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Jennifer Ward’s To Do List:
1) Turn in my business partner and his lying, cheating, law-breaking client to the SEC for insider trading.
2) Cooperate with the FBI. Do not kiss – scratch that. Do not yell at Special Agent Nicholas Kelly, the FBI agent leading said investigation.
3) Discover a dead body…
Jennifer Ward, MBA, CPA, and business consultant, likes a nice, orderly lifestyle. Schedules and To Do Lists are what gets her through the day. So when the by-the-numbers fashionista finds her business partner was breaking the law, she turned him in to the SEC. Which brought the FBI to her door, and her ordered world to an end.
But that was three weeks ago. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?
Until Jen discovers her business partner dead in his hotel room. With Nic the handsome FBI agent dogging her every step, Jen must use her skills to discover the truth. Who killed Henry? And will she be next?
Stay-at-home moms & CPAs
So, this week, I was asked about how I researched for Number’s Up. I mean, I’m a stay-at-home mom, right? This question made me pause. Before now, no one had asked me how I researched being a horse trainer. Just a CPA. I couldn’t help feeling like the person who asked thought one of two things; either a writer couldn’t be a CPA… or a stay-at-home mom couldn’t. Maybe they just thought that before I was a stay-at-home mom, I was a horse trainer (I was not, and my horse trainers would be falling on the floor laughing at the thought). Maybe I’m being too sensitive.
Or… Maybe people really think I didn’t have a life before being a mother.
It made me realize that no one asks me what I did before being a mother, even though I had gotten that question when I was working. Oh, you’re in sales? Have you always been? No? That so interesting. Now, I’m just a stay-at-home mother. My past has been erased.
I kind of liked my past, but okay. The kids are really cute, so sure.
But, to answer the question, I cheated. By having many people in my life who were in the field. For many years I worked closely with accountants, CFO’s, controllers, and various other types of CPAs who did specific and nuanced business functions. I have enough on hands experience that I could probably do cost accounting. I like data. I’m a scientist by training. Accountants like numbers. Frankly, they understand my endless need to calculate everything out in greater detail than anyone ever needed. We get each other.
Do I know everything? God no.
One, CPA is a title, not a job. You become a CPA by doing extended schooling and passing a very difficult test (sometimes multiple, I believe). It really means very little other than there are good odds that either they are smart, or really good at studying. Probably times both. CPAs then, like Jen, would need to work for two years under the supervision of a CPA.
I have known CPAs that don’t even work in the financial industry. I’ve known a few that became CEOs over CFOs, or both. CPAs are, almost as a group, made up of exceptions. Accounting is more diverse and nuanced than most people know or care. I don’t know that I’ve met many accountants at the CPA level that even do the same job. It’s always slightly different. But that could just be the level I worked with or knew. So, is Jen’s job accurate? It is to Jen. Is there someone out there that might have a job similar? Sure. I pulled from several jobs concepts to make Jen’s world, but it does not mean that every CPA is the same or that there are a ton of Jen’s out there. I would think that just the logistics alone, would make Jen’s job relatively unlikely. But, hey, she’s my creation and I get to make the job I wanted her to have in an industry that can be very flexible. Sorry, not sorry.
Second, to really know something, you must live it. Second hand is only so good. But I did try to make it as accurate as I could. I pulled from my experiences working in similar fields, from my friends who worked in the field and from took a little license to what I needed her job to be in the book.
So, how did I research Jen? The same way I researched Lark. I was near enough to the world that I could embrace her. And I bothered my friends. A lot. Luckily, they love me.
When I’m not writing.
About the Author
Annabelle Hunter is a stay-at-home mom and an avid fan of classic mystery shows and dressage. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and too many animals.
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