108 – Implementer or Visionary (or why accountants can do cool stuff too!) with Derek Carter

Derek Carter Ceterus

Derek Carter was racing along the path to partnership at a large accounting firm. He had an accounting degree and years of experience busting his ass, taking on more responsibility and leading within the organization. He was managing people and working with autonomy in a large organization.

But his former colleague, Levi Morehouse, kept trying to sell him on leaving. They had worked together before Levi started Ceterus and had been pushing for Derek to join ever since. Eventually, Derek decided to make the leap into the startup world.

He’s now the COO of Ceterus, one of the most innovative and fastest growing accounting startups in the country.

Derek shares his backstory, from how he chose to pursue accounting, to deciding to leave his good job at a big firm to join a startup.

Derek is an outstanding example of an implementer joining with a visionary to make big things happen. If you’re working in a traditional role and excited by the possibility of working with a startup, there’s a ton of wisdom for you in this episode.

Covered in this episode:

  • Learning competitiveness from baseball
  • Deciding to pursue an accounting degree
  • What made Northwood University great
  • What are the common characteristics of accountants
  • Why sales skills are necessary to progress as a public firm accountant
  • Derek’s experience starting his career at a large public accounting firm
  • The disconnect between auditing classes in college and auditing reality
  • How did Derek become convinced to leave his stable job to join Ceterus
  • Making the switch from a large established company to a startup
  • What does Derek look for when hiring for Ceterus
  • The decision-making process behind seeking outside investment for Ceterus
  • Advice for implementers who want to work in cool fields, but don’t want to be visionaries
  • Current Opportunities at Ceterus


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