The 2019 Top 25 Consultants: Debbie Zaller

Debbie Zaller

Schellman & Company

Excellence in Leadership

Like many Top 25 Consultants throughout the years, Debbie Zaller entered the profession by accident. While in college studying accounting, Zaller was provided an internship at Arthur Andersen within their IT audit group. “This experience pulled me away from financial auditing towards the technology side,” she says.   

That move laid the groundwork for where she is today—a Partner at Schellman & Company leading the SOC 2, SOC 3 and Privacy service lines. As practice leader, she is responsible for internal training, personnel development, methodology creation and quality reporting. She also leads the firm’s Midwest market. 

Ask her to list her proudest professional accomplishments and she’ll say being recognized as a subject matter expert by the AICPA and becoming the first female partner at Schellman & Company. 

Indeed. 

The biggest factor to her success so far, she says, is “a combination of surrounding yourself with a great team, learning from my mistakes, and my very supportive husband.”  

Zaller has over 19 years of IT compliance and attestation experience. Debbie is currently an AICPA-approved and nationally listed SOC Specialist. She serves as an active member of the Business Committee for the MidAmerica Club and serves as an Advisory Board Member. Debbie was on the AICPA Task Force for the Advanced SOC for Certification Exam and was a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants Board of Governors.

“I’ve always been driven to learn as much as I can and to find areas that could be performed more efficiently,” Zaller says. “Simply performing a set of daily tasks has never been enough for me. A hunger for information and solutions to complex problems not only motivates me but it also helps my clients with the difficult task of compliance.  I encourage my team to do the same every day.”

Working alongside that team—filled with smart colleagues—is one of the aspects of consulting she enjoys most, she says. “Also, the variety of clients of different sizes across many different industries provides the most enjoyment,”Zaller says. “It’s not your typical nine-to-five job.  The variety helps a person learn and grow especially in a field such as technology that is continually changing.”

And as far as being recognized as one of this years’ Top 25 Consultants, Zaller says it’s an honor. 

“This profession is huge! So many talented and smart professionals across the world are included in this large profession,” she says. “To be considered one of the top 25 from such a prestigious magazine in the industry is a great honor. It is my new, biggest achievement that I’m most proud of in my career.”

What’s the best advice—professional or other-wise—that you’ve ever received? 

Zaller: “I know this sounds cliché but there is no ‘I’ in team.  I am very focused on developing and fostering a team environment.  I tell all new recruits that this is my focus and the kind of environment that has made us all what we are today.  Even at home, my husband and I are a team in life.” 

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