Behind the W: Get to Know Susan Yount
I sat down with Susan Yount to find out what she really thinks about XBRL, the changes she has experienced since she got her CPA, and what she likes to do for fun. Keep reading to get to know her.
How has the accounting field changed since you got your CPA?
I've seen a couple of pretty striking changes since dinosaurs roamed the earth and I got my CPA. One is the number and complexity of accounting standards. When I took the exam, it was the first time that FAS 95—the cash flow statement—had shown up on the test. The Miller GAAP guide could fit in your pocket. Now it's the size of a phone book. When the Codification was launched, I thought it was the end of the world, but I'm slowly getting used to it.
Another big change has been in technology. Not only were we not allowed to use a calculator during the exam, there were no cell phones or laptop computers. Technology has brought some fundamental changes to the way we work and how we spend our time as accountants and auditors. I appreciate that we get more time now to do the fun stuff, analyzing transactions and their results.
Do you have any concerns or predictions regarding the future of XBRL?
Using structured data to report accounting results has the potential to completely transform how we communicate and analyze financial information. XBRL may or may not be the format we're using 10 years from now, but I think it's safe to say that structured data is going to be around for a long time. I'm excited to be a part of such a huge shift in my field!
What originally attracted you to the accounting industry?
I look good in a black suit, so it seemed like a natural fit.
Have you ever dreamed about XBRL?
I'm going to invoke my Fifth Amendment right not to answer this, on the grounds I may incriminate myself...
What's the last book you read?
I've been reading books by and about Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a remarkable woman, and I had no idea how deeply she was involved in the United Nations and human rights issues. She's a real inspiration.
What's your favorite thing about working at WebFilings?
We have amazing people here. I love it that everyone is so focused on improving the lives of business professionals!
What other organizations and causes do you support?
A couple of years ago, I got together with some of my neighbors in Washington, D.C. to rehabilitate a small park that had been badly neglected and become a haven for drugs and crime. It took us a few years to clean it up, and now we have regular community events, a weekly farm stand, and some spin-off groups who are building community gardens, dog parks, and playgrounds. We even won a city award! Check out the Neighbors of Southwest Duck Pond
Is there anything else we should know about you or that you would like to share?
I know how to brew beer—you definitely want me on your team if the zombie apocalypse comes!"