Pathways to CPA: Dena Breece Part 2

As a sneak peek to our upcoming issue of Interim Report, check out Dena Dail Breece’s recollection of her journey to her current position, and see where the achievement of her CPA credential led her career in this four-part series!

Dena Breece

My name is Dena Dail Breece, MBA, CPA.  I am married to the love of my life, George.   We reside in historic downtown Fayetteville, NC.  When I am not teaching, my personal interests include traveling with my husband, volunteering at my church and in the community, watching all sports, coastal fishing, art, music, and theater.

As a sneak-peak to our upcoming issue of Interim Report, check out Dena Dail Breece’s recollection of her journey to her current position, and see where the achievement of her CPA designation led her career in the second installment of this four-part series!

To view part one, click here.

In 2000, I graduated from Methodist College and began the next steps of becoming a CPA.  I purchased Becker’s Professional Education program to begin studying and preparing to pass the CPA exam.  Due to the requirement of 150 credit hours to obtain a NC CPA license, I enrolled as an evening student in a master of business administration (MBA) program with Campbell University to begin in the fall of that year.  With my new found love of auditing, I interviewed and was hired as an Assistant State Auditor I with the NC Office of the State Auditor (OSA) for the Fayetteville branch.  I participated in team financial audits of six community colleges, two universities, and nine clerk of courts in the surrounding area.

The next year, I was promoted to Assistant State Auditor II.  I attended evening courses to complete my MBA.  In my remaining time, I studied and began sitting for the CPA exam.  I can still recall the exhilarating feeling and sense of accomplishment in receiving my NC CPA Board of Examiners envelope stamped “congratulations.”  All of the sacrifice and hard work had finally paid off.

In December of 2002, I graduated from Campbell University.  In April of 2003, my CPA license was approved by the board.  Obtaining my license was the beginning of a succession of challenging and promotional job advancements.

Over the next nine years, I was blessed to work with highly respected teams in state and local government.   At the end of 2003, I along with my colleague, Latonya Hankins, CPA, and my mentor, the late Bobby Matthews, CPA, decided to leave the OSA to work for Fayetteville State University (FSU).  Over my tenure with FSU, I served as Controller, to Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, to Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.

In the spring of 2006, I was asked by Methodist University if I could teach one evening class for eight weeks due to a professor’s health issue.  I began teaching in the evening and continued to teach moving forward.  In 2007, I accepted an opportunity to become finance manager for the city of Fayetteville, which is the sixth largest city in NC.  I continued to teach accounting as an adjunct instructor for Methodist University.

In 2011, I began a Ph.D. program in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance with Trident University International.  I attribute this decision to the influence of my colleagues at FSU and Methodist University.  Also, in 2011, I accepted a promotional opportunity to become Financial Manager with Cumberland County, which is the fifth largest county in NC.

Check out our next installment of CPA Pathways to see where Dena’s desire to earn her PhD led her.