People

Caroline H. Walsh, CPA

Caroline Walsh, Sacramento CPAExpertise.

Caroline has over 3 decades of specialized experience in auditing and consulting for local governmental agencies, nonprofit, and corporate enterprises. Prior to joining MGO, she spent 13 years with the Los Angeles Office of a “Big Four” firm where she was the lead government senior manager.

Caroline is MGO’s Quality Control Partner and chairs the firm’s Professional Standards Group. She is responsible for firm-wide quality control standards, including annual internal quality control inspections and professional standards review of the firm’s reports. She was also MGO’s designated technical expert assigned to the BDO Alliance USA’s Government Industry Group technical helpline.

Caroline served on the AICPA State and Local Government Expert Panel for a three-year term and was involved in updating the industry audit guides and audit risk alerts. In 2009, Caroline chaired the Expert Panel Task Force, which reviewed and commented on the recent GASB Invitation to Comment on Pensions on behalf of the AICPA, and in August 2009 testified before the GASB summarizing the AICPA’s comment letter and responding to GASB Board member questions.

Caroline is a current member of the GASB Comprehensive Implementation Guide Advisory Committee. The Committee reviews the GASB staff’s implementation guidance prior to its submission to the GASB for approval.

Professional Associations and Leadership.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
Member of AICPA State and Local Government Expert Panel (2006-2009)
Current member GASB Advisory Committee for Implementation Guidance
Instructor, MGO internal training programs

Education.

California State University, Northridge
Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics, with honors

Q&A.

Why are you passionate about public accounting?
Financial reporting is a critical component of the economy, so playing a role in providing useful information to investors and decision makers is so important. It’s professionally rewarding to help organizations develop quality financial reporting practices and to be involved at the national level with standard setters and peer groups.

Why do you like working at MGO?
I like working with smart and dedicated people in providing the highest possible quality of service to our clients. I also appreciate the flexible work schedule and the ability to work remotely. I like running with a pack of accounting alpha dogs!

Describe a favorite client or client story.
We all want to make a difference, and when I started over 32 years ago, the emerging governmental accounting and reporting industry presented an opportunity where, as an auditor, I felt my clients appreciated my help rather than looking upon the audit function as a necessary evil.

My first audit was at the County of Los Angeles in 1978, where a national firm performed the first county-wide audit. There were no computers, so we sat for hours adding columns of numbers on 10-keys, the client’s trial balances were sheets of 16-column worksheets taped together and extending over a couple of tables, and general ledgers were in paper form or on microfiche. Even in those days, there were computer-assisted audit techniques and a sample of employees was randomly selected via a computer program to test payroll. I was reviewing the output and noticed my name on the list; it was my aunt who I was named after. Times have certainly changed. It came full circle when in 2007 MGO was awarded the County of Los Angeles audit. The current Assistant Auditor-Controller was an accountant in 1978 and we worked together on the audit for 11 years. You just never know how the relationships you establish in the early years of your career will benefit you in the future.

What qualities do you look for in job applicants?
Dedication and sense of responsibility; enthusiasm; smart and personable; ability to think on your feet. So much of what we do is really interacting with people, so social skills are critical to success in this profession. It’s not about number crunching in a back room.

Who are you outside the office?
I like to think that if someone met me, they would have absolutely no idea what I do for a living. Not that being an accountant is a bad thing; it’s what I choose to do. However, I tend not to be too serious and I highly value my personal time. I enjoy lazy summer evenings with family and friends, my cooking club (really just an excuse to eat and drink with five very good friends), excursions in the Rocky Mountains during summer and fall, watching the waves in Kona, road trips, and seeing the great churches and museums of Europe. Oh, and I want to go to the kingdom of Bhutan because who wouldn’t want to visit a country whose guiding philosophy is Gross National Happiness? However, I don’t think I will like yak milk.