Michelle Shaffer, M.S.
Lecturer in Accounting, Certified Public Accountant
How did you discover Western?
I moved to the Gunnison Valley in October 2015, and one of the first things I noticed was the beautiful Western Colorado University campus. I was quite surprised and very excited to learn this university in rural Colorado had a business school with a very well respected Accounting program. It was then I began my endeavor to become part of the Western Colorado University community.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
I spent the first five years of my career as a tax accountant working for Big 4 accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and KPMG, and have since held roles in several publicly traded companies overseeing the internal audit functions, which included responsibility for interpreting and implementing government regulations. My experience spans many years and various industries where I was responsible for implementing Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank regulations for publicly traded companies, creating comprehensive, customized and client-driven solutions to meet compliance challenges for companies ranging from small sole proprietorships to international Fortune 100 corporations, including Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, Ally Bank and Saint-Gobain.
I left corporate America in 2012 to start a consulting firm, CARMA, Inc., that still flourishes and provides regulatory guidance and audits to companies in the consumer financial services industry. I am considered a Subject Matter Expert in the field, and have been invited to Washington, D.C. twice in recent years to meet with regulators to discuss the consequences of the Dodd-Frank Act on service providers in the financial services industry.
What most excites you about your field?
Accounting is a universal language spoken all over the world. It allows you the freedom to live and work anywhere you wish or to travel the world working for major corporations, if so desired. The diverse opportunities available to accountants is incredible, and the ability to change directions at any time during one's career because of the broad base of knowledge obtained with an Accounting degree provides job certainty and security throughout one's lifetime.
There is an inherent challenge in being an Accountant that is invigorating as well. Keeping up with the ever-changing regulations and pronouncements will keep you very busy, and never bored.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
The people, the sense of community and, of course, all the outdoor activities we have year-round access to.