Our guest on today’s podcast, Mickaela Maxwell, is a numbers guru who thrives on serving her clients and championing diversity in the workplace. As Director of Private Company Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, commonly known as PwC, Mickaela shares her advice on prepping for tax season before we shift our focus to the how and why behind fostering diversity in leadership.
Mickaela understands that entrepreneurship is born out of a passion for what you do, which doesn’t necessarily involve financial records or tax returns. While it’s ideal to have all of your proverbial ducks in a row before tax time, it’s not always realistic when you’ve had your hands full working on your actual business.
The key to getting through it, offers Mickaela, is regular communication with your accountant. By keeping in contact with her clients throughout the year, Mickaela says she knows what to expect come tax time.
“I think that the communication piece and staying in contact with your clients really helps busy season to not be such a scary time,” she explains.
Another big help is having a team you can count on to lend their expertise. At PwC, there is a payroll department and a cloud finance team that handles bookkeeping, among other supports, which Mickaela can call on anytime she needs to.
She compiled a cheat sheet called, Top 10 Signs You Need a New Accountant, which is a great resource if you’re contemplating whether you’re getting the value you deserve from your accountant.
As knowledgeable as Mickaela is in accounting, she’s equally familiar with the challenge of being a female who is rising to the top of a traditionally male-dominated industry. Laughing that her book collection includes such treasures as A Modern Woman’s Guide to Success in Business, How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis and What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business, Mickaela comments “these books are trash.”
Mickaela is proud to work for a company that not only respects diversity in the workplace, but embraces it. Of participating in PwC’s Women in Leadership program—which is open to employees and clients—Mickaela says she feels as though the company is investing in her and wanting her to succeed.
And succeed she has, supporting her clients and her team towards their own successes. Encouraging diversity in the workplace, and especially in leadership roles, has been shown to give businesses an edge.
Studies like PwC’s own Global Diversity and Inclusion Survey and McKinsey & Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report, along with countless others, point to a direct correlation between diversity and business performance.
“This isn’t just a women’s issue or a racial or ethnic issue,” says Mickaela. “This is a business issue.”
Diverse teams come up with better solutions to complex problems, as they’re less likely to group think and more likely to offer up their own perspectives.
When it comes to diversity in leadership, the “see it, be it” mentality—that suggests seeing someone like you in a leadership position encourages the belief that you could be there one day, too—can help to retain diverse staff and create those diverse teams.
“Diversity in leadership needs to be intentional,” Mickaela says. “The idea that the cream rises to the top no matter what is a really old and disproven theory.”
Having a mentorship system in place can give diverse staff the support needed to get ahead. For Mickaela, having female mentors has given her an opportunity to learn from and build a network of other professionals she can count on.
“It feels so nice that I have this entire network of people that I can tap on the shoulder, to not only help my client but also help me learn and feel a bit more confident about the advice I’m giving,” says Mickaela.
You can find the full episode here and reach out to Mickaela Maxwell at PricewaterhouseCoopers and on LinkedIn.