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Session Sneak Peek: Raychel Clark, CPA

June 19, 2024

Raychel Clark, CPA, is an accounting manager with W&W|AFCO Steel, which fabricates and erects steel structures internationally. She began her accounting career at a local nonprofit, later moving on to other jobs in the construction industry and public accounting as an auditor.

She earned a Master of Science in Accounting from Oklahoma City University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Oklahoma. Raychel is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA).

At the OSCPA, she has been involved in several projects: the Strategic Planning Pipeline Task Force; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as a committee chair; and the Accounting Careers, Financial Literacy, and Young Accounting Professionals committees as a committee member. In 2018, she was recognized with a Trailblazer award from the OSCPA. Her favorite volunteering activity is cleaning up parks with other CPAs at the OSCPA's annual CPA Day of Service.

Q&A with Raychel Clark, CPA

OSCPA: Why should members attend your session?
Clark: I hope members attend my session because it addresses something professionals don’t usually see in a work-life conversation: how to address proper balance for your employees. Too often we managers focus on our workload and balance, ignoring how our actions affect the people who report to us. Being a leader means being aware of how your words and actions impact the words and actions of those around you. I think it’s good to be reminded of that from time to time.

OSCPA: How did you become passionate about obtaining a work/life balance? 
Clark: I was diagnosed with brain cancer in December of 2022. Doctors found a tumor the size of an egg in my left frontal lobe. Despite this, I was still working full-time as a CPA while being a wife and mother of two. I knew something wasn’t right, but I thought I just needed to have discipline and work harder. So, I pushed myself through health situations where I should have just stayed home for the day. I was trying to push work over life, ignoring life’s problems until they were staring back at me from an MRI result in a doctor’s office. Once that diagnosis hit, my control over my work-life balance got taken out of my hands in some ways; neuro-oncologists were determining treatment plans and I had to get with their program ASAP. Luckily, I had a warning of my impending absence and the best employer (thank you, W&W-AFCO Steel) and coworkers I could have asked for. My boss, John Rogers, understood the need for life to take precedence over work at this time and pushed for me to stop work for the day on days when I was trying to work through a headache. If he had not put his foot down about me taking care of myself as a worker, I would have tried to continue working when I shouldn’t have. My experience and gratitude towards him led to me caring and being passionate about obtaining a more reasonable work-life balance, not just for myself but for the people around me.

OSCPA: What is your favorite way to keep your work/life balance? 
Clark: My favorite way to keep my work-life balance is in my Outlook calendar. For example, I make calendar events for myself each day at 11:45-12:45 showing that I am “out of office.” For me, this makes my Teams account status change to “out of office” as well. So, anyone trying to invite me to a meeting or Teams chat with me during my lunch break sees that I am out of the office at that time. The event reminder pops up to tell me to leave my desk and go eat, in case I’m involved in a project and didn’t see the time. By protecting my lunchtime, I get the break I need during the day to focus properly in the afternoon, instead of being hangry and eating over my keyboard at 2:00 while I work like I used to do.

OSCPA: Are there any misconceptions about keeping a work/life balance that you would like to address? 
Clark: Sure! I think a lot of us CPAs work so hard that we think we can’t possibly take crazy things like lunch outside of the office. We’re proud of the workload we take on. But I’ve heard other excellent professionals say that if you’re working 24/7, it’s time to raise your rates. Put another way, value your time so much that other people value your time as well. Build even just one hour of free time for an off-desk lunch once a week and watch what happens.

OSCPA: What is unique about your session that attendees won’t find anywhere else? 
Clark: I don’t know what you’ll find anywhere else, but I do know that in this session you’ll find real work-life balance stories from other managers. We’re going to get tips, tricks, and commiseration from others in this great profession. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to talking with you!

Attend Raychel's session at the Annual Members Meeting

Work Life Balance: Let Me Show You How
June 25 | Thackerville, OK

  • Recommended for 2 hour of Personal Development  CPE - Imagine the phrase “work life balance” as the title of a book that is really about employee retention. The accounting field is experiencing a strong need for skilled employees, so employee retention is critical. You’ve got to get and keep your team. Getting is not the question; keeping is. How do you keep your employees from leaving due to stress, burnout, or any other name for this problem? Join Fellow OSCPA member, Raychel Clark, CPA as she covers how to balance work with life and everything else in between, from a manager’s perspective. This workshop is not just about successfully managing your work-life balance, but also about being a positive force in managing the work-life balance of your employees. Maybe you feel like you don't want your team to be slacking off all the time, but you also don't want to be demanding so much that you burn your team out. What can you do? Let's talk about it. There will be a broad discussion of trends in the accounting field, but also extra time dedicated to specific tips and tricks for how to keep yourself and your employees in balance.

  • Learning Objectives: 
    • Identify your own personal ideas of acceptable work life balance and how those are being communicated to employees.
    • Examine how employees’ ideas of work life balance might differ, given different circumstances.
    • Build a specific plan that includes everyone.