Over the course of his career, Lindsay Carter’s father realized the impact that accounting knowledge could have on making key decisions. As a successful business owner, he often said that knowing the ins and outs of accounting was key in understanding the financial health of your business. And he shared this insight with his daughter.
“That conversation has always stuck with me — that with in-depth knowledge, I could be empowered to make strategic decisions independently,” Lindsay says.
So, years later, when one of her professors at the Queen’s School of Business advocated the versatility of accounting and emphasized how its core skills translated to all businesses in all sectors, Lindsay felt her path was clear.
“I decided, with the combined guidance of my dad and my amazing professor, to pursue accounting because it would set me up to speak that language of business,” Lindsay explains. “That’s what drove me to accounting. It wasn’t: My dream is to have this or that career. It was: Let’s learn the fundamental language so that I can work in any industry anywhere in the world.”
While practicality provided the push for Lindsay to become a CPA, she’s found that the designation opened doors she hadn’t considered, including to one of the world’s most progressive tech companies. Today she’s an Account Manager at Google, where she works with Canadian retailers, helping them shape and grow their businesses in the digital age.
“Most of my clients are actually headquartered in Canada,” she explains. “When one of my clients grows, I can see it happening in the news; I can see it happening in the real world; and I know that I had an impact, be it large or small, on their growth, which is really exciting.”
"I decided, with the combined guidance of my dad and my amazing professor, to pursue accounting because it would set me up to speak that language of business"
Lindsay explains that being able to take data and translate numbers into a narrative that helps clients make good business decisions is a powerful tool. “If you’re not constructing a good story, you’re not leveraging those numbers, which is where I think the CPA background really comes in handy,” she says. “It’s being able to tell stories with numbers.”
Before joining Google, Lindsay was taking a more traditional road. Her first job was in the Financial Services arm of the Assurance group at PwC, a path she and many other CPAs have taken right out of school. It was challenging and promising, and she had many conversations with her managers and mentors about the path to Audit Partner. After three and a half years of auditing financial institutions, Lindsay began the search for an opportunity that would force her to step outside of her comfort zone.
Following an eye-opening secondment at PwC New Zealand, Lindsay decided to take a chance on the unknown. Through a friend, she learned of an opening for an Account Manager role at Google and immediately applied. Initially, Lindsay was concerned that on paper she lacked the digital experience required to succeed in the role. When she asked her now manager why he felt she was the right fit for the role, he explained it was her CPA designation that set her apart. “He said, ‘Ultimately, what the CPA tells me is that you have the relationship skills and business acumen required to succeed. The rest can be learned on the job,’” she explains.
For Lindsay, gone are the days of a single defined dream job. The tech space is always evolving, and she wants to stay challenged and grow along with it — something she’s finding with her current team at Google. “I’m in a space where everyone is so smart, engaged and extremely passionate about what they’re doing. And that continually builds me up to grow both personally and professionally,” she says.
As an Emerging Leader advisory member, Lindsay took some time out of her busy schedule to share with us her thoughts on dream jobs, on taking the leap, and where the “language of business” will take you.