Congratulations to Gloria Keating for earning the CFO of the Year honor from the Kansas City Business Journal. Only a select group of winners is chosen, representing the best and brightest in finance across the Kansas City Metro.
By the 8th grade, P1 Group CFO Gloria Keating knew exactly what she wanted to do. She even recalls writing an 8th grade graduation paper declaring she planned to be an accountant.
Probably one of the younger CFOs you’ll find at any corporation, Gloria certainly has the gift of numbers.
“I’ve always loved math and science,” Gloria said. “I like the process of problem solve and checking – finding out where things go.”
Gloria took her first accounting elective in high school – and finished an entire year’s curriculum in one month.
“It was fun and it was easy. I love the language of accounting – it’s a language of its own. If you know it, you can read and see things most people can’t,” Gloria explained. “It’s also a portable career – with accounting, you can work in any industry.”
Gloria started as a CPA, and it was her second week on the job as an auditor when she first touched base with the company that would become her future home.
“I was in public accounting on my very first audit outside the office, auditing AD Jacobson and Huxtable & Associates – the precursor companies to P1 Group,” she said.
Although she was just out of school and obviously very young, Gloria’s potential caught the attention of P1 Group CEO Smitty Belcher.
“In 2000, on that same audit, Smitty said “you’re going to work for me one day.” Several years later in 2007, when Gloria was just 28, Smitty called and made Gloria a formal offer.
Her response? “Absolutely not.”
“I loved public accounting – all the different offices and customers. I was afraid if I went to work for just one customer, I would get bored. I also worried I didn’t have enough experience to handle a large company.”
But Gloria says she really liked the people she met at P1 Group, and came to realize construction accounting was anything but boring.
“In construction accounting, each job is like its own set of books,” Gloria said. “The forecasting and estimating keep things interesting.”
The appeal of such a challenge finally won her over and she’s been with P1 Group ever since, playing an integral role in building and improving the company’s accounting functions.
Today, Gloria’s daughter Kayla is following in her mom’s footsteps. She just graduated from the University of Kansas with her master’s degree and currently works as a CPA.
Prior to her career in accounting, Gloria was a caterer for nine years while in school.
She says catering is a lot like auditing.
“You walk in to a place of business, talk to them, figure out what they need, come up with a deliverable and go do the work,” she said.
Gloria still keeps her creative talents sharp hosting and catering large family events, making wedding cakes, party planning, doing flower arranging, and even orchestrating home remodel projects (with the help of her electrician husband).
Gloria says she finds fulfillment in her current volunteer work at Birthright, giving free pregnancy tests to women facing unplanned pregnancy.
“As someone who was a young mom when I had my daughter, this was a good fit for me,” Gloria said.
“It’s great to just be there for someone, be that calming presence, with no judgment. Having the opportunity to help people during difficult times really puts your life in perspective.”