Spotlight Interview: Mita Chatterjee | Accounting
As CallRail’s Accounting Manager, Mita Chatterjee works to keep our financials in perfect order. Today Mita shares the story of pursuing her Master’s in Accounting later in life, her passion for all things Jackie Kennedy, and why she never gives up on anything she starts.
How long have you worked at CallRail? What drew you to the culture here?
It’ll be a year next month. I’ve worked in accounting my whole life, but I went back to school because I wanted to do better than I had in the past when bringing up children was more important to me. So when I went back to school and graduated with a Master’s degree in 2015, I didn’t want just any job. I saw the people I graduated with going on job interviews with big firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and I wanted something different that offered excitement and challenges. When I came to interview at CallRail, I felt that the ambiance was kind of a replication of my school life, so I wanted to give it a try. The other thing that excited me about this job was that I was the first accountant hired here, so the possibilities were endless in shaping the job the way I wanted to.
Talk a little bit about your background. What made you want to pursue a career in accounting?
I came here are as an immigrant from New Delhi, India in 1987. My husband got a job in international sales and started traveling. I got worried my BA in Philosophy wasn’t going to earn me much money, so I went to Edison College, in Dayton, Ohio, near where we were living at the time and said: “I want a vocation, not just a degree.” I took courses in computer science, accounting and business administration and I liked accounting the most so I pursued that.
What’s your favorite part of your job here at CallRail?
I can set my own schedule, as long as I meet the deadlines given to me by those who rely on the information I generate. I’m best in the morning so I get all the hard stuff done then and the afternoons are a little more relaxed. I also love the fact that most of the people I’ve met at CallRail are so bright and talented. They make me want to work harder because I look at them and think “I want to be a role model to them as they are to me.” I’m impressed by their courage. This company has a unique culture. You have to be self-motivated and driven to succeed here. When I see that in people as young as 24 years old, I am so impressed. They made me feel welcomed. My friends often ask me if it’s weird for me to work in a place where there aren’t many people my age. In some ways it is; there are some things I would rather discuss with my own friends, but I have a whole new understanding of millennials because of working here.
What’s the most important thing you’re currently working on?
I’m constantly working to make sure our financial statements measure up to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). After CallRail crossed a certain revenue threshold, we had to report according to GAAP. So it’s important for me to keep that in mind as I generate statements each month.
Do you have a process or philosophy for tackling challenges at work? How do you overcome them?
The biggest thing I feel is that it’s important to complete anything you take on. I’m here to do a job. I take things on and complete them to the best of my ability. If it’s an accounting issue, I can figure it out and handle it. I hate learning about computer related activities but I work at a tech company so I’m determined to figure out tech issues relating to my job without asking for help. It’s not always possible, but I try my best!
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever lived or visited? What did you enjoy about it?
Sidney, Ohio. We moved there for my husband’s job. It has a population of 17,000. It’s in the middle of nowhere and has three exits off the interstate. I got there and was so worried I wouldn’t fit in. We were the only Indian family in town. It was amazing to me how these people took me under their wings and brought us into their community. The guy who would fix my car, I would just leave my garage remote with him and he would take my car, fix it, and bring it back. My son started preschool there, and he is still best friends with the two friends he made there during that time.
The second place I loved living was Lyon, France. We moved to Lyon from Ohio. That was a culture shock. You move from a small town to the third largest city in France. I’m of Indian origin with US citizenship and was living in France, speaking only English. It was complicated for my identity, but I made friends with all the local people and had the best time. The first few weeks were rough though. We were staying in a hotel and my husband handed me a map and a dictionary and said: “Good luck, try to find us an apartment, I’m on my way to Baltimore.” You see signs here that say an apartment is “For Rent”, so I figured out the word for that in French. But there was always the name “Reggie” and the last name in front of the sign. I thought every realtor was named Reggie, but then I found out Reggie meant “realtor” in French!
What’s the thing in your life that you feel most proud of?
To be honest, right now it’s going back to school at a late stage in my life. I was as competitive as all of those kids, and I graduated with a 3.42 GPA. I think people should evolve all the time. Don’t be static.
What’s something interesting about you that not many people know?
That I like to drive faster than the speed limit. My son says “The speed limit is just a guideline for my mom.”
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I have a great life outside of work. I have a group that meets once a month – we’re all into arts and crafts. We learn new things. Last Saturday I learned how to bead a necklace. We do quilting, crocheting, and painting. My husband and I want to run our first half marathon by the end of this year. I like to work out, I do that every morning. I never want life to be passive or bland. I want everything to be 110%.
Who is someone you admire most in life and why?
Jacqueline Kennedy. I think she was one of the most low-key women’s liberation people. She liked looking like she was Mrs. Kennedy, but she had a life outside of that. She was a fantastic journalist and knew several languages. While she could look nice on the arm of JFK, she had the intellectual skills and personality traits to make her an independent thinker. There’s no reason to look ugly just because you’re an intelligent thinker. She proved that you can wear Dior and go to Harvard.
What TV show do you like to binge watch?
Law & Order. The more vicious the better. They catch the bad guy in the end. That’s the fun.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t ever give up. My dad told me that in sixth-grade. I told him I wanted to write a book about Jackie Kennedy. I had written two pages and I showed them to him and I said: “This stinks.” He said “Don’t give up.” I wrote 100 pages to show him I could write a book in one day.
To learn more about working at CallRail, visit www.callrail.com/about/careers.