Back to School
PROVO, Utah – Oct 12, 2022 – Most 57-year-olds aren’t thinking about heading back to school and taking classes. However, Lyn Ellis, a 1985 accounting graduate of the BYU Marriott School of Business, found herself doing exactly that. Several years ago, Ellis was searching for ways to grow in her career. She decided to earn her certified management accountant (CMA) certification, and she knew that she would have a better chance of passing the two-part exam if she took prep classes.
Throughout her career, Ellis has juggled both motherhood and work. Five years ago, Ellis began working full-time, landing an accounting job with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here, craving career growth, Ellis decided to pursue her CMA. Her ambitions paid off; Ellis soon received a job promotion and moved to Beehive Clothing Manufacturing, a church-owned company.
Ellis passed the first part of the exam in 2020 and the second part in 2021. “The church offered prep classes and supplied my study materials,” she says. “It was like going back to school, only I didn’t have to pay for it.”
Passing the exam is no easy feat. The test, which covers 12 areas of competency, was updated in 2020 to include more current and difficult material. Unlike the better-known CPA license, the CMA certification applies to the managerial instead of the public realm, which meshes better with Ellis’s current responsibilities.
“In manufacturing, my CMA certification is incredibly useful,” she says. “At Beehive, we made garments and temple clothing. I analyzed financial accounts to ensure their accuracy.” Her CMA continues to pay dividends. Ellis was recently promoted to senior accountant and now works in the welfare department at Deseret Mill and Pasta, where she says her CMA certification will continue to be useful.
One of the reasons Ellis loves her job is the church’s overarching mission. “Our cause is the best,” she says. “We’re helping to build the kingdom of God and prepare for the second coming of our Savior.” This mission was important to Ellis even before she began working at Beehive.
Within the walls of her home, Ellis focused on helping her family spiritually. “I was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years,” she says, “and this decision was the right one for us. All four of our children served missions and were married in the temple. I’m grateful to have played a role in that.”
Ellis also credits BYU Marriott for her opportunities. “The school has been a big part of my life,” she says, explaining that she chose her career and found her husband while a student at BYU. At that time, a preliminary career assessment prompted Ellis to explore accounting, and she was hooked after the first class. Ellis, however, notes the repetitive nature of bookkeeping. “It’s the accounting theory and analysis that make the profession fun and enjoyable,” she says.
Ellis and her husband, Lyle Ellis, a CPA, first met in a cost accounting class at BYU Marriott, and their early interactions centered on accounting. “Our dates were basically studying in the Tanner Building,” observes Ellis. The couple still enjoys accounting so much that the subject continues to come up in their daily conversations.
Although Ellis’s career path has not been easy, her persistence and trust in God’s plan have opened many doors. “When you have the Spirit, you accomplish the Lord’s work,” she says. “He is always there for me and helps me find joy in life.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Jaden McQuivey