B.B.A. Finance ’84
Certified Management Accountant & Certified Public Accountant,
Cathleen S. Hahn CMA CPA LLC
Money makes the world go ‘round, especially UAA alumna Cathleen Hahn’s world. With dual professional certifications as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Cathleen’s days are filled crunching numbers.
Getting a college degree was always on the to-do list for this Anchorage native. After a temporary stint in Yakima, Wash.—where she earned her high school diploma—Cathleen moved home and enrolled in courses at UAA in 1975.
Her experience doing the books for her family’s local security business led her to seek a degree in business with an emphasis on finance.
“I wanted to gain a broad financial background,” says Cathleen. “Somebody has to know the numbers, how you accumulate information and transactions, deal with paperwork and tax returns, and handle compliance issues with the federal government. These kinds of things seemed to naturally fall on my desk and it was important for me to understand not only how to do all of these things, but why I was doing them.”
Newly married with two young daughters, Cathleen had several balls in the air during her studies at UAA, but after nine years she managed to earn her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance degree in 1984.
“A college education was always important for me to have, so it was all worth the effort.”
Diploma in hand, Cathleen earned her CMA certification and continued working for the family business for the next 20 or so years. But after two decades, she reached the point in her professional life that she couldn’t grow any further. “I needed a new challenge,” she says.
Cathleen returned to UAA to take a series of three tax courses to explore her interest of the topic. “I was at a transition point in my career, but I wasn’t really considering becoming a CPA,” she says. A convincing professor encouraged Cathleen to apply for an internship with a local accounting firm, which she landed, and after just three months a permanent job offer was on the table.
Surrounded by accounting colleagues who were abuzz studying for the CPA exam, Cathleen—already a CMA—decided to also sit for (and passed) the intense two-day, four-part exam.
After three years at the accounting firm, Cathleen went into business for herself and started Cathleen S. Hahn CMA CPA LLC in 2001. Specializing in real estate, Cathleen works as a tax and financial advisor to individuals and small businesses.
Always one to be connected, Cathleen served as the university’s student body president during her final year at UAA. “I have good memories of my time at UAA,” Cathleen says. “I think UAA is a good school. Classes are small, yet diverse, and you feel like you’re a part of the education process. That’s important to me, to be a part of the community.”
As an alumna, Cathleen remains connected with her alma mater as a leadership level donor and served for seven years on the UAA Alumni Association Board of Directors. She also currently serves on the Chancellor’s Task Force on Alumni Relations.
“Having strong support from the Anchorage business community is important for UAA, and I wanted to do what I could to help improve the visibility of the university,” she says.