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Vanessa Teitelbaum: Proud Voice for the Accounting Profession

Alumni Spotlight // 12.8.2023

Vanessa Teitelbaum

Vanessa Teitelbaum just loves public accounting. But after 20 years as a CPA, the former senior manager of FORVIS’ predecessor firm DHG was looking for “something different.” Today, she’s part of a nonprofit that’s working to strengthen and improve the profession she holds so dear. 

You’re Senior Director of Professional Practice for the Center of Audit Quality (CAQ). What is the CAQ, and what does it do?

The CAQ is a cross between a trade organization and a think tank. We have approximately 350 member accounting firms, including FORVIS. We advocate for the accounting profession—particularly regarding public company audits—for example, by engaging with the industry’s regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), among other stakeholders. When the PCAOB proposes new auditing standards, we independently research, analyze, and confer with our member firms on the issue and then provide comments back to the PCAOB. We’re similar to a lobbying firm, but we’re not. We focus on regulation, not legislation. We also keep tabs on developments of other regulators.

What is your role at the CAQ?

I am part of the Professional Practice team and lead task forces when responding to the PCAOB and other proposals. In addition, I lead our Audit Committee Council. We develop tools to help audit committees in their roles, especially in light of new PCAOB standards. I really enjoy the work; there’s always something new. Other team members are involved in work related to monitoring standards around ESG, international sustainability, even developing TikTok videos targeted at high school students to increase awareness about the accounting profession. Member firms come to us with an issue the profession is dealing with, and we work with them to hash it out. How should we approach the problem on behalf of the profession? 

How did you come to join the CAQ?

Teitlebaum, Katherine and Josh

Well, to begin with, I had never even heard of it! But a recruiter-friend of mine from my PwC days (before joining DHG) made me aware of the opportunity. I was ready for a break from public accounting and never really wanted to go into industry, so in 2016, I took a leap of faith and went for it. And I just love it. I enjoy advocating for a profession I truly love.

But accounting wasn’t your initial choice for a profession …

Not at all. My bachelor’s degree is actually in East Asian studies. In high school I participated in a student exchange program and lived in Japan briefly. I fell in love with the people and culture and decided that’s what I would study. I lived in Japan during my junior year of college. But after graduating, as much as I wanted a career involving Japan, nothing crystallized. So, I went back to school. NYU was offering an MBA program geared for liberal arts students. I took my first accounting class, and I was hooked.

How has your time with our firm prepared you for your current role at the CAQ?

The experience and relationships I gained at the firm definitely helped me land the job I have now. I gained a wide variety of experiences—with both large and small companies—and this really helps me in my current role as I consider how a proposed PCAOB standard might affect different-size firms.

What does it mean to be an alum of the firm?

DHG, now FORVIS, has been a wonderful part of my career journey. And I still enjoy staying in touch with many of my FORVIS friends and alumni. I especially appreciate the leadership training the firm invested in me. It’s still paying dividends today.

Teitelbaum family

More About Vanessa

  • Grew up in Rhode Island
  • Is married to her college sweetheart, Josh, a tenured professor at Georgetown Law Center
  • Currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland
  • Has two teenage children, Katherine and David. Katherine started her freshman year at Cornell in the fall of 2023 and plans to be an English major
  • Joined FORVIS’ predecessor firm DHG in 2013 in Rockville, Maryland, after stints at PwC and Watkins Meegan
  • Is an avid swimmer and runner, having completed six marathons, including the New York City Marathon three times; the Swim Around Manhattan (a 28-mile swim, as part of a four-person relay race); Ironman Lake Placid; and multiple half-Ironman triathlons and half marathon races

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