Sara Lord
Area of Focus

Sara Lord

Partner, Chief Auditor

About Sara

Sara Lord is a partner and chief auditor of RSM US LLP. She is responsible for oversight of the assurance policy, accounting policy, quality management, assurance innovation, and assurance technology departments. This includes the methodology, tools, training, and thought leadership supporting RSM’s assurance services as delivered today and their evolution into the future. Sara previously served as a member of the RSM US LLP Board of Directors, providing governance and oversight of the firm’s strategic vision.

Sara is the chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board and is a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Standards and Emerging Issues Advisory Group. 


As chief auditor, Sara leads the assurance policy, accounting policy, quality management, audit innovation, and assurance technology departments of RSM. She has a deep knowledge of the auditing standards and the standard-setting process. She leverages this passion and knowledge to influence the audit profession on a broader level through her committee work with the AICPA and Center for Audit Quality and delivery of thought leadership on relevant topics. She provides a middle market perspective ensuring that the voice of the firm and middle market companies is considered as accounting and auditing standards are designed. Sara has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting with a deep understanding of RSM clients, internal teams, and the firm as a whole.

Sara started her career as an auditor at a Big Four firm where she had progressive experience serving clients, holding national roles, and working in global regulatory and public policy. From there, she continued her career journey with a regional accounting firm where she served clients and was a consultation resource for accounting and assurance needs. Ultimately, her passion for the profession led her to join RSM’s audit standards and methodology team in 2012. In her current role, she is focused on developing tools, guidance, and training that enable our auditors to efficiently deliver high-quality assurance services. As part of the assurance practice’s innovation journey, Sara is working with technology tools and practices to continuously examine and evolve the audit process.

As an empathetic leader in a people-centric business, Sara appreciates the opportunity RSM provides to learn from her colleagues and clients. She served on RSM’s regional STAR leadership team and mentorship pilot to help build the firm’s mentoring program for women. She also led and participated in courageous conversations as part of a firm-wide effort to deepen interracial dialogue.

Sara has three children and has been a coach, spectator and supporter of their sports, choral and theatrical performances over the years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking and home improvement projects. Both at home and at work, Sara appreciates the opportunity to make a difference—to feel that what she does matters in big ways and in small ways, both to the firm and to the people with whom she works. Her hope is that the lives she’s touched are better off for having known her.

Professional affiliations and designations

  • Certified public accountant, North Dakota and Minnesota
  • AICPA, current chair of the auditing standards board and former member of the technical issues committee
  • Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • University of North Dakota College of Business, advisory board, 2015 Accounting Hall of Fame inductee
  • PCAOB standards and emerging issues advisory group
  • Center for Audit Quality, former professional practice executive committee and advisory council vice-chair


  • Bachelor of Accountancy, University of North Dakota