The Morning Man
PROVO, Utah – May 09, 2022 – Mornings are when Joseph Appiah shines. As a young boy, he remembers waking up early, pulling on his worn slippers, and making his way to a busy highway between Kisi and Komenda, Ghana, to sell donuts before school. Even after relocating to Accra, Appiah continued navigating the bustling city streets before and after school selling the traditional Ghanian “sweet bad” donuts.
Twenty years later, Appiah, an alum of the School of Accountancy (SOA) at the BYU Marriott School of Business, wakes to the Texas sun so he has time to study and write in his journal before he heads to work. Appiah’s current routine is different from the donut-selling days of his childhood, but he is grateful for the early mornings of his youth that helped him develop lifelong habits that lead to success.
“I wake up early every morning, usually at 5 a.m., with an intellectual curiosity to learn something different,” he explains. “I feel like if I go to bed without having learned something different, I'm not fulfilling the full measure of my creation. After I’ve studied, I write down what I’ve learned that day in my journal and think, ‘I know I'm going to come back to this someday.’”
Appiah’s passage to his current life began with a formative visit to a family friend. Years after his donut selling days, a 13-year-old Appiah and his family visited the home of a close friend, a chartered accountant. Amazed by the accountant’s comfortable lifestyle, Appiah resolved to pursue a career in accounting as well.
“I took my first accounting course when I was 14 and loved it. I found myself explaining the material to the other students, and I worked hard to be at the top of my class. For me, accounting was fun,” says Appiah.
Chasing his childhood dream, he made his way to BYU Marriott and graduated in 2003 after completing the integrated, five-year accounting program where he earned both his bachelor’s and MAcc degrees. Following graduation, Appiah developed a new morning routine to continue his love of learning. He now wakes up early before going to work so he can pray, study, and write down what he feels God needs him to do that day.
After his time at BYU Marriott, Appiah continued to further not only his spiritual knowledge but also his technical skills. After beginning his career at EY as a CPA, Appiah made his way to Dell Technologies. Although he began in the Corporate Governance Division, both Appiah and his peers quickly recognized his knack for finance and saw his potential as a finance controller. When Appiah was asked by one of his finance leaders how he became so skilled in finance, his response was simple: “I used to sell donuts when I was eight. Business was ingrained in me from a young age.”
His role as a financial controller marked a shift in his career as Appiah eventually took on roles such as CFO of MinerCorp, a retail and warehouse maintenance service company, and cofounder of shortbench, a company that connects boutique CFO firms with consultants and professionals. Ultimately, he landed in his current role as director of strategic growth at Anaplan, a cloud-based business-planning software company that provides data for decision making purposes.
Whether he is serving as a donut salesperson, controller, strategy consultant, CPA, or CFO, Appiah knows that every experience and job is an opportunity for him to learn. He is also quick to remember his humble beginnings and the people who supported and encouraged him on his journey, such as his mother. Appiah believes God is an equity investor, actively putting particular people and experiences into his life to make sure His equity becomes valuable.
“That's what the Lord has done with me as an equity investor. He gives me skills, knowing full well He will tap into those skills again at some point,” says Appiah.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Marissa Lundeen