NORTHBRIDGE — Riverdale Mills Corp. sits on a placid stretch of the Blackstone River and turns out products that can end up in significantly more rough-and-tumble environments.

The welded wire mesh made at Riverdale’s plant gets formed into lobster traps that must survive on the ocean’s floor. The mesh also goes into security fencing used at national borders, airports, power plants, prisons and military bases.

The officer keeping watch over finances for Riverdale is Debra A. Krikorian, chief financial officer. An employee of Riverdale since 2014, she previously worked for Walker Magnetics Group Inc. of Worcester and Ionics Inc. of Watertown. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master of business administration degree, both from Bentley University. Ms. Krikorian lives in Marlboro.

With your financial skills, you could have gone to work in any industry. Why manufacturing?

Primarily because when I got out of college, there were a lot of manufacturing companies, and the first job I happened to land was at Ionics in Watertown, and it was manufacturing. Once I got into it, I really liked it. It’s complex … and I like that part of it. So once you get pegged in one industry, it’s hard to switch. So that was only five years. I moved on to Walker Magnetics, and once I was in that, you weren’t going to switch out of manufacturing at that point. And again, I like the complexity of accounting in manufacturing and understanding the whole operation.

How is accounting in manufacturing different from accounting in other fields?

There’s a whole lot of operational accounting that you need to understand, which goes into some very technical (areas) — labor absorption and just how each department interacts, and then you need to understand the full ERP (enterprise resource planning) system that’s integrated among all the different departments. So in a service industry, or something like that, you don’t have any of that operational piece. It’s all just basic expenses. So there’s another whole level in manufacturing,

I haven’t met a lot of women CFOs. Korn Ferry recently estimated that women account for a little over 11 percent of all CFO positions. Do you have any thoughts on why that percentage is so low, especially since women seem to be earning the majority of accounting degrees?

You know, that’s a good question. I’m not really sure. I mean, I know I don’t run into a lot of women CFOs in interactions with other companies. And certainly, as I was going through the ranks, all my bosses were men. But yet, you’re right, there are a lot of women in accounting schools, and getting their accounting degrees. There are a lot of women in public accounting. So I’m not sure why they’re not leaving public accounting or going up in the ranks and ending up in the CFO (office).

What do you like about the CFO position?

I like the diversity of it. It’s not like it was years ago, when you were just doing accounting and taxes and things like that. You are interacting with every department. I have my hands in the operations, I have it in sales in this company. I’ve always been involved in the production side of the world. Again, you have to understand all that, to be able to use the ERP system and generate financial statements that make sense and that you can follow. You’re really involved in every aspect of the company. So it’s never boring, it’s never dull. It’s just, you need to know a lot of what’s going on in the company.

Would you encourage other women to aim for CFO jobs, given your experience?

Absolutely. Absolutely. We have a woman here, who’s our accounting manager, and she’s young and her aspirations are to keep moving in that direction, and I try to help her and guide her along those lines. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be CFOs. They can absolutely do that job.

It sounds like being a CFO isn’t just sitting in an office and crunching numbers all day.

Not at all. Not anymore. I don’t even know if it was like that years ago. It’s working with other departments across all lines.

What do you like about the products manufactured here?

They’re fun products.

Are they?

Yeah, the mesh that makes the lobster traps. Lobstering is interesting, I guess the fishing industry is interesting to me. I just like that it’s a good quality product that’s useful. And I mean, there’s a lot of just plain fishermen that need our product.

Riverdale has been in the news lately because of concern about tariffs on steel and aluminum. Do tariffs impact your job as a CFO? How so?

One of my main concerns is cost control, and that was a cost that went out of control last year. So luckily, we were on top of it. We knew it was coming. We had to take other measures to try to control costs in other areas so that we wouldn’t destroy our bottom line. It certainly had an effect on our bottom line, but we also wanted to make sure that it didn’t have a tremendous effect on our customers and our employee base. So we managed. We got through it. Still dealing with it a little bit, but we managed to get through it without any layoffs. We didn’t have a tremendous impact to our customers. And yeah, we took a little bit of hit to the bottom line, but we’re still doing okay. So it had a huge impact on the accounting function to make sure that we could juggle things so that we could offset it in other areas that wouldn’t have an impact on the company itself.