Faces of National Fuel: How Audit Manager Jordin T. Cured Her Public Accounting Burnout
When Jordin T. graduated college with a degree in accounting, she took a full-time job with a traditional accounting firm. That led to her completing her CPA license—a huge achievement and boon to her career. But six years later, she found herself burned out by the demanding hours and the stranglehold her job had on her life. That led her to give up the public accounting lifestyle for National Fuel, where she has found a much more equitable work/life balance as manager of financial audits. Here, she tells us why that was the perfect decision for her—and why auditors’ bad raps are not entirely deserved.
On what, exactly, a manager of financial audits does:
Mostly, my job is really managing the daily activities of our Audit Services department. The main goal is to accomplish our annual audit plan. I work with staff to ensure our audit plan is being completed as effectively and efficiently as possible. I also assist the chief auditor, provide external audit support, help with department administration, and perform staff development. Because National Fuel is a publicly traded company, we have to comply with certain regulations, so I also oversee our quarterly testing requirements.
On setting the record straight:
I hate to use the word stigma, but auditors have such a negative connotation, like we’re all doom and gloom. But really, at this organization, in Audit Services, we really are focused on process improvement and finding efficiencies. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get people to understand that, hey, we’re here to help. We’re really not bad news.
The best part of her job:
I think our business is really interesting. When I first heard about National Fuel, I automatically thought about the utility because I know that’s the face of the company, especially in Buffalo. But we do so much more. We produce oil in California and drill for natural gas in Pennsylvania. I love going out to the field and getting to see our operations firsthand. I’m thankful that Audit Services has given me the opportunity to learn our business.
Why public accounting wasn’t for her anymore:
I had been in public accounting for six years, and at some point, you have to decide either you’re working toward being a partner, or you’re moving on. I realized I was burned out and wanted a lifestyle change.
Not that it was all bad:
Public accounting taught me time management, for sure. It also reinforced my work ethic. I think I benefited from a communications perspective, too. You have to deal with so many different types of personalities and at so many different levels that I feel like my communication skills were really honed in. In that role, you have to build a lot of confidence quickly because you’re not given a ton of guidance. You just have to figure it out, and get it done the right way, and then present it appropriately, too. So, ultimately, I really am thankful for that experience before I came here.
The things that sold her on the National Fuel life:
Public accounting is really demanding, and there wasn’t much of a work/life balance. I wanted to find a stable, reliable company that I could make my home. The more I learned about National Fuel, the more I felt like this was, and still is, what I was looking for.
The employee benefit she loves the most:
I’m a new mom. So, for me, the best benefit has been parental leave. I got to spend the first four months home with my daughter, Molly, which was really great.
On transitioning back to work after the birth of her daughter:
For new moms, National Fuel is wonderful. They have a very supportive network of new moms. There’s quite a few of us in the company, so it was really nice to come back to work and have almost like a support group of people going through the same thing, juggling similar things.
Why she knows she’ll stick around for a while:
I’ve had a lot of really great opportunities here. I love the people. We’re very environmentally conscious. We do a lot to help the community. We make safety our number one priority. It just has a lot of the values that I really believe in. When I come to work every day, I feel like I contribute to the overall success of the company.
Not to mention…
The work/life balance here, it’s lovely. In public accounting, I worked 70- to 80-hour weeks during busy season. I sacrificed a lot of weekends. It ran my life. Here, I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a 9-to-5, but it’s flexible. There’s a lot of young families here, and everyone enjoys the opportunity to spend more time with their family.
Where she sees herself in five years:
I’m hopeful that I’ll still be at National Fuel. One of the great things about this company is that you have the opportunity to work with different segments of the business. So, I don’t know that I will be in this same role, but I’m optimistic that I will be here contributing to the success of the company.