Jill Mitchell, Annandale associate professor of accounting, was reappointed to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) for 2016 -2017 as an at-large director.
Mitchell was appointed to the VSCPA Board for the first time last year and, as a certified internal auditor, she is the only non-certified public accountant serving on the board, which meets quarterly. “This is a special honor and I very much appreciate serving on the VSCPA Board,” Mitchell said, “because it allows me to provide input on how the industry can support accounting students at NOVA and other Virginia colleges.”
She said that her involvement in VSCPA began in 2014 when the professional association, with 12,000 members in public accounting, industry, government and education throughout Virginia, reached out to the NOVA accounting faculty, which helped host events in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that each reached over 100 students.
Mitchell started volunteering in other VSCPA activities, including participating in the “Leaders’ Institute,” a program to help develop future leaders in the CPA profession. “Many NOVA students have been nominated to attend and they tell me this event jumpstarted their careers,” she said.
She helped develop the ethics course offered by the VSCPA, serves on a VSCPA committee that puts on symposia for college and high school faculty and is a member of the scholarship committee of the VSCPA Educational Foundation.
Mitchell works with Inspiring Accounting Talent for a Sustainable Society to attract underrepresented minorities to the accounting profession and is also president of the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance.
Though very active in her profession, she developed an accounting career in a circuitous way. Born in New York and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, she took ballet classes from a young age and attended summer programs with the Boston Ballet at Wheaton College in Newton, Massachusetts. She entered the University of Georgia as a dance major.
But, she suffered an injury and could not continue to dance. She switched majors to concentrate on information technology and received an IT consulting job offer in 2001 from Price Waterhouse Cooper (now PwC). At the last moment, the position fell through. She had made a contact at Ernst & Young (now EY) through a career fair and she called them about a job.
She was hired and transitioned from a potential IT career to become an internal auditor. In 2003, she earned an M.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia through the Ernst & Young “Your Master Plan” program. “The lesson I learned from all of this was that you should always have a back-up plan in case your dream falls through,” Mitchell stated, “and that is what I tell my students.”
In addition to her accounting professional activities, Mitchell serves on the Information Technology Committee at NOVA. A former faculty advisor for the NOVA Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, she chairs its Community College Advisory Board.