Imposter Syndrome & Emotionally Responsible Accounting with Ingrid Edstrom (Part 2)

CPA Podcasts

Ingrid Edstrom is a remarkable human, who has taken a non-traditional route to serve a part of the CPA market that is often left untouched. Phil and Ingrid's conversation ranges from why it's important to know your clients well, to how you can more easily step into your unique niche without fear of inadequacy paralyzing you.


Narrator: 0:00
This is the second part of our interview with Ingrid Edstrom on impostor syndrome and emotionally responsible accounting. If you haven't listened to the first part of this episode check your podcast feed.

Hello, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of CPA Review and More. We are pleased to bring you the #1 podcast for CPAs and CPA candidates. If you'd like to learn more about how Yaeger CPA Review can help you, find us on our website at Now, here's your host, Phil Yaeger.

Phil: 0:38
By the way, I'm curious: What is your educational background?

Ingrid: 0:41
I'm a biology major.

Phil: 0:41
Oh! My wife was also. What was your first job?

Ingrid: 0:50
My very first job—I worked at a retail store when I was 15. I decided to jump right in when I was young and get my first job. So I worked in a great little retail store selling Heights games and juggling equipment.

Phil: 1:04
I can see where that's related to biology. Did you have biology and zoology, or just biology?

Ingrid: 1:09
Biology, but with a focus on vertebrate zoology and animal behavior. So some areas where I worked with in that—I interned at the Minnesota Zoo while I was in college. I also interned at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Grants Pass, Oregon. That's how I found Oregon, which is where I live now. And later, after I moved to Oregon worked at that wildlife rehab center. And I also worked for a local animal shelter before I realized that, you know, there was a lot of stress in working in non-profit—[laughs]—that I did not prefer and...

Phil: 1:45
They never have money.

Ingrid: 1:46
Well...never have money....the bigger part though, since then, I've actually done accounting advisory for several nonprofits and decided that I didn't want to work with nonprofits as a freelance either just because almost invariably nonprofit organizations are run by very well-meaning groups of people who have their hearts in the right place, but cannot agree to save their lives and have no idea what they're doing and having my fate decided by committee was a very stressful position to be in. So I decided that I needed to get out of the nonprofit world.

And yeah, I have always had a bit of a knack for debits and credits, and, like I said, nerdy passion in that area. And I decided to become a QuickBooks Pro advisor and I got certified in QuickBooks Desktop at that time. QuickBooks Online didn't even have a certification yet, but as soon as it did I dove into QuickBooks Online as well and started gobbling up the technology. And yeah, just sort of dove in.

Phil: 2:54
No, I think that's great. You know how you mad your biology major, because my wife ended up—her first job was at Merck Pharmaceutical and Research, but you see back then—I don't you think we're a hundred years old—but back then all you knew was about a bachelor's degree. She had a bachelor's degree in biology and she got into research. Now, of course today, you need a PhD, but she loved to do operations on laboratory rats and mice.

And they were actually working on they're working on birth control drugs. And you know, she would tell me she had—she showed me her little surgical kit. She'd take out this and take out that—I can't stand the sight of blood. I would have fainted, you know, so that wasn't meant for me. But you know, she's actually—she was after we had a first only child—she started working with me in the CPA review school. She's not an accountant. She sometimes doesn't even know what a debit and credit is but she seems to like detail. She loves detail work.

And I said to her, “maybe you should have been the CPA”, but you know, we've been doing this a long time. And I stay in it because if I didn't do this, I would go crazy. I don't play golf. I don't do any of those things.

I'll tell you you: have a great speaking voice. I wish I had a better phone.

Ingrid: 4:18
Thank you!

Phil: 4:20
But no, I can see why you're a good speaker. Do you tell him jokes when you're speaking?

Ingrid: 4:25
I try to mix a couple in there. I prefer to get the audience participation side of things in there. I really enjoy leading facilitated discussions and empowering the group to lead themselves to a very big extent.

Phil: 4:40
Okay. All right. How many people do you speak to normally? What's your crowd size?

Ingrid: 4:45
Oh, it depends on the conference, but I think at Scaling New Heights there's usually between fifty and a hundred people in each room.

Phil: 4:55
That's good, because I think the number one fear is speaking before a group. People are really scared of that, you know? And I always say to people that I admire anybody that can get up and speak to a group, whether it's 10 people, 100, or 500.

Ingrid: 5:14
There's a little bit of a trick to it. In my experience, the main trick to getting rid of the nervousness and being able to speak effectively in front of a group is to get yourself out of the way and become a catalyst—a conduit— for the message that needs to be received, because it's really about the people in the audience and the message that needs to come through. And when you focus on the message and helping people, and it stops being about oh my gosh, they're looking at me the nervousness kind of melts way. It's all about a passion for empowering others.

Phil: 5:48
But do you find that speaking to accountants can be boring? Are they really—can they get involved? Can they be personable or... What do you find?

'Cause you do a lot of conferences—probably less now because the COVID—but what did you find over the years with accountants speaking to them—CPAs? What do you find over your years of the travels you've gone through?

Ingrid: 6:11
So it depends on the conference and the audience. That's one of the reasons why I absolutely love speaking at Scaling New Heights is because, in my experience, the people who are attracted to Scaling New Heights conference, they're like a big family and they are wonderful, fun-loving people, who also happen to be accounting professionals, and they all have varied interests and are a very engaged audience. And they want to focus on the deeper more personal topics and how to improve themselves and improve their relationships with our clients—improve their advisory services. And those are the ones that I really really enjoy talking with.

Now a few years ago, I was paid a good chunk of money actually to speak at an accounting conference in southern California, and it was the local CPE conference, and most of the people there were staff accountants that just needed to fulfill their CPE, and it was a very different audience. There was very little engagement. They were not interested in personal growth. They just wanted to check it off the list. And so, I find that the audience really depends on the attitude of the people in the room and the intention of the conference.

If the people are just there to get their CPE that is actually an engagement that I would not choose to take again. It doesn't matter how much they were paying me. They were not interested in the bigger kinds of topics that I was presenting on. They just, [laughs], they were warm people in seats that were looking to fulfill an obligation and didn't actually want to be there...

Phil: 7:58
Oh of course. Yeah.

Ingrid: 7:59
...whereas everyone at Scaling New Heights is passionate to be there.

Phil: 8:02
That's what I found teaching CPR view live. The people were there for a reason. They want to get the information to pass the exam. So I always had a captured audience, and they would listen to me and I love that. I love the interaction. And you sound like you're very passionate in what you do, and I think that's great.

Is there anything else you want to share before we end this...sort of—I don't like to consider it an interview—we have a discussion. Anything you want to say about what you do?

Seven hundred people a week listen to this. All right all different types. What do you want to share with them, if you could share anything?

Ingrid: 8:45
I think the last thought that I would love to impart—just getting back to the public speaking piece—is an idea on Imposter Syndrome, which is really really common in the accounting profession. A lot of people—especially with required certificates and things like that—a lot of people are really nervous about having somebody essentially pull back the curtain and say, “oh they don't know everything there is to know about accounting”.

Well guess what, in this day and age there is no one who can know everything. There are so many different nuances and technologies within every single industry that we could possibly be serving. This is a huge industry. And so Imposter Syndrome is kind of running rampant. And especially for me when people started paying attention to the things that I was saying. You know, all of this started—I got involved back in 2008—is when I first became a QuickBooks Pro advisor. And it wasn't until 2015, when I attended my first Scaling New Heights conference, that I really kind of dove into the community of accounting professionals and started looking into more of the technology. And it really kind of snowballed after that.

It was later that year that I was recognized by Intuit as one of their firms of the future, and then the next year that I was recognized by CPA Practice Advisor magazine as one of the top 40 under 40 and one of the most powerful women in accounting.

And that really astonished me. The first time somebody called me a thought leader just about knocked me over. I'm like, I never thought leader. I'm not even a CPA. What if what if somebody finds out that I'm making all this stuff up and they decide that I'm a fraud? And then I realized, wait a second, thought leaders are the ones making stuff up. That's what makes them thought leaders

Thought leaders are the ones throwing spaghetti at the wall, trying to see what noodles might stick, and then they take the sticky noodles and they share them with other people. Being willing to try fail and try again is the most important part. And just sharing and being able to be vulnerable out there in front of a group, really helps us work together to get past that imposter syndrome.

So I just want to encourage anyone who's listening to this right now to go ahead and follow your passion with or without any kind of credential and recognize that your ideas very well could be good ideas and you don't need anyone's permission to give them a try and share them.

And the more thought leaders we can have in the world, the better a place our world is going to be. So each of us getting out of our own way and getting past our imposter syndrome is what saves our planet.

Phil: 11:38
Very profound. That was very well-spoken. Really.

By the way, do you think you can get me an award for top 40 people under 65. I've been trying to get that...[laughs]...

Ingrid: 11:51

Phil: 11:54
No one wants to give me an award you know. I'm just kidding you. But anyway, Ingrid, I wish you well.

And once again, the conference is November 8th to 11th. It's in Orlando. And once again, what's the name of the conference.

Ingrid: 12:06
Scaling New Heights.

Phil: 12:08
Scaling New Heights. And to get information with where do they go?

Ingrid: 12:15
They can go to or they can go to

Phil: 12:22
You know, I like—when I go to a conference—I want to have good speakers, not people that, you know, put me to sleep. We call him room clearers. All right, you know, obviously I just met Ingrid, but I can tell by her passion, the way she speaks, I think it would be interesting to listen to Ingrid and see what she has to say.

And by the way, who gave you this award-winning consulting firm? Who gave you that award?

Ingrid: 12:48
Which award?

Phil: 12:50
Oh, pardon me, which award. I can't even get a top 40 under 65. Ingrid, I can't get a 40 under 65. What award? What awards do you have?

Ingrid: 13:01
Well, there's “Top 40 Under 40”, the “Most Powerful Woman in Accounting, my firm is featured Steve Pike's book The World's Most Inspiring Accountants. Yeah, there's a few.

Phil: 13:13
That's great. Congratulations. And, have you become an influencer? Are you an influencer yet?

Ingrid: 13:20
You know, that's not a term that I really subscribe to.

Phil: 13:23
Why not?

Ingrid: 13:25
I've been taking a—well, I've been taking a big step back from social media of late. It's I realized that it does not always have a positive impact in my life. And so being an influencer is not something that I focus on.

Phil: 13:38
Oh, so you don't. You're on LinkedIn. That's social media. What does that do for you?

Ingrid: 13:44
Yeah. I have a profile. I sign in to LinkedIn when somebody sends me a message on LinkedIn.

Phil: 13:50

Ingrid: 13:51

Phil: 13:52
Good luck in your speaking. Good luck, and I hope you get another award or two in the next six months. And I really—you're a very nice person and I'll say it again: you are not a nerd. You are not a nerd.

Ingrid: 14:06
[Audio failure, unintelligible]

Phil: 14:06
If you want to see what a nerd is, watch Revenge of the Nerds. I'm sorry. What was that?

Ingrid: 14:10
I said I love being a nerd. Nerds are awesome.

Phil: 14:15
Have you watched the movie Revenge of the Nerds, I, II, and III.

Ingrid: 14:18
Oh, gosh, yes, when I was very young. Yes.

Phil: 14:21
[Laughs] Makes you feel better. I watched it a couple days ago. I've seen it probably about 10 times. It's funny, you know, but yeah, I did the same thing. I watched it when I was young. I was about 5 years old.

Have a safe trip to Orlando.

This is Phil Yeager, and you've been listening to CPA Review and More. My guest today has been Ingrid Edstrom. Do I get that right this time?

Ingrid: 14:44
Yup, that's right.

Phil: 14:44
And please remember, I said earlier on in this podcast, and I generally don't push charities, but I got a letter today from WhyHunger and I know there's a shortage of food, because—as a result of COVID—a lot of people are out of work. Please, when you go to some place, where a mask. I mean, I believe that. Now I don't like it, but I believe in it. Think of other people. That's the whole thing.

We forget that there are other people in this world. If you go to a public area put on a mask. Okay? It's not the worst thing in the world. I know it's a little uncomfortable, but you know what, it might help reduce the number of people getting the virus.

So everyone, thank you again. We'll see you next Tuesday for another show—a really big show—on CPA Review and More.

Ingrid. Thank you again. You take care and stay well.

Ingrid: 15:40
Thank you, Phil, have a great day.

Narrator: 15:42
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