For more than two decades, Monique Sharp has quite literally shown The Woodlands the money. As assistant general manager for finance administration for The Woodlands Township, Sharp works to ensure the financial integrity of the township's assets and financial records.

Most recently, she helped compile the township's 2014 budget, a plan that includes a fifth straight property tax decrease.

Under Sharp's direction, the township's finance department oversees sales and use taxes generated within the township, as well as the hotel occupancy tax that fund the community's programs. The township's financial department also presents reports to the township board of directors each month in public meetings, a report that includes monthly revenue from sales and property taxes.

Sharp graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and soon after went to work for Sonat Exploration Oil and Gas. Later, she worked in financial management for American General Corporation.

During her time there, Sharp and her husband, Jim, would often visit The Woodlands to visit family, she said.

"We fell in love with The Woodlands and decided this was where to wanted to raise our family," Sharp said.

In 1992, Sharp and her family moved to The Woodlands. It was then when she began her career working in financial management in The Woodlands, working for what was then known as The Woodlands Community Association.

When The Woodlands Township was established in 2008, Sharp was named assistant general manager for financial administration for the township.

How did you get your start in financial management?

Accounting always appealed to me in college, so I became an accountant. I worked in my 20s for other companies. I started with The Woodlands Community Association in 1992. I fell in love with the community and found the job so interesting. As opportunities came for different positions, I have been able to take them and work my way up in management positions. I have been in this position since 2001.

What makes this job different from others in other cities?

The township is sort of an anomaly. It's not a true city and so there are challenges and interesting things that have come with that. The fact that I have always worked in a community that is growing [is different]. I have been here for 21 years and we're still years away from being developed. I enjoy all the different layers, of government and of service provider. It has been great developing all those working relationships. And the township offers initiative and creativity that typical governments don't always get to enjoy.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The number of activities that we are involved in and trying to make sure that I'm as knowledgeable on those as I can be [is the most challenging]. A big part of my job is budgeting and financial planning, so I need to understand not only the numbers part of it, but also the concept.

Now that the budget has been approved, how does your job change?

Now I get to catch up on everything that fell behind when the budget started. But the budget is one of my favorite pats of my job. I'm also in charge of financial reporting, cash management and debt management, so that also takes up a significant part of my time. I am responsible for information technology and records management. [Records management] is a huge task—everything we do generates some type of record. We have to be very organized.

What is the process of formulating the township budget?

Our budget process is now actually a yearlong process, although most of the work is done in March through August. The beginning of March is when we distribute budget worksheets to all of our department managers, and the departments put all of their individual line items together. Those worksheets are submitted back to accounting in May, and in June and July is when we develop the budget and it is presented to the board.

We have a strategic plan that the board adopted in 2009, and we make sure our budget objectives are going along with that plan.

What is something residents may be surprised to know about the budget?

We have about 1,200 separate line items for the budget, and they are line items budget by month. So we actually budget month by month for January through December. So it's a very detailed and thorough process.

After working with numbers so much, how do you keep your job fresh and rewarding?

One of the things I really like about this is no matter what type of service or activity the township is looking at, there is always some type of financial impact. My job is so much more than just the day-to-day accounting numbers part of it. I get to be involved in the conceptual and operational part of the subject and not just the numbers.