Meet Justine Oliver!
Finance Manager at TIMIA Capital
We chat about the perks of being an accountant in tech, advice to new grads (TL;DR ask more questions!),and putting family first while succeeding in your career (yes, you can do both.)
Has your experience matched your expectations of being an accountant in tech?
Yes, and I don’t think many accountants really like that [being in tech]. What I’m seeing from some past students and coworkers is that sometimes, it’s hard for an accountant to adjust to the constant change. But I really enjoy it. I like how things are changing and you have to constantly stay on top of things.
Even if you don’t have the most experience, like when I was in more junior positions, everyone is willing to hear your opinions and ideas. The team was smaller, open, and on the same playing field. “Let’s work on this together and come up with solutions together.”
What advice would you offer to someone just starting out given your experience and what you’ve learned?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to be wrong.
As a new grad, you may think that you’ve learned it all but you’re afraid to make mistakes because you don’t want to seem like you don’t know anything. What helped me grow and learn is to honestly admit: I’m not too sure how to do this, or why this is being done? As long as you have a good manager, they’ll take the time to explain it to you. Once you get it, you won’t make the mistake.
I've seen other coworkers where they fake it, make mistakes and it causes these spirals of issues that end up making it a lot worse than if they just had asked the question upfront.
You have worked at companies with female leaders, you’re in tech with lots of work and household responsibilities - any advice for women in their careers who are trying to figure out that balance?
Don’t be afraid to keep your family first.
I have seen, even in tech, some women in other departments shorten their maternity leave, put in those extra hours, and take that away from their family cause they feel like they need to prove they’re as good as the men.
But, I would say - you don’t have to.
I’ve seen some women do that. But, I have seen other women who don’t do that and are still succeeding in their careers and treated with respect.
The nice thing about tech is that quite a few males take paternity leave. They don’t seem as afraid to take off the next six months to stay at home with their kids.
That’s the one thing I do love about tech and I hope that women will see and stick with it -- they can put their family, themselves, maternity leave, pregnancy, their kids first instead of always staying late or bringing the work home.
You can keep the balance, succeed and work your way up.