Dianne Guensberg, CPA, began her VSCPA involvement in 2011, dovetailing her organization’s recruiting efforts. During her career, she executed the first IRS audit and even found herself auditing in a cave. Dianne has two dogs, Beau Beau and Bonnie, loves gardening and is an avid reader — a hobby shared with her daughter.
Q: Where did you attend college and why did you become a CPA?
I attended Mary Washington University with the intention of becoming a lawyer. After several classes and “subtle” molding from my dad, a CPA, I decided to go into accounting. My dad taught me to do individual taxes which started my passion for accounting, and it also gave me a great excuse to transfer to George Mason University where my husband was already enrolled.
After two years of working, I took the Exam and it was painful. The first time I thought if I slept with my Gleim book under my pillow, I could pass, but it took a review course to get me there ― it was a humbling experience.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career path?
After college, I was lucky to find an internship at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and spent most of my career there. We had a lot of Big 8 clients and helped with auditing methodology. After GAO, I worked for Grant Thornton before retiring to be more available for my family. I still do contract work for Grant Thornton and a few other clients. I also manage a side gig doing taxes primarily for family and friends.
Q: What do you love most about being a CPA?
I loved working with federal entities and GAO’s audit work. I felt like I was doing good work by improving their controls and operations. I’ve always been motivated by small improvements, which can make a big difference.
Q: What do you feel are the top challenges facing the profession today?
The biggest challenge is inspiring young people to become CPAs and ensuring students acquire vital critical thinking skills. That’s the bread and butter of the accounting role, especially in auditing.
Q: What drove you to become the Foundation chair?
It is crucial we help those who can’t afford an accounting education by providing an opportunity to attend college and succeed as a CPA, as well as support individuals wanting to pursue a Ph.D.
Q: What are your goals for the VSCPA Educational Foundation in the upcoming year?
My main goal is to increase awareness and fundraising capabilities — ensuring members understand the importance of donating. With that, we need the right technology in place, so members can donate quickly and easily.