This morning I was lucky enough to hear some inspiring stories of badass women. Amy Vetter hosted a Women in Business breakfast to kickoff Day 2 of Xerocon. It was an honest discussion about our struggles as females in a male-dominated industry. Actually, two male-dominated industries- accounting and tech. It was not a bashing session, but just a warm forum where we could be vulnerable, and learn practical solutions for gaining traction in the space.
Ingrid Vanderveldt, who has built global gazillion-dollar companies, admitted that there was a point in her life where she was living out of a car. That takes guts.
Then Rod Drury, CEO of Xero, stood up and told a story about a sales manager who is a single mom mentioning how much she was spending on childcare so she could travel as part of her job.
And I lost it.
Yesterday was possibly the best day of my almost twenty-year career in accounting. I gave the talk of my life on a product I love to a room full of engaged advisors. I was introduced as a new Xero Ambassador, which means I get to connect with accountants and bookkeepers, and help them grow their practices in meaningful ways. To top it off, I was given the Evangelist of the Year award. At the after-party and the after-after party, folks I never met made it point to congratulate me.
I put my head on the pillow last night completely overwhelmed and grateful.
But today my two children started school. In New Orleans. While I’m in San Francisco.
I launched my firm four years ago from a laptop in the guest room. I was recently divorced and faced the choice of going back into public accounting or doing it my own way. As an unabashedly independent woman (my mother would say it’s my defining characteristic), I picked the latter. I was very deliberate about building a cloud-based practice that I could run anywhere in the world at any time so I could be available to the kids. And in creating this practice, I have found my voice, what I believe to be my true calling- empowering small business owners with technology.
The cost of that has been missing the occasional soccer game or class play, but it’s never been the first day of school. I’ve never not seen my kids on their first day of school. I’ve never not taken their picture in front of the house wearing new school shoes and carrying new backpacks.
The kids are fine. I know this. But my mom-spirit is broken because I couldn’t be in two places at once.
I believe that one day they will look back and be proud of what I’ve done. Frankly, that’s what keeps me going many days of the year. Maybe my daughter will be inspired to become a CPA, too. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.
But if you see me at Xerocon today, and my eyes are a little glossy and my nose is a little red, you’ll know why.
Amanda Aguillard decided to become a CPA when she was 16, and never looked back. She started Aguillard Accounting LLC in 2012, committed to running a cloud-based practice from anywhere in the world. Aguillard Accounting is a Xero Gold Partner and Cloud Integrator, Vend Certified Advisor, Clio Certified Consultant and Deputy Certified Advisor, amongst others, and Amanda regularly teaches the Xero Partner Certification course. While she holds a Masters Degree in Taxation from the University of Denver, she would much rather craft and implement ecosystems for retailers, law firms and creatives. She spends any spare time cooking for her two kids and reading historical fiction. She is slightly obsessed with Penzey’s Spices and Chris Thile.
She is the Xero Ambassador for the Southwest US.