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Meet Nikki Winston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Winston, CPA.

Nikki, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Where I am: I’m a mother of 2 beautiful kids and founder of The WERKin’ Mommas, a lifestyle management service providing errand, grocery delivery, and household management services to handle all the things moms don’t have the time or desire to do. The best thing you can give a mom is TIME – I want to transform the future of what it means to be a working mother – from being tired, overworked and underappreciated to a mother who has time to live her life. My podcast is also called The WERKin’ Mommas. It’s my audio journal where I share experiences and advice for business owners, millennial professionals, and working moms.

I am a serial “employee-preneur.” I have a “day job” that I enjoy and a passion for preparing people that look like me to become Certified Public Accountants. Black CPAs are part of the non-elite 1% – we make up 0.76% of the total CPA population. Our post-graduate career opportunities in firms have “unexplainably” remained flat for over a decade. Many minority accounting students fear the exam, thinking it’s too hard, but they need to see more black CPAs to educate them on the possibilities and support them through the exam-taking process.

Where I’ve been: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My high school has been the #1 ranked school in Ohio for decades and my classmates and I make certain that fact is known (laughs out loud). I’m also a proud alum of The Ohio State University where I majored in accounting. I lived on OSU’s campus for seven summers before I was a student, thinking I was going to become an Obstetrician. I received a full academic scholarship thanks to OSU’s Young Scholars Program and was determined to make the best of a full-ride through a challenging accounting curriculum. I also met my future husband there. We celebrate 20 years this year.

Where I’m going: I want The WERKin’ Mommas to support moms across the globe, so I’m building a community where moms can connect. Regardless of location, ethnicity or tax bracket, moms share the same struggles and it’s comforting to engage with people who understand that daily struggle.

I’ve reached out to HBCU’s across the country to learn about the resources available for accounting students to pursue CPA certification. Exposure is a critical factor for students in understanding the numerous career options and build confidence to sit for what is known as the most difficult professional exam.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been uncomfortable, and I’m in a space now where discomfort has become the norm. I realize what I’m doing in creating something new and following my blueprint, so there’s a lot to learn. My biggest struggle was time allocation between all that I had going on personally and professionally. I had to build things, stop then start over many times, do research, and figure things out along the way. Most times, it took longer than I expected, but outsourcing tasks when possible and incorporating automation in my processes made it manageable.

Tell us about your business. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
The WERKin’ Mommas is unique because we cater to moms. There are other on-demand & grocery delivery services, and the industry has grown tremendously, but Moms are constantly looking for ways to make our lives easier so we can relax. If we need groceries today, we’ll need them next week and 99% of the time we don’t feel like going to get them ourselves.

The Winston CPA Exam Readiness Program is the first and only comprehensive CPA exam preparation course created by a black woman. I’m extremely proud of that. All of this was nowhere in my plan. Once I passed all exams and published a blog about it, students started asking me for study tips and for tutoring, then I realized there was a need there was for something beyond what was out there. Something wasn’t working if pass rates are less than 50% on average. It took me 13 tries and 1,373 days to pass and to say it wasn’t very easy is an understatement. Not so much the content but the journey. The difficulty was finding the time, feeling bad for missing time with my kids, figuring out in which order to take my exams, and talking myself out of giving up when I failed exams. The technical preparation is standard across most CPA review courses. The Winston CPA Exam Readiness Program addresses both the technical and mental aspects of the exam. Mental because those same students who are scared to take the CPA exam are scared based on what they’ve heard, not because they’ve actually sat for an exam. If you’ve already told yourself, it’s too hard or you’re not going to pass, then you won’t. When students enroll in my CPA program, I have a conversation with each of them about the mental fortitude that the CPA exam requires. My students appreciate me being available to talk them through difficult concepts and sharing my old notes with them. The relatability in taking the computerized exam like CPA candidates takes today, mastering the content along my journey and sharing those learnings with them, and most importantly, my passion for this work is what sets me apart from others.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The WERKin’ Mommas is going to grow because of the value we bring to busy moms. The presidential election will be interesting in many ways, but specifically around the classification of independent contractors. Many moms request grocery delivery services, so grocery stores may look to more third party delivery services to maintain market share. As the freelance economy continues to grow, I imagine more IRS rules surrounding tax impacts of gig economy income and related activities.

These days you can’t mention accounting without automation. It’s been said that automation is a threat to the accounting industry but it’s a welcomed addition. It will alleviate the need for recurring activities so accountants can focus on analytics and providing information relevant to decision making. Accountants will always be in high demand and when it comes to things like layoffs, we’re usually the ones turning off the lights.

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