Amber Champion earned a Master of Science in Accounting (2019) from the Kelley School of Business. Amber currently works in Atlanta, GA, as a Senior Technology Risk Consultant in the Business Consulting practice of Ernst & Young.
Why did you choose to major in accounting?
Becoming an accountant was something that I’ve always envisioned for myself since taking an accounting course in my junior year of high school, where I spent countless hours solving multiple iterations of the infamous equation: assets – liabilities = owner’s equity, and researching the various career paths in this profession. I discovered that there were not a lot of women, let alone African Americans, in accounting; furthermore, only 2% of CPAs are African American, and less than 1% are partners at CPA firms. From that moment forward, I was determined to change that dynamic to expand the pipeline of possibilities by way of illuminating the perspectives of minorities while practicing the art of what I love so much, the language of business.
Was there a course/project /group/ interaction, etc at Kelley that has been particularly helpful to you in your career?
The A569 Field Consulting class is equivalent to a real-world work experience I encounter daily. I had the wonderful opportunity of performing a consulting engagement, along with other classmates who were my team members, for one of the largest medical devices manufacturing companies in the world, Cook Medical. We had the opportunity to work directly with the internal audit function, specifically around streamlining their AR/AP process, by diverging from legacy systems and seizing potential opportunities for improvement. We worked directly with and reported to the VP of Accounts Payable and their director of accounting to create new best practices needed to adopt the streamlined processes, reduce costs, and enhance their service levels. We presented a custom workflow system that could be used in-house and performed several analyses comparing the system to reputable outsourcing solutions. The class gave us firsthand project management experience in terms of engagement plans, staffing resources, and tracking how much time we spent on different phases of the engagement. It also cultivated some analytical and critical thinking skills; we were faced with real-world problems and yielded recommendations and solutions to fit the needs of the client. The impact of this class not only left me with some invaluable skills that helped me transition into the workforce successfully but also kept the clients always in a forward-thinking mind frame, as their department affects the entire company and even relationships with essential suppliers.
What was your favorite part of being an accounting student at Kelley?
Defining my perspective on what leadership looks like to me and becoming my true Champion was by far my favorite part of being an accounting student at Kelley. One of my professor’s mantras, ‘Strive for Progress and Not Perfection, Believe that you are a CHAMPION!’ has been irrevocably ingrained in me. It impressed me to not be afraid of being uncomfortable and embrace the challenges, as it will showcase that your best work comes from an uncomfortable start. Since that moment, I’ve driven with leadership at the forefront of my career and committed to the progression of diverse business professionals in Corporate America. Given the emphasis on professional influence, I strive to build a connected and inspired community by maintaining a culture of inclusion, building a strong professional support system, and invigorating individuals around me to be the best version of themselves. Kelley has the network of alumni to prove that true success happens when preparation meets opportunities. I am a walking success story.
Drawing on your career experiences, what advice would you give to future Kelley Accounting students?
Don’t be afraid to share your uniqueness with those around you. The things that make YOU and distinguish YOU from the rest. The world as we know it is changing, and people are evolving every day. Choosing Kelley can be the best decision of your life. In return, your experience will propel you to greater heights and on a path to endless possibilities in collaboration with Kelley’s network to support you on your journey.
What was your favorite accounting class at Kelley?
My favorite class was forensic accounting. I benefited from the insights of my professor, who had an impeccable background in the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States. I incorporated the insights into my leadership behaviors to help develop, grow and build a successful career.
Learn more about Amber on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberchampion2018/