Kelsey Barnes
Ankeny, IA
Marion, IA

One of the advantages of studying accounting at the Tippie College of Business is the strong network students instantly acquire just by enrolling in the prestigious program. The network begins with exposure to Tippie’s accounting faculty but quickly expands across the globe to include thousands of Iowa accounting alumni connected by the thread of the Tippie College.

Kelsey Barnes, who completed a Master of Accountancy degree in 2013, quickly realized the value of the connections she made while at Tippie.

“I was a Beta Alpha Psi officer with the college’s accounting fraternity which enabled me to grow my network and presented me with opportunities to engage with working professionals in the same career field I would someday work in,” says Barnes.

“At Tippie, I was instantly surrounded by professors who wanted the best outcome for their students,” she explains. She notes Meet the Firms Night, an annual on-campus recruiting event specifically for accounting majors, and the Pomerantz Career Center, are just two valuable resources available to students to clear a path toward securing internship opportunities as well as a career after college.

Barnes had two internship opportunities – one in Kansas City at Grant Thornton in tax and another in Des Moines at Ernst & Young working in the audit field. She ultimately decided to permanently return to the state of Iowa where she would begin a career and deepen her Iowa roots.

The internship experience evolved into a full-time offer at Ernst & Young, and after finishing her master’s degree, she quickly became senior assurance associate at the firm’s Des Moines location. The work was fulfilling and presented Barnes with opportunities and growth, but she decided the demanding workload was no longer suitable for her growing family.

She married fellow Tippie alum, Nathan Barnes (Mac11), who continues to work in public accounting, and they made their home in Ankeny, Iowa.

Today she works in Ames as a professional services manager at Workiva, an Iowa-based global company who provides cloud-based software business systems used in financial reporting.

“I find that my work is similar to what I experienced in public accounting. I have a book of clients whom I manage, but the position offers a lot of variety and I’m constantly managing change,” she says. She describes the Workiva environment as very forward-thinking, in a relaxed corporate style and offers flexible hours.

Barnes’ roots run deep in Iowa, as she was raised in the Marion/Cedar Rapids area. “When I was in high school, I envisioned leaving Iowa after college, but in Central Iowa, we are just two hours from family and we feel lucky to live in Ankeny where the community is growing and has so much to offer.”

“We are definitely planning to stay in Iowa,” she says.