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Member Profile: Abby Sanders, CPA

by Cory Wilmarth, Assistant Editor | Aug 02, 2018
Abby Sanders with two daughters

Abby Sanders, CPA, is a sole practitioner and active roller derby enthusiast. She first got her start in roller derby in February of 2015. Though she barely knew how to skate at the time, Abby was inspired to join her local team, the Wine Country Crushers, after watching them play. She immediately took her gear and signed up for their next recruiting event.

Growing up on a farm in Cowiche, Abby was a somewhat shy and reserved child, not the type to be bumping into people on roller skates. She also knew early on that a career in agriculture was not her calling. She first became interested in accounting in a high school business class, spurred on by her first year of accounting at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri.

“I remember questioning my choice to go so far away from home and cursing myself for not having a backup plan,” said Abby. “This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

After receiving her Associate’s degree, she earned her Bachelor’s of Accounting at Central Washington University. Her brother and sister also went on to become accountants. Abby is proud to have worked with her siblings at different times in the past.

Abby started her career in public accounting at Moss Adams, then took a brief departure from public accounting to work at the state auditor’s office. It was the start of a fulfilling career in auditing with a focus on nonprofit and governmental work.

“I get to go out to clients that provide low income housing, shelters from domestic violence, youth services, and environmental rehabilitation,”Abby explained. “These organizations make a huge difference in the community that I live in, and I would like to help make their jobs a little easier. Working with my clients and helping them solve problems is also very rewarding.”

After starting an auditing practice at a small local firm, Abby created her own firm in August 2017. “My hopefully final move has been to start my own practice,” said Abby. “I have had a great start, and my past experiences have definitely helped make this endeavor a success.” Though the initial year has been busy, Abby said, “I have been blessed with a full schedule of clients, and I truly enjoy working with them.”

Starting her own firm has been challenging, but roller derby provides a welcome break from day-to-day life. Roller derby requires complete focus on the here and now. While playing, Abby can think of nothing else but the game itself. “Skating and hitting people provide a major stress relief,” Abby said.

Abby considers starting her own firm as her greatest professional achievement, but she is equally proud of her accomplishments in roller derby, both on the track and supporting her two daughters who play on the junior team. Twice they have gone to the international playoffs together and saw Portland’s Rose City Rollers win the championship. Abby has also attended RollerCon, the roller derby convention in Las Vegas with teammates.

Aside from work and roller derby, Abby has other things to keep her busy. “There are times when it seems my children are my only hobby. I spend a lot of time in school gymnasiums and in cars going to sporting events. I enjoy traveling, particularly to the ocean. Next year, both of my children will be in high school, and my oldest daughter just did her first college visit to Cottey College, my alma mater.”

Looking back on it all, Abby has no regrets. “Starting my own business was scary, but it’s also one of the best decisions I’ve made. I love the work I do and enjoy the time I spend with my clients. Roller derby still on occasion scares me – but that also has been a great experience. Take risks; don’t be afraid to do what you want to do.”

For the future, Abby is looking forward to completing her first year of business. This last year, she went to Hawaii twice for work and would like to find more clients in fun locations. She also hopes to one day play on the same derby team as her daughters when they are both old enough in four years.

Cory Wilmarth is the Communications, Design, and Social Media Coordinator for the WSCPA. You can contact him at cwilmarth@wscpa.org.

This article appeared in the summer 2018 issue of the WashingtonCPA Magazine. Read more here.

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