An interview with Jennifer Warawa - Executive Vice President, Partners, Accountants & Alliances at Sage
We're delighted that Jennifer Warawa is presenting this year's opening keynote at the Bookkeepers Summit. Jennifer is the most popular Bookkeepers Summit speaker ever so we jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions to find out a little bit more about the influential businesswoman and what makes her tick.
How did you get into this business?
I have been at Sage for almost 11 years and prior to working at Sage, I had my own accounting, bookkeeping and consulting firm in Kelowna, BC, Canada for 12 years. While growing up watching my parents run their own businesses, I developed an interest in business and a spirit of entrepreneurship which eventually drew me to the accounting and bookkeeping profession. I love the fact accountants and bookkeepers enable and empower businesses to be successful and they have the ability to use financial data to tell the story of a business. Today, I feel extremely privileged to work on the front lines with firms as we navigate an evolving landscape together.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
I love what I do with Sage working with our partners, so it’s pretty easy to get out of bed in the morning – having a career you love makes a big difference. In addition to my career (and as part of my career), I am extremely motivated by making a difference and I believe everyone has many opportunities every single day to make a difference.
Your family is obviously really important to you, how do you find a good work/life balance?
My husband and I both really value family and giving back, and with that, we have been foster parenting for the last four years (and currently have a 14-year-old foster son). Foster children add a great deal of perspective and help keep the importance of work/life balance top of mind. However, I can’t say I’ve mastered work/life balance, but I’ve been getting better at work/life integration and making time for the important things.
Where's your happy place?
I spend a lot of time travelling so being at home is a very happy place for me. In addition, I love spending time outdoors; at the lake, the beach, or in our own backyard. Fresh air and family make for a great retreat from a hectic schedule at work.
What's on the horizon for you and Sage?
Sage is focused on helping partners grow their businesses by embracing – and adopting - new technology. We are supporting our partner community to make the transition to the cloud as easy as possible for our customers. We are developing our cloud offerings to give customers the most complete and easy-to-use set of business management solutions across verticals.
2019 is a pivotal year for bookkeepers—modernizing and embracing tech is no longer optional. As we move forward, more administrative tasks can and will be handled by automation. And bookkeepers will increase their focus on higher value services, which may include consulting and advisory. This year, we will continue to work to guide the profession through their evolution from number crunching to more strategic counsel. I look forward to working closely with our Sage partner ecosystem to guide firms and empower accountants and bookkeepers around the globe.
From your global perspective, are bookkeepers the same across the world?
While regulations vary across different countries, the bulk of the work bookkeepers do and their role in customers’ lives remains the same: they are their finance gurus and often the closest financial advisor to a business on a day-to-day basis. There are certainly nuances around the globe, but for the most part, bookkeepers are more the same than they are different, regardless of which country they live in.
As an influential voice, what impact do you hope to have in 2019?
I believe that the profession as a whole is aware of emerging technology but has less of a grasp on how it applies to them or their clients. In 2019, I hope I am able to help take technology concepts that seem ‘out of reach’ to many (like AI) and help them understand the practical applications and related opportunities it brings rather than uncertainty.
What are you looking forward to at this year's Bookkeepers Summit 2018?
The bookkeeping profession is evolving so quickly as digital natives begin to dominate the space. I am excited to gain insight into the latest ways bookkeepers are thinking about this transformation and the strategies they are planning in response. With that, the conversations I have at events like this are always a highlight for me.
Why should members be looking forward to your opening keynote?
To remain competitive in the changing landscape of bookkeeping, it is essential to stay on top of your clients’ wants and needs. My keynote will focus on how to prepare for and how to best serve customers given the changing business landscape and workforce. The stakes are high, and adapting to this new era is key to staying competitive. In this talk, I will offer actionable insight as to how bookkeepers can navigate the digital business world that is upon us and realize the immense opportunity it brings.
Join us at the Bookkeepers Summit on Monday 26 November for Jennifer's opening keynote
UNDERSTANDING HOW THE BUSINESS OF TOMORROW IMPACTS BOOKKEEPERS TODAY
In this keynote, Jennifer Warawa, Sage’s EVP of Partners, Accountants and Alliances will share how the latest business trends and technology are impacting your clients, and what it means for the bookkeeping profession. Tomorrow’s businesses will be increasingly more digital, operations more connected, the buying cycle continuous and workers will be more tech-savvy than ever before. Millennials and digital natives aren’t just entering into the workforce, they are the workforce, representing the largest workforce generation. This, coupled with the interconnectivity of business operations, have significant implications for your client’s buying decisions, preferences and expectations. Salesforce says more than half of buyers are likely to switch brands if they don’t anticipate their needs, and more than half of buyers said they have higher expectations for customer service now than a year ago.
With all this in mind, Jennifer will share her insights from working with bookkeepers and accountants in practice around the globe, so you continue to remain indispensable to your clients and add value while navigating the upcoming changes that Making Tax Digital brings.
Book your Bookkeepers Summit tickets here.