Creative accountant are two words that don’t seem to naturally jive.
But Geeta Tucker is exactly that, and in a good way.
As CFO for Agriteam Canada, which provides management and technical expertise to a variety of organizations in developing countries, Tucker continually innovates fresh ideas to successfully manage 23 field offices around the world. For example, Agriteam recently branched into Afghanistan, where it works with the community to rebuild its infrastructure after the Taliban has cleared out.
Paying for those projects is certainly a challenge, says Tucker. “Flowing dollars to Afghanistan is difficult, so we have to creatively figure out how to do it, even if it means people have to carry cash into the country — whatever needs to happen, we make it happen,” Tucker says.
Tucker also sits on the Alberta Board of Directors for Certified Management Accountants (CMA) Canada, an industry association that grants professional designations. During her time as chair, she has contributed at provincial and national levels to move the designation forward and to help shape the landscape of accounting in Canada, making sure her eastern counterparts take notice of Albertan CMAs.
“It’s nice to be able to put up your hand and say, ‘There are people out West doing great things,’” she says.
Tucker is a huge proponent of CMA’s campaign for “creative accounting,” which aims to free the term from the negative connotations and bad press its received in light of recent corporate scandals.
“With the scandals of the early 2000s, accounting has shifted to focus on compliance,” she says. “But that can be at the expense of making good business decisions for the future. Adding value, good management and strategic planning are important, too. We need to balance compliance with improving the business.”
In 2008, in recognition of her leadership in business, community service and promotion of the accounting profession, Tucker was named a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (FCMA), the highest honour CMA Canada bestows. Tucker was one of only three out of 6,600 CMAs in Alberta to be awarded the FCMA.
Her success in accounting stems from an early love for numbers, and has developed into a strong desire to work with and lead others.
“What motivates me is watching people develop; I love seeing progression in others. It’s very inspiring,” says Tucker.
That same inspiration leads her to also volunteer with the Mount Royal Conservatory, where both her children play piano. There, she can return the support to her family, which has provided her with the foundation to not only keep the books balanced, but to do so with inventiveness and respect.
Why she’s the top: She has helped put Calgary on the map in the world of accounting through her leadership on the Alberta Board of Directors of Certified Management Accountants Canada. Plus, she manages 23 field offices worldwide aimed at promoting sustainable growth and opportunity for people in developing countries.
The key to her success: “I have a desire to learn and to keep learning,” Tucker says. “I set goals and meet them, but with respect. It’s not about success at all costs, but success with friends and fun.”