LAWRENCE — "My senior year, I remember camping out in front of Summerfield at 6 a.m. for job interview sign-ups on a first-come, first-service basis," said Diane Yetter, School of Business alumna. "Even though I camped all year, I graduated without a job."
Yetter is the founder of YETTER and Sales Tax Institute, a sales tax and tax technology consulting firm. She is a frequent speaker, published author, insightful teacher and trusted advisor. She also serves on the editorial advisory boards of the Sales & Use Tax Alert, Institute of Financial Management, Managing Accounts Payable and the Dean's Advisory Board at the School of Business.
Most recently, Yetter was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Accounting" by Accounting Today magazine.
"I am honored to be making a difference and to be recognized as a leader in my field," Yetter said.
She graduated from the University of Kansas in the spring of 1985 with degrees in accounting and business administration. Yetter credits the design of the business school for her success as a small business owner and consultant to major corporations.
"The way the program was designed, I was able to learn it all: finance, marketing, HR, as well as accounting," Yetter said.
As a successful woman who struggled to find a job after graduation, she is not shy to admit it was due to her need to balance so many things during her college years. As a full-time student working three part-time jobs close to 40 hours per week, she paid her way through college.
"I'm very proud of what I have accomplished and I think getting through school working as much as I did, taught me to work hard to get what you want," Yetter said. "Don't let others tell you that something isn't possible," Yetter said.
She graduated from DePaul University as a part-time student in 1994 with a Master's degree in taxation. During that time she was working as the lead person on an initiative at Arthur Andersen relating to tax systems. This involvement prompted her to think of new market areas for the firm to invest in. So, she proposed the idea to start a practice line dedicated to implementing software.
"The firm didn't think the same way I did," Yetter said. "So, I thought, 'this is where I think the market is going,' and decided to go off on my own to start the business."
Sixteen years later, she is a small-business owner, author, and sales tax expert who also does presentations as a speaker for industry groups, corporations and industry conferences. Her presentations appeal to professionals to stay informed, and also to an audience who seeks a general understanding of sales and use tax.
Yetter has succeeded in her field by allowing her expertise to be available to all audiences. At graduation, she was unsure of what the future held, but she found that initial impressions can be overcome with hard work.
"In my opinion, if I had gotten great grades and started out in public accounting, I would likely never be where I am today," Yetter said.
Yetter doubts that she would have gotten into the field if it were not for her first job at the Kansas Department of Revenue where she got involved in sales tax as an auditor.
"I think there is a reason for everything, and where I am today is because of what I had to do in college, even though it meant lower than optimal grades," Yetter said. "Looking back, I'm glad things worked out the way they did."