, Barb reiterated the potential for career growth and the variety of opportunities accounting gives: “An accounting career gives you a lot of potential. It provides all kinds of ways you can go, and the fact that it adds all that opportunity makes it interesting.”

TL;DR: Accountants are needed in any business and can pursue careers in any industry they are passionate about. If you’re good at what you do as an accountant, you become valuable to the management.


ABOUT Barbara K. Beaudoin: Barb is an inactive CPA and the CFO of Dudley Ventures, LLC (now a part of Valley Bank). As a senior management team member, Barb plays a key strategic role in planning and executing the company’s growth initiatives. She oversees all financial reporting, accounting, and analysis across the company’s investment portfolio, which spans over 100 entities.

Before joining Dudley Ventures, Barb held accounting and finance leadership roles at Jostens Learning Corporation and PwC (formerly Coopers & Lybrand.)

Barb was able to take time off and raise her family while doing part-time accounting work. When her kids were grown, she could jump back in full-time at one of her clients (Dudley Ventures.)

Learn more, or reach out to Barb at


ABOUT Bernadette Grattan: Bernadette is the founder of The Resource Link, a specialty accounting and finance recruiting firm based in the Phoenix area. Since 2002, she has been providing a personalized approach to recruiting and a commitment to making great matches for long-term success. This means taking the time to understand the needs of employers looking to hire and discover career goals with those who may be seeking their next career opportunity. Before recruiting, Bernadette worked in public accounting.

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About The Resource Link

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Bernadette Grattan, founder of The Resource Link

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