In the world of finance and business, accounting plays a pivotal role in ensuring smooth operations, financial stability, and compliance. Recently, we had the privilege of meeting Lili Huang, Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), during a lunch and learn session. CLA, renowned for its expertise in auditing, consulting, tax, and wealth advisory services, has been our trusted auditing firm. Lili’s journey in accounting, her commitment to diversity, and the significance of accounting in various sectors left us enlightened and inspired.
A Path Paved with Passion
Lili opened the lunch and learn by sharing her personal career journey, which began with a high school internship at an accounting firm. This experience ignited her passion for accounting and set her on a path that spans more than 18 years in the industry. Even during her college years at UCSB, Lili continued her internship at the same firm while earning a degree in economics with an emphasis on accounting. This early exposure cemented her dedication to the field and laid the foundation for her subsequent success.
Championing Change and Diversity
As a member of the board of CalCPA, Lili is actively involved in initiatives that aim to change the perception of the accounting profession. Breaking stereotypes and promoting diversity is a primary focus for the organization and Lili herself. By encouraging underrepresented groups to pursue accounting careers, she hopes to create a more inclusive profession and organization.
Navigating the Career Ladder
Lili shed light on the various job levels within CLA, from associates to managers/directors, and ultimately to principals like herself. Her commitment to mentoring and guiding her colleagues fosters an environment of growth and development. Providing employees with opportunities to flourish in their careers, Lili exemplifies true leadership and support in the workplace.
The Nitty-Gritty of Accounting
During the session, Lili delved into the different aspects of accounting, demystifying some of the most fundamental concepts. From understanding the nuances of debit and credit to deciphering the differences between accrual and cash accounting, her presentation was insightful for both accounting novices and veterans.
Power of Auditing
A significant part of Lili’s work revolves around auditing nonprofit organizations and charter schools. She highlighted the critical role audits play in ensuring transparency, accountability, and compliance within these institutions. Through thorough examination and validation of financial records, audits safeguard the interests of stakeholders and contribute to the overall integrity of organizations.
Finally, Lili touched upon the complex world of taxes. She explained how meticulous tax planning and compliance are essential for businesses and individuals alike. Understanding the intricacies of tax regulations can help organizations optimize their financial strategies and minimize tax liabilities.
Our lunch and learn with Lili Huang, Principal of CLA, was both educational and motivating. Her passion for accounting, dedication to promoting diversity, and commitment to mentoring others left a lasting impression. As we reflect on the invaluable insights she shared, we are reminded of the indispensable role accounting plays in shaping the financial landscape of organizations and society as a whole.