For more than forty years, Diane Sturek, senior lecturer in accounting at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, has been serving in the field of accounting and educating the next generation of accountants. Now, she’s taking a lead role in the growth and advocacy of the profession when she assumes the role of board chair for the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) in July 2022.
“I’ve been honored to serve on the board since 2017 and have been inspired by the leadership of past board chairs, several of whom are graduates of Indiana University,” said Sturek. “When I attended my first board meeting years ago, the former board room had photos of all the past board chairs, and I counted five women chairs since the early 1900s. I’ll be the seventh, and it’ll be the first time a woman is both the chair and chair-elect.”
Sturek is among a handful of board chairs who come from academia. She says it’s an important time to have the education perspective in the accountancy field, as the CPA exam is evolving to better prepare students for the profession. This mission has been a passion of Sturek’s for many years, and she was instrumental in the creation of the INCPAS Educators Learning Network to facilitate educator communication and connection throughout the year.
“In academia, you don’t always have the same connections with the profession, and it’s really been a blessing for me to have this link,” said Sturek. “We’re training people to become accountants, so it’s really important for me to stay connected with that mission.”
We’re training people to become accountants, so it’s really important for me to stay connected with that mission.”
Accountancy has been a part of Sturek’s entire life. Her father is a retired auditor and chief financial officer and her sister, two brothers-in-law, an uncle and two nieces are all CPAs. She recognizes, however, that many students have no familiarity with the profession, and that’s an opportunity for INCPAS to provide education and outreach.
“Many people, especially first-generation college students, don’t know what accountants do. Some think of accountants as very serious and number-oriented personalities, but it’s truly a helping profession – people need this professional advice,” Sturek said. “The Society created a scholar’s program to introduce Indiana high school students from underserved populations to the profession to see if it’s right for them.”
Many people, especially first-generation college students, don’t know what accountants do. Some think of accountants as very serious and number-oriented personalities, but it’s truly a helping profession.”
Interestingly, when she began her academic career at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, Sturek initially considered majoring in public administration and Swedish. Ultimately, she was drawn to the field of accounting for its familiarity, problem-solving and service nature.
“Accounting is so logical, and it’s beautiful in its logic. You must be very analytical, and you must know how to solve problems, which I love to do,” Sturek said.
After working as an auditor for a multinational accounting firm, an internal auditor for a bank and a number of staff accounting positions in government, banking and insurance, Sturek moved into teaching. She began in Missouri before moving to Indiana and joining the Kelley School of Business. At Kelley, Sturek teaches students pursuing an undergraduate accounting degree or master’s of science in accounting (MSA).
“I’ve been teaching for 30 years now, and it’s inspiring to teach young students who don’t know what they want to do yet,” said Sturek, who surveys her undergraduate students’ career interests. “It’s a good balance to also teach MSA students because when they’re preparing for the CPA exam, these students have a purpose, and they study hard. One of our students took the audit section of the CPA and got a 99 – his ended up being a top score in the world.”
Sturek’s new role as INCPAS board chair includes appointment to the Leadership Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Over the next year, she will spend time traveling with INCPAS CEO Courtney Kincaid to speak with CPAs throughout the state of Indiana and again emcee the society’s annual gala. Sturek looks forward to the opportunities, education and—mostly—the relationships she has the opportunity to build in this role.
“The best thing about the 13 years I’ve been involved in the Society is the time I’ve spent with professionals in this field,” Sturek said. “It’s a profession that I love, and I feel honored to be able to serve as an ambassador.”
The Kelley School of Business at IUPUI has long-standing connections to the Indiana CPA Society, including:
- In 2020, Kelley Professor of Accounting John Hassell was honored with the Board Chair Award from past-chair and Kelley alum Tom Wadelton (MBA’93).
- Daisy Pham (BS’13) was awarded the Community Service Award in 2021.
- Colby Chamberlin (MSA’14) was awarded the Emerging Leader Award in 2018 and will join the board of directors in July 2022.
- Kelley Senior Lecturer in Accounting Martin Birr is a long-time CPE instructor for the Society.