AshleyIf the idea of working for a company you believe in sounds inspiring, then you’ll want to hear Ashley Griesshammer’s story. Ashley is the controller of Lovevery, where she oversees all accounting operations and a team of professionals at this rapidly growing, venture-backed, e-commerce business based in Boise, Idaho. The company is best known for its Lovevery Play Kits, a Montessori-inspired subscription service that delivers a box of toys and books for a baby/toddler’s particular developmental stage every two to three months. As a young mother herself, Ashley is firmly committed to the organization’s goals and mission.

Ashley discovered she liked accounting as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. She spent a summer at a public accounting firm after her junior year and decided that type of work just wasn’t for her. “I wanted to be working at the companies that were our clients, not just with them,” she recalls.

After graduating college with a BBA in 2013, Ashley took a job at a private placement company based in Chicago. In her role as an investment analyst in this fast-paced environment, she had the opportunity to learn about many different industries. “It was a crash course in reading a balance sheet, analyzing a financial statement, and various other financial skills,” she says.

Following two years in that role, she next took a job at a small distribution company, which she says was her real introduction to management accounting. It was around that time that she learned about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant). “I recall a number of job ads that asked for someone who was a CPA or a CMA. I was already a CPA at the time, and so I wanted to know what the CMA was about. As soon as I found out more about it, I decided to earn that certification as well.”

To prepare for taking the CMA, Ashley used a self-study method, relying on the Wiley review books. She used notecards and ran through practice test after practice test. She took the exams about six months apart. 

Although Ashley was already a CPA and had even earned her MS in Accounting around the same time, “the CMA is definitely not a test you should cram for,” she says. “You should try to be disciplined and diligent and establish a set study schedule.” Ashley tried to spend some time each day doing test prep, even if was just a half hour. To prepare for both exam parts (she took Part 1 first and then Part 2), she studied after work and then spent more concentrated time on weekends. “It also helped to have a test date scheduled, so that I could plan my study routine with an end goal in mind.”

Ashley earned her CMA in 2017 and following stints in finance at two other companies, she’s now settled at Lovevery (a position she found on LinkedIn). She’s enjoyed considerable professional success, being named 2022 Controller of the Year from Floqast and recognized with a 2021 Excellence in Finance Award from Idaho Business Review. She also earned her CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) from IMA in 2020.

Her best advice to those preparing for the exam? “Start early! Pursue the CMA while in school or shortly after while you are still in good study habits. It gets more challenging as you progress in your career to carve out time to study and pass the exams.”