Recently I attended an AFWA Des Moines meeting and met some wonderful ladies.  They had never attended an AFWA Meeting before.  It was a great pleasure to meet them and talk about AFWA.  One thing I left out was how big a part of my life this organization is. 

I would like to share my story briefly.  I became a member early in my accounting career.  I also chose to be a part of the chapter board.  It was an exciting time for me.  All through the years as my career grew so did my AFWA career.  I was Chapter President off and on.  Then I became a member of the AFWA National Team and then on the AFWA National Board.   AFWA is the support and encouragement that I needed to step out of my shell, grow personally and professionally.  I completed my four year degree, my CPA and then my MBA.   The network I developed allowed me to see other successful women and know that I could do it.  I also have great satisfaction working with others who are just getting started.   Mentoring absolutely works both ways.

The benefits of the Des Moines AFWA Chapter are:  Monthly meetings,  whether you are a CPA in need of continuing education or not it is an excellent networking and learning opportunity.   There are leadership opportunities.  I earned my MBA but AFWA gave me leadership opportunities as well.  Volunteer opportunities, if leadership is not your path there are short term volunteer opportunities.  If you are concerned about commitment please consider being an active participative member of AFWA and enjoy the benefits.

There is also the AFWA National Organization.  There are about 70 chapters around the country,  regional and national conferences. The conferences are very energizing, continuing education, fun, and always at a fantastic place to visit.  The networking there is awesome.  Your National membership dues provide us the opportunity to have official continuing education at the chapter level, they provide the structure and support that membership requires, and there are multiple free webinars.   Many times I have heard about members relocating.  There is a great chance that you will find another AFWA chapter in that new location.  There is a National Board and Committees that make that possible.  AFWA National headquarters Staff are there to provide the advancement of our organization, the backbone of our organization, and secure sponsors that make that all happen.   Another part of the National AFWA is the Education Foundation.  Their missions is The Foundation promotes and advances education, career development and leadership in finance and accounting. Our vision is to guide women along the path to achieve success in finance and accounting. 

My personal invitation and call to action today is please go to the Des Moines AFWA website and the AFWA National Website and research if membership is right for you and Please join us as a member. Please contact me or a member of the Des Moines Chapter if you have questions. 

If you are already an AFWA member please consider becoming part of the action.  The chapter board has made it fun and small commitment!  The reason we encourage membership involvement is to get new ideas and to have new members to fill the pipeline across the board so everyone has the opportunity to make a difference.  And no one has to feel as if they are over committed. 

The mission of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance is to enable women in all accounting and finance fields to achieve their full potential and to contribute to their profession.

AFWA members are empowered professionals who succeed with passion and integrity.

Legacy of Expertise

Founded in 1938 to increase the opportunities for women in all fields of accounting and finance, members of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and their companies benefit from resources that accelerate their professional growth. The industry has evolved enormously for women in the past 75 years, with our organization smartly and passionately evolving with it, ahead of the curve, so that all women in accounting and finance can excel.

A plan for your future

AFWA promotes the professional growth of women in all facets of accounting and finance. Members increase their career potential by connecting with colleagues, receiving education and mentorship to advance their careers, and developing leadership skills. For more than 75 years, members have tapped into a network of successful, motivated, and influential professionals who understand the unique position of being a woman in the industry and who, together, contribute to the future development of their profession.


Gina Slack CPA, CGMA, MBA

Publication/Outlet: AFWA
November 2017

5 Strategies for Creating a Winning Staffing Management Game Plan

“The responsibility for the success of the team starts with the coach, who develops the plan that is then executed by the players — who are extremely well-prepared.”

In a 1993 interview with the Harvard Business Review (HBR), former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh was asked how he achieved “quickness and responsiveness” in his teams. The quote above was just part of his response. But it is a significant statement. As the HBR article notes, Walsh’s focus on developing “long-range strategic and personnel plans” for the 49ers from the moment he joined the organization in 1979 helped him create a powerhouse team that won three Super Bowl titles during his tenure.

Building an all-star finance and accounting team for your business also requires a solid game plan. With a well-thought-out staffing management strategy, you can complement the abilities of your current MVPs, and give them the support they need to deliver their best performance. You can also identify and address skills gaps that could undermine your finance function’s ability to meet critical deadlines, keep clients satisfied and generate new business.

When developing his personnel strategy, Walsh, according to HBR, “focused on what other coaches had considered the minutiae of the game: minute-by-minute choreographing of practices, breaking down individual and group tactics into parts, and defining responsibilities and setting objectives for both players and coaches.” You may not need to get this detailed when creating a game plan for your accounting and finance organization (although it can’t hurt!). But do consider applying the following five strategies as part of your process:

Strategy #1. Conduct a talent audit

Step back and assess your current team members to determine their strengths. Don’t just consider technical skills. Think about your employees’ interpersonal abilities and leadership potential, too. Public speaking skills, business acumen and effectiveness in collaborating with people inside and outside of your department are all qualities that deepen your finance function’s bench strength. A thorough assessment of each player’s talents can also help to inform your succession planning efforts for your organization.

Strategy #2. Identify critical gaps in your roster

Once you fully gauge your existing staff’s abilities, think about what roles and skills you’d need to recruit to create a high-performing and well-balanced “dream team” for your finance function. To fill critical gaps, would you need to hire more full-time staff? Could you train and develop promising employees? Or would it be better to engage specialists and experienced consultants? Depending on the needs of your business, you may find you need to employ all the above staffing strategies. (See Strategy #4.)

Strategy #3. Determine how long you will need certain skills

Your staffing management strategy should be designed to be flexible. It must stretch and contract with ease and speed as workload demands fluctuate. That’s why it’s important to differentiate between project-based and ongoing needs when creating your game plan. For example, if your firm pursues a merger or acquisition, or an IPO, you might need to hire specialized consultants to help guide the business successfully through these big change events. On the other hand, entering a new market or taking on a major new account might require you to expand your roster of full-time accounting and finance employees.

Strategy #4. Know how to compete for top talent

When you extend job offers to in-demand candidates, start with salaries that are at or above market rates — and be prepared to negotiate if needed. (You can use our Salary Calculator to quickly determine compensation ranges in your market for accounting and finance roles you’re trying to fill.) Your game plan for recruiting top players should also include publicizing the compelling perks your company offers, such as a work-life balance program.

Strategy #5. Keep top performers from jumping ship

Savvy managers know they need to put as much effort into retaining top players as they do to recruit them. So, your staffing management strategy should include tactics for keeping MVPs motivated to stay with your organization for the long term. Clearly mapping milestones for career achievement and offering professional development opportunities are just some ways to keep your employees engaged and satisfied on the job.

Creating a winning staffing management game plan for your accounting and finance team requires a lot of careful thought. Even then, there’s no guarantee that every staffing decision you make will be the right one. You’ll also need to adjust your strategy over time, as your organization changes and faces new challenges. But having a plan is better than no plan at all.

As Coach Walsh told HBR in 1993, “You need to have a plan even for the worst scenario. It doesn’t mean that it will always work; it doesn’t mean that you will always be successful. But you will always be prepared and at your best.”

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and career advice, can be found at