It was my first job out of college. I was a teller at a small bank in my hometown, close to where I went to college in Tennessee. Our customers were my neighbors, friends, even my dad’s co-workers — I was truly serving my community and my community gave right back to me. The bank managers took the time to teach me what they knew and I learned the struggle and joy of building small businesses from our customers.
I also learned something about myself — I am most happy when I am in service to others.
After working there for a few years, I had an opportunity to move out to California and work as a teller at CitiBank. There, I was able to apply my banking experience on a larger scale. I also found myself more and more drawn to the business side of finance. I wanted to understand how it all worked on a deeper level.
So, I decided to take a job as a credit services coordinator at a Fortune 500 medical technologies company. Once again, I was in a position where I could work in the two areas I loved — people and numbers. I worked with customers daily, building relationships. And I also gained new knowledge about accounts receivable, collections, and month-end processes.
As I was doing this work, my manager approached me about an open role in financial analysis. It was more accounting- and finance-focused — she believed in me and thought I would be a good fit.
I was unsure if I was ready for the new role, but I went for it because I was excited to discover a new area of the business.
I am glad I made the leap. I got to work closely with the accounts receivable team, providing reporting and performing month-end closing duties. I also worked with sales on credit approvals and assisted with order reviews. The work was challenging but also eye-opening. I realized I loved the problem-solving aspect of accounting and thought it could be a long-term path for me.
I also realized that learning on the job was not enough — I was ready to gain experience in a more formal way. I found a 10-month weekend program that would allow me to continue working full-time but also earn enough credits to take the CPA exams. So, I spent every Saturday in class and studied every night. It was incredibly hard work, but in the end, I completed the program and earned my advanced accounting certificate.
The certificate gave me a deeper understanding of accounting practices and helped me thrive in my job. But something was missing: customers. I missed those interactions, and I wanted to find a role where I could work in accounting while also building relationships.
I wanted to get back to that formula that served me so well in my first job — people and numbers.
This opportunity came right to me when I learned about a financial specialist role at Aha! The more I heard about the role and company culture, the more excited I became. I would have the chance to work directly with customers on billing issues, but I would also get to perform a lot of the accounting tasks that I enjoy. And I loved how the company pushes employees to “never stop learning.” How could I not join?
Now I am learning new things every day at Aha! — while simultaneously putting all my hard-earned knowledge to work. For instance, I quickly picked up and took over essential month-end tasks such as accounts receivable and expense coding. I also took over managing our billing ticket systems, which helped streamline billing questions for both our customers and our internal teams.
But it is not all about the numbers — I also get to play a role in creating more community for my teammates.
A major aspect of this is helping with our bi-annual onsites, when our fully remote team gets together in person for a week of meetings, activities, and adventure. I get to be part of organizing team dinners, handing out company “swag,” and greeting teammates when they arrive from the airport. And of course, I help manage the budget of the events as well.
Even though our team is distributed around the world, I feel like I am once again part of a strong community. And once again, there is reciprocity — my teammates are helping me grow and I learn from our customers every day.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.