The Harmony Whisperer

November 01, 2017

Amy Vetter is a CPA, entrepreneur, business executive, national speaker and yoga practitioner who started her career in accounting more than 20 years ago. Her first job as a CPA was in KPMG’s audit department in Cincinnati. She later moved to Florida and worked for Ryder Logistics in Miami in its internal audit department. These jobs, she said, gave her the experience to eventually open her own outsourced accounting and advisory practice. Today, Vetter has accomplished much, including becoming a champion for work-life balance and helping professionals find harmony.

How did you come to earn the title “entrepreneur?”
My grandfather owned his own accounting practice and both my grandmother and mother were entrepreneurs, so I believe I inherited the entrepreneurial bug. In the 1980s, my mom started her own maid service company in Cincinnati when I was in second grade. By the time I was 12, the school bus dropped me off there each day and I helped with paperwork and customer phone calls. I saw the ups and downs of owning a business and that experience has helped me tremendously with my own businesses, which over the years have included accounting firms, yoga studios and other business ventures. Right now, in addition to my corporate executive job at Xero, I run Drishtiq Yoga, a yoga studio in my hometown in Mason, Ohio.

Explain what being an “advocate and evangelist for entrepreneurship and the accounting profession” means?
I’m passionate about helping accounting professionals grow and transition their practices to offer more advisory services to their clients. As technology improves and automates, it will do the data entry tasks typically done by accountants. As a result, it will be key for many accountants to re-tool and become advisers that help their clients understand what the numbers mean and how to use them to make business decisions. I see myself as an evangelist as I regularly speak on these topics at events targeted at small businesses and accounting professionals across the country. I also write on them for Entrepreneur, Inc., AccountingWeb and CPA Practice Advisor.

When did you start yoga and what role has it played in your life? 
Right after giving birth to my second child, my doctor diagnosed me with a thyroid condition that was related to the pregnancy. He said I needed to take a break from any physical activity for the next 10 months. I also couldn’t work. I had my own accounting firm in which I was the sole employee, so this meant no paycheck. My only exercise option was yoga. When I walked into a beginner’s yoga class 12 years ago I wasn’t flexible and couldn’t touch my toes. It was difficult for me to not compare myself to the person on the mat next to me. But over time I became more flexible and started to do the poses. 

What advice would you give CPAs to find more balance? 
You can find balance in a lot of different ways. I know people who knit to find more balance or who garden or write poetry. To figure out what works for you, ask yourself “What did I enjoy doing as a kid?” or “What is my dream job?” The answers will help you discover what type of activities give you balance. Then commit to doing one of those activities for at least 30 days to see if helps you feel more balanced. If not, try the next activity on your list for another 30 days until you find one that feeds your soul and recharges you.

How hard is it to find work-life harmony? 
For me, it took a lot of soul searching during a time in my life when I should have been happy. I was 32 and had just made partner at the accounting firm where I worked. But instead of being happy, I was indifferent. I had worked so hard to achieve this goal, but in the process, I hadn’t ever stopped and assessed whether this was the right path for me. It was just a goal I set for myself. This led me on my own journey to discover and better align my authentic self with my work. To help others learn from my experience and create their own sense of work-life harmony, I recently wrote a book titled “Business, Balance & Bliss: How the B3 Method Can Transform Your Career and Life.” Along with my own life lessons, I’ve included the experiences of other business leaders, as well as tips and tools, backed by scientific research, on how to live a more authentic and harmonious life at work and home. 

What are the biggest mistakes you see busy CPAs make when trying to find their own work-life harmony?
I often see CPAs have good intentions to create more work-life harmony. They plan to be home at a certain hour to have dinner with their family, spend more time exercising or playing music. But as soon as things get busy at work, they let work override their personal schedule. For this not to happen, you need to schedule your “recharge-your-soul activities” in your calendar and treat them just like a client meeting that you cannot miss. Then ask others in your life—your family, employees and colleagues—to support you.
What are your top three tips to help CPAs become more productive—and happy—at work?
One of the main things is to make sure to find a creative or physical outlet outside of work where you can give your mind a break from work. Then commit to doing it on a regular basis. Second, start practicing how to be more present or mindful in everything you do by ensuring you don’t get distracted with emails or other notifications while you’re in meetings, and making sure you have enough time between meetings so you can be present with the people that schedule time with you. Lastly, take note of your natural energy levels throughout the day. You can then plan in advance to complete more complex tasks when your energy is high and simpler, less intensive tasks when your energy is low.

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