Alumni Spotlight: David Hartley wins the 2018 Outstanding Visionary Award
December 21, 2018,
David Hartley’s road to success began at Southern Illinois University, he says. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the SIU College of Business in May 1991, graduating summa cum laude with a minor in German as well. While at SIU, Hartley was secretary of Beta Alpha Psi and president of Alpha Kappa Psi. He also was awarded the Outstanding Senior awards for both accounting and the entire College of Business in 1991.
Upon graduation, Hartley passed his CPA exam on the first try, a feat for which he gives immense credit to the CoB.
“My accounting education at SIU provided me with a strong foundation for my professional career,” Hartley said.
He presently works for UHY LLP in St. Louis, as a principal and virtual chief information officer. Before accepting his current position, Hartley served as vice president and CIO for Arch Coal, the second largest publicly traded coal company in the United States. He also has 20 years of Big 4 consulting and auditing experience.
However, Hartley views work not as assigned duties, but more like personal goals or a lifestyle. He excels by working in a field where his personal interests are a part of his job descriptions. This is exactly what has happened for him in his current post.
“I’ve got a very cool job where I get to help businesses figure out really interesting and complex challenges,” Hartley said.
As a principal, Hartley provides strategic technology advice to middle-market companies. As virtual CIO, advises clients about things like strategic roadmap development, third-party risk management, privacy, and digital transformation.
“I love helping clients solve their toughest business challenges – specifically how to leverage technology to increase revenues, manage costs, improve customer retention etc.,” Hartley said.
Hartley’s experience as a public company CIO combined with his background as a CPA and CISA enables him to bring unique insights into today’s technology, cybersecurity and business challenges. He has authored several articles and whitepapers and is a frequent speaker at technology and cybersecurity conferences and seminars.
His success recently led to him being named the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Visionary Award from the Missouri Society of CPAs. He was recognized at the MOCPA Awards Celebrations in St. Louis on Nov. 15. Hartley was nominated for the award by his firm and selected for the award by an independent panel of CPAs.
The award is given to CPAs who have excelled in advancing the profession. The award nominees are assessed on their innovation, leadership, foresight, enhancement of peers, promotion of the profession’s benevolence and dedication to the improvement of the profession.
“Amazing” and “humbling” are words that Hartley uses to describe how it feels to receive the award.
“I don’t know that I feel I deserve the award,” he said. “I’m just doing my job. But the recognition is great and appreciated.”
Peers say Hartley’s award is well-deserved. He is known for his will to create innovative solutions for emerging technology and for sharing advice and expertise on technology strategies for CPAs. He embraces the change of technology and what opportunities it will bring to him and his peers and he’s well known in his field. Hartley developed a “Seven Step Personal Action Plan” that he shares with CPAs to help prevent fraud and safeguard clients from data breaches.
“I am trying to push things forward, make our clients aware of emerging risks and give presentations to try to educate people, but I guess I never termed it as a ‘visionary’,” Hartley said.
Hartley supports advancement of future generations of CPAs by sitting on the board of advisors for the School of Accountancy, which he’s done since 1999. In 1995, he also aided in the revamping of the school’s information technology audit curriculum.
“I love teaching younger professionals and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained and mistakes I’ve made over a 27-year career,” Hartley said.
He is also the vice president, a board member, and the former treasurer of Memory Care Home Solutions, a not-for-profit organization that helps improve the time spent at home for families caring for members with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. He enjoys offering his expertise on a volunteer basis to this organization.
“Your job is one thing, but if you can contribute in multiple aspects of your life, that is one of the pieces that makes for a very fulfilling career,” Hartley said.
He shares his outlook regarding mistakes that can occur and avoiding complacency. He found that he was putting himself under a lot of pressure in the beginning of his career simply by fearing human mistakes.
“While striving for perfection and excellence is a very laudable goal, recognizing that mistakes will happen is important,” he said. “We are all human. In fact, if you’re not pushing yourself into new areas, learning new things and making mistakes, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough and likely won’t achieve your full potential.”
Hartley’s very diverse experiences have contributed to his versatility and his success. He has served in auditor, management, executive, accounting and IT roles and jokes about being a “non-traditional CPA.”
“I think that gives me somewhat of a unique perspective to understand what people’s needs are,” Hartley said.
CoB is proud to call Hartley both an alumnus and an outstanding visionary.