When Amy Evans started college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Gies College of Business, she decided to study accounting—she liked the subject, and she knew it was a field where she’d be able to get a job.
Since earning her accounting degree, Evans has built her expertise across eleven roles within the accounting function and she’s now currently the vice president and chief accounting officer at Titan International.
She began her career at what was then Price Waterhouse, where she gained valuable professional accounting and audit experience. After three years, Evans wanted to move on from the audit world and began her eleven-year tenure at Sara Lee, where she held management roles in general accounting and financial reporting and planning before working in the specialty markets division.
She also lent her expertise to a variety of companies such as Eby-Brown, RR Donnelley, HSBC, Slalom Consulting, and Navigant. Then she held interim positions through Tatum—which places senior-level talent on interim and project basis in finance and accounting—and returned to RR Donnelley as interim chief accounting officer.
“It was very easy for me to jump into that role,” Evans remembers. “I knew the business, some of the people I had worked with and who worked with me were still there; they were still using the system I had implemented.”
All of those positions have provided Evans with experience that have helped her become the leader she is today at Titan International, the Chicago-based firm that is a leader of Titan and Goodyear Farm Tire brands and provides wheels, tires, and undercarriage products for a wide variety of off-road equipment.
“You can’t just throw a system at someone and say, ‘Here, do it.’ You need to change the process.”
“I have takeaways from every role I’ve held,” says the chief accounting officer. “Even at Price Waterhouse, which taught me the discipline that I still use today in how I prepare some of my support for our SEC reporting and how I’ve had to teach that to some of my employees who don’t have a public accounting background.”
Among the initiatives she is working on is improving the company’s financial strength and establishing the right mix of talent at offices in Chicago and Quincy, Illinois.
“I’ve known that I was short staffed because I’ve had certain people doing way too many things to the point that there are control risks. In finance, it’s extremely important that people have segregation of duty,” Evans explains. “When you have one person handling multiple tasks, tasks that should be handled by different individuals, you know you have a control risk. I literally had to design my organizational chart to ensure that all the different functions in accounting and finance are appropriately staffed and staffed at the right level.”
Another goal of hers is to encourage career opportunities for her team members.
“You want to make sure that there’s room for people to grow and room for them to develop, move on, and move up,” notes Evans, who oversees a 175-person team.
Another of her missions is to improve internal reports so that timely and effective insights can be easily provided. “That’s really due to inadequate systems,” Evans comments. “Transforming those critical systems is an important initiative to me, and I am in the final stages of implementing a new consolidation system, which will enable us to provide better data analytics and dashboard-enhanced financial reporting.”
That involves Titan partnering with Huron Consulting in the implementation of a new consolidation system, Oracle Fusion FCCS.
“It’s not just about implementing a new system, we’re also implementing new processes around this system,” Evans says. “You can’t just throw a system at someone and say, ‘Here, do it.’ You need to change the process. In our case, it’s also the monthly close process that is affected by the change in the system. We are enhancing that to make it more efficient, effective, and timely.”
“I have exceptional focus on my communication and leadership styles in order to better serve the company and develop high performing teams.”
Scott Leshinski, managing director at Huron Consulting Group, notes the transformation leadership he’s seen from Evans throughout their partnership. “As the chief accounting officer of a publicly traded, global organization, Amy combines accounting expertise with the strategic vision to transform the business,” he says. “Amy recognizes that successful transformation isn’t one dimensional, and that successful transformation requires the synchronization across business processes, technology solutions, people, organizational design, and change management.”
Titan’s business is 55 percent international, and that means people from around the world, who are all on different systems, are going to be asked to do things they haven’t done before with the implementation of the Oracle Fusion FCCS system.
“It’s a cultural change for them, and many of them are resistant to that change, having been at Titan for a number of years,” Evans explains. “For example, we just had our first town hall to introduce the larger objective and vision for the system and what the expectations are, what they can expect to see, and how we are going to communicate with them going forward.”
No doubt Evans is qualified to meet that challenge because of the different environments she’s worked in and the different viewpoints and perspectives she’s encountered throughout her career.
“The opportunities that I’ve had to work among different teams, different industries, and different cultures have provided me with a lot of variety and depth,” she notes. “These experiences have made me very adaptable and insightful. I have exceptional focus on my communication and leadership styles in order to better serve the company and develop high performing teams.”
And that will lead to a successful future for Evans and Titan.