Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ag Jobs A to Z: Accountant

To kick off the Ag Jobs A to Z series, meet Katie Wieringa, a CPA and senior accountant with Van Bruggen & Vande Vegete

In addition to verifying tax returns and tackling special projects in the firm's Orange City, Iowa office, she enjoys playing with her kids and lending a hand around the farm. She also serves her community as Budget Mentor for Love INC.

Thanks, Katie for taking time to answer a few questions about life as an accountant!

1. Where did you go to school?
I attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa

2. What inspired you to become an accountant?

I enjoyed my high school accounting classes, really loved my college accounting classes, and felt the job opportunities would be more abundant than other fields I considered pursuing.

3. How long have you been an accountant?

I have been working as an accountant for over nine years.

4. What skills are necessary for a career as an accountant?

The best accountants have the ability to pay attention to minute details and then step back and analyze the big picture.  They are able to relate well to the people they work with as well as their clients; and they embrace that each individual has worth, whether they are a successful business person making millions of dollars or a laborer living paycheck to paycheck.  The best accountants are organized, diligent, and have integrity.

5. How does your job fit into the agricultural industry? (Who do you work with? Who do you help? Who helps you?)

On a daily basis, we get to work with individuals in all aspects of agriculture- row crop farms, dairies, cattle feedlots, swine operations, feed mills and various other agri-businesses-both large and small.

We work alongside farmers, bankers, lawyers, and investors.

We prepare hundreds of farmers’ tax returns, but our work goes well beyond the number crunching.  We work with farmers to prepare accrual financial statements so they can see a clearer picture of their operation.  We assist in benchmarking to see how farmers compare to their peers.  We compile breakeven and cash flow analysis to determine if the operation is sustainable and if an expansion is beneficial.  We act as the liaison in client-lender relationships and advocate in loan restructuring, refinancing, alternative financing; in short, we advocate creditworthiness with lenders when needed.  We assist with recordkeeping and its associated software.  We consult in valuation and estate planning so that the family farm can flourish in the next generation.

6. What career/internship opportunities are there at VB&VV?

We are always looking for great accountants with the talent, dedication and professionalism our clients have come to expect!  And it is always a big plus when our accounting graduates come with a passion for and knowledge of agriculture!

7. Is there anything else you would like a student audience to know?
Don’t feel boxed in by your major or the job market right now.  You may have a college degree, but you will keep learning for the rest of your life.  This can be within your major and will most definitely be outside of it as well.  When I graduated with my accounting degree, I wasn’t ready to be “stuck” in an office, so I went to teach English in China.  Circumstances brought me back to the farm I grew up on; I found myself learning to plant, harvest, and care for livestock.  I have been amazed at how these experiences have helped me grow as an individual and prepared me for the many facets of accounting work.  I have been working as a CPA for just shy of a decade, and love how my international and agricultural personal experiences help me relate to my clients and give me better perspective of the bigger picture.

Thank you again to Katie for sharing her time with me. I'm so excited to continue learning Ag Jobs A to Z! Thanks for reading!


  1. When I was a child I always wanted to be an accountant like my auntie.
    Accountant Paisley

  2. I have never wanted to be an accountant. Me and numbers just do not mix well. I would, however, prefer to have someone like Katie Wieringa to do my accounting and taxes with me since I know she has the qualifications to do the job. I wish I did know more about math to do my own accounting, though.

    Tim Norton @ Perfect Accounting Service