Danica Olson, CPA - WICPA

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Danica Olson, CPA - WICPA

Photography by John Nienhuis

Makeup by Kristin Lindemann

6 On Balance May|June 2012

wicpa.org


Danica E. Olson, CPA,

named new WICPA chair

playing

to

win

By Cynthia M. Hodnett

wicpa.org

On Balance May|June 2012

7


On the surface,

it may not seem that CPA Danica E. Olson,

accounting manager for the Milwaukee Bucks,

Inc., has much in common with the team’s

towering players. However, they do share a

common interest in numbers. While the

players focus on their stats, scores and

salaries, much of Olson’s job involves

managing the team’s finances.

Now Olson has

a new focus:

as 2012–2013

chair

of the WICPA.

“I didn’t really think

about becoming chair,

but I was excited when I

was asked,” she said. “I

was also kind of scared

because I feel like I’m too

young to be chair. When

I take over as chair, I’ll be

40. I’m only the fifth woman, which is pretty

exciting because there aren’t a lot of women

in top leadership roles.”

Olson’s professional experience, drive

and personable demeanor will be an asset as

chair, said James W. Woloszyk, CPA, director

of finance for the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I think all of those things, plus her being

from industry, will bring a different perspective

compared to some of the previous

(chairs),” Woloszyk said. “She has a lot of

energy and can listen to those around her.

She’s not afraid to express her own opinion,

but she’s not afraid listen to other people’s

opinions.”

Establishing a

winning formula

Increasing member involvement is one of

Olson’s goals as chair.

“We talk a lot about the younger generation

being the future of the profession, and

when we look around at our events, we

don’t see a lot of them there,” she said. “We

do a good job with getting them to events

like the Brewers game, but what other events

can we offer them?

“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable

in going to events by themselves, so why

not set up a buddy system and start with

our board members?” she said. “If you look

at our board, it represents a lot of different

industries and firms. Maybe each board

member would be encouraged to bring at

least one person to a WICPA event.”

Olson got involved with the organization

shortly after joining in 2000. As a new

member, she attended a KnowledgeShare

Network Breakfast Meeting, which educates

accounting professionals and their

clients about trends affecting the accounting

industry. At the meeting, several WICPA

members encouraged her to become active.

Since then, Olson has served on the board

of directors as its liaison of the Young Professionals

Committee. She has also served

on the Education Foundation, Inc.

“She epitomizes what this profession is

all about — hardworking, honest, dedicated

and interested in improving the profession

as well as her own skills,” said CPA Carver

Smith III, search practice leader at Baker

Tilly Search & Staffing, LLC and WICPA

board member.

Danica is extremely genuine, committed

and gets things done,” Smith said. “I’m

looking forward to continuing to serve on

the board under her leadership.”

Championing

the CPA profession

Olson also wants to continue promoting

financial literacy. She also wants to encourage

students to consider accounting careers,

which she has done previously as a speaker

at networking events at the University of

Wisconsin–Whitewater.

“I enjoyed doing that because I got to

talk with them about my experiences as a

CPA,” she said. “As CPAs, we need to talk to

students about the things you can achieve in

the profession.”

A Milwaukee native, Olson developed a

strong interest in numbers at early age. She

decided to pursue a CPA career after taking

her first accounting class in high school.

“I really enjoyed it and I knew it would

open up a lot of career options,” she said. “I

8 On Balance May|June 2012

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knew I wanted to go to Marquette (University),

and I knew they had a good accounting

program. Plus, I wanted to get my

master’s degree. I knew HR would be a good

fit with accounting.”

Olson graduated from Marquette with a

bachelor’s degree in business administration

with specialization in accounting and

a master’s in human resources in 1993. The

following year, she earned her CPA designation.

Her career includes accounting positions

at Rite-Hite Corp., Boston Store, and

the company that is now U.S. Bank. She also

worked at Dai Shin Technologies, where she

eventually became controller.

After leaving Dai Shin Technologies,

Olson took her current position with the

Bucks. There, she enjoys a variety of duties,

including calculating the amount of taxes to

withhold in the states and cities that require

professional athletes to pay income tax.

She also does general ledger reconciliation,

resume screenings and exit interviews.

“I think the thing that most people find

interesting about my job is that I do the

payroll for the staff, the basketball players,

and the coaches,” she said. “I have written a

million-dollar paycheck. I have seen literally

the amount of taxes taken out of one check

that’s more than my entire year’s earnings.

It’s surreal.”

Olson also teaches accounting at DeVry

University and University of Phoenix.

Although her schedule is busier than ever,

she finds time to spend with her family and

friends. She and her husband, Andy, enjoy

traveling and spending time with her two

cats, Chloe and Meg. She also plays in a

women’s tennis league.

Cynthia M. Hodnett is editor of On Balance

magazine. Contact her at 262-785-0445 ext.

3004 or cynthia@wicpa.org.

She epitomizes

what this

profession is

all about

“I can get all of my work done

and still do my volunteering

opportunities,” she said. “I’m

a really busy person. I thrive

on tasks, so adding one more

won’t be a problem.”

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On Balance May|June 2012

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