Audit Partner, Susan Valdez, chose to pursue accounting after her first accounting class because she thought "accounting made sense." As a military spouse, she started back to college at the University of Maryland, European Division. During her Accounting 101 class she realized she wanted to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA.) By the time she took Intermediate Accounting, she had her goal set to become a partner of a firm. She finished her studies at the University of New Mexico and began her career with a local firm where she worked in the Small Business Services and Tax Department. Susan wanted to broaden her experiences, so she left public accounting for four years to work at a credit union. When she left the credit union, she was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO.) She decided to return to public accounting at the firm where she previously worked. They had been bought by a firm in Waco, Texas who wanted to focus on developing an audit department in Albuquerque. Susan perfected her skills as an auditor there. Due to personal reasons and life changes, Susan, and her husband Ray, decided to begin seeking new opportunities outside of New Mexico. During her search, Susan began talking with a founding ADKF partner, Tom Akin. After six months of conversation, and an exciting job offer, Susan and Ray moved to Texas to take a position as Audit Manager in December of 2006. Three short years later, Susan was promoted to Audit Partner in January of 2010. She is the first and only female partner of ADKF.
Not only is Susan an accomplished auditor, but an outstanding leader and teacher to her staff. Her mentorship can be found with several ADKF employees who started as staff and have developed into managers. Susan is proud she was able to be a resource to them and help them learn and grow. Now, they provide that mentorship role to new audit hires. She never viewed herself as a role model until a staff left a surprise appreciation gift, she was touched and realized what she had achieved. Susan was also key in developing committees to involve staff in decisions that are typically relegated to human resources - such as volunteer events and employee engagement. Her current challenge is leading the innovative marketing team to expand ADKF's presence in the community. Several projects include the monthly newsletter and regular posts on ADKF's social media. There are a few projects still underway that she cannot wait to see come to fruition.
ADKF provided Susan the opportunity to reach her goal and dream to be a successful CPA and Partner. Now she helps nurture the growth and success of the staff. ADKF emphasizes work life balance which allows staff to cultivate successful careers and be actively involved with their family. Susan is an exemplary example, as she provides guidance and growth to the ADKF family.
- Name: Susan Valdez, CPA
- Time at ADKF: 13 Years
- Job Title: Audit Partner
What are three words to describe ADKF?
Service, growing, and family
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
Surgeon, because I like to see how things work.
If you could have one food that was zero calories, what would it be?
Freddy's Frozen Custard
Where is your dream vacation?
Greece, and be on the top of the mountain to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea.