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Ms. Susan Hardwick is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Vectren Corp. A graduate of Indiana University School of Business with a bachelor's degree in accounting, she is a member of the Romain College's Accounting Circle advisory board, an advisory group for the Accounting & Professional Services Program made up of high-level accounting professionals from public accounting firms and from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Hardwick headshotWhat is your connection to USI, and what makes USI and the Romain College of Business special to you?
I serve on the USI Accounting Circle and have been involved with the accounting program at USI through recruiting and other avenues for several years. I have had the pleasure of watching the program grow and become one of the strongest programs in the state.

From your prospective, what is unique about the Romain College of Business?
Its students. The student body is quite diverse, resulting in a community that is collaborative and open. USI is a “big” school but has still maintained its southern Indiana hospitality.

What attributes make a person successful in the field of accounting?
Strong analytical skills. Period. A good accountant “knows” the answer before the analysis begins.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were in college?
It would have been nice to know a bit about how culture and “politics” can impact/influence your career. Office dynamics is real and you need skills to thrive in that environment.

What advice would you give a recent college graduate?
Work hard. Be flexible. Build your resume by gaining real experience with a company; don’t “move” to the next opportunity too soon.

What are some challenges you see the accounting field facing in the short-term and in the long-term?
Attracting talented people to the field of study. Accounting is not glamorous, but a value-added skill that serves many professions and roles. CEOs need good financial skills; that is not reserved just for CFOs.

What is an average work day like for you?
Typically a 10 hour day, more during particularly busy periods. At the level I am now, I don’t spend much time doing accounting. I am in LOTS of meetings, I talk with my staff regularly on issues, provide direction, discuss business strategy, etc. The work day always end with an hour or so of reading to catch up on the news of the day.

What is your favorite task or project at work? What is your least favorite?
Favorite: Interacting with my staff.
Least favorite: nonvalue-added meetings.

What are you passionate about?
The development of people, whether it be in their career or life in general.

They say that everyone has a book in them, what would yours be?
The Art of Navigating Office Dynamics.

If you could spend a day with any professional athlete, who would you choose?
Oddly, Tiger Woods. I’m fascinated by his journey.

Published August 14, 2018