September 21, 2023

Kayla Smith: Right on Time

If you’ve ever gotten an email reminder to approve your MyTime hours, it probably came from UMW Payroll Accountant Kayla Smith.

But does she ever forget to approve her own?

Kayla Smith

UMW Payroll Accountant Kayla Smith. Photo by Karen Pearlman

“I can honestly say that my timecard is always approved by the deadline,” said Smith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration (with a focus in accounting) at Mary Washington.

Her precision isn’t surprising, considering her professional world – analyzing reports, handling reconciliations, reviewing timecards – revolves around accuracy.

She was working as an accountant in Washington, D.C., when she saw an opening at her alma mater and “couldn’t resist.”

“This campus is full of beautiful memories for me,” said Smith, who’s pursuing a master’s degree and hopes to become a CPA. “It’s truly an amazing place to be, both as a student and as an employee.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: When I feel like I truly helped someone, even if it was just assisting with a leave request. I also get to be part of an extremely dedicated group of individuals who work diligently every day to ensure that payroll operations run smoothly.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Payroll is a complex machine with lots of small working parts. We have to make complicated calculations that impact peoples’ pay. We’re responsible for interpreting and abiding by policies. It can be intimidating. Thankfully there’s no shortage of knowledge at UMW and there’s always someone to check behind me!

butterfly picture

Princess Bubblegum and Butterflies by Maggie Smith

Q: What’s the best thing in your office?
A: My 5-year-old daughter, Maggie, drew a picture called “Princess Bubblegum and butterflies.” Every time I look at it, I smile. It’s like having a small piece of her with me all day to motivate me.

Q: Is accounting as boring as some people think?
A: Accounting is so fun! There are always opportunities to learn and grow. It’s never-ending and always changing. It’s rewarding to solve complicated problems by analyzing and sorting data. It feels like such an accomplishment each time you find a solution!

Q: What do you think of MyTime?
A: It’s a fantastic program. It does a great job of generating reports for supervisors and employees, and catching timecard errors. I’ve used several timekeeping systems, and I’d definitely say that MyTime is my favorite.

Q: Do you feel like a MyTime “mom” with your email reminders?
A: I wouldn’t say that I feel like anyone’s mom; we’re all a team here! Everyone is working hard every day under deadlines and priorities unique to their department. We just want to make sure that timecards – and the payroll – are accurate.

Q: Any budgeting tips for non-accountant types?
A: I keep a spreadsheet for my personal finances. I usually have a couple months forecasted to help prevent overspending and to budget for special events and activities.

Q: What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I played bass clarinet in middle school band. We were pretty good!

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: A quote from Paula Coelho’s The Alchemist inspires me: “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” It’s the idea that no matter what stage of life we’re in, we can always change course and fulfill our dreams.