Students’ Outlook on Accounting Careers
Published February 15, 2019
About Priyanka: Priyanka Kapur has been a KSCPA student member for a little over a year. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in accounting in May 2018 and is currently a Master of Accounting Student planning to graduate in May 2019. Priyanka did an internship with a small CPA firm in Wichita called Larson and Company, P.A. during her last year of college. Priyanka is also involved in Beta Alpha Psi as a member and participates in its mentorship program at the University of Kansas. After graduating from the MAcc program this spring, Priyanka plans to get her CPA license and will embark on her career at KPMG in Dallas as an auditor in September 2019.
About Colby: Colby Woods has been a KSCPA student member for a little over a year. She obtained her Bachelor of Accounting at Wichita State University in 2018 and is currently pursuing a Master of Accounting. She is involved as an officer and member of Beta Alpha Psi, a member of the KSCPA, and will be volunteering as a first time VITA tax preparer this tax season. Colby works full time as an accounts receivable accountant at Spirit Aerosystems, where she interned for two years prior. After graduation from the MAcc program this fall, Colby plans to begin studying for the CPA exam.
What do you see the profession looking like in five years? What do you ‘want’ it to look like in five years? What are you most excited about for the future?
Priyanka: In five years, I believe the accounting industry will be more integrated and hopefully use artificial intelligence to help with the menial tasks so that humans can work on the more higher-level tasks. I want the accounting industry to be more technologically based because business analytics is everywhere and it’s a requirement for most schools during grad school, so it would be more beneficial and integrated for the current and future generations. I’m looking forward to learning more about the accounting industry and computer coding software because I think it would make the accounting profession even more interesting!
Colby: In five years, I see the accounting industry being significantly more integrated with the IT and/or MIS path. I think that a lot of employers and schools are realizing the importance, and quite frankly the power, of having accountants be both accounting savvy AND technology savvy. At my own workplace, any technology skills, whether it be coding, Excel knowledge, ERP system knowledge, bring great value to the accounting skill set. Not only can we troubleshoot accounting issues, but we can simultaneously look at our problems from a systems perspective, and ultimately draft more realistic long-term solutions. It's a powerful combination in my opinion, and I'm doing everything to I can to learn more about those skills and put myself ahead of the inevitable curve. Not only do I see this as the potential future for our career, but I see it as an ideal addition to our already technical skill set as accountants. Data analysis can become a cumbersome task, but if you have the right technical knowledge, some of the pain can be mediated whether your datasets are small or large. I'm most excited about the fact that we can incorporate those two skillsets to become better accountants!
Why did you choose the accounting career path, and why should other young professionals consider going into accounting?
Priyanka: I chose the accounting career field because I grew up around this type of path. Both my parents are CPAs and have a master’s in accounting and I’ve always wanted to do the same. However, it took me a while to figure out what major combination I wanted to do in college, but I ended with an accounting major and a business analytics concentration. I figured this combination would allow me to be better fit for the growth in business analytics in the accounting field and it prepared me for the track I’m currently pursuing: audit. I thoroughly enjoy accounting because the career is dynamic and there’s so much you can do in accounting in any industry and it’s a stable path. So, if you’re looking for job security, go for accounting!
Colby: Originally, I started out as an engineering major, but quickly learned that was not the path for me. I really enjoyed the technical aspect of it, but I had always enjoyed business classes more than science or technical math. I just thought about what classes I enjoyed in high school and decided to try accounting, and I loved it. I still love it today, and I’m so grateful that I found a field that I truly enjoy. There are endless opportunities within this career path, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys thinking analytically and problem-solving. Accountants are needed everywhere, so it’s a stable field that is high in demand!
What extracurricular activities did you participate in throughout college? If they were relevant for your career path, what skills did you improve as a result of your involvement in those activities?
Priyanka: Since my junior year of college, I’ve participated in an accounting major organization, Beta Alpha Psi. BAP has prepared me for what other companies are looking for as they are recruiting for the upcoming years and improving interviewing skills so that we can impress the companies we interview with and quickly get an internship. Another organization I’ve been a part of for a year or so is the KSCPA. This organization has really helped me with networking and understanding more of the accounting career and talk to other accounting professionals about their experiences. I’ve also been a part of this mentorship program and occasionally go to the events from school. It’s definitely worth getting involved in school because it allows you to get connected with your peers and professionals. I’ve also been involved in volunteering organizations and extracurricular activities such as a dance group called KU Jeeva and Southeast Asian Student Association to get me more involved with the Indian and Asian communities at my school.
Colby: I was, and continue to be, heavily involved with Beta Alpha Psi during my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Beta Alpha Psi provides endless networking opportunities, allowing you to become so familiar with recruiters that you’re on a first name basis. That kind of networking and exposure to employers is exactly what students need to begin building their professional skills. I am also involved with KSCPA as a student member. I’ve helped on the mentorship project and occasionally go to events to network. KSCPA is also a wonderful opportunity to establish great connections and friends, so I highly recommend that for students as well!
What advice do you have for students entering the workforce and those who are still struggling with networking?
Priyanka: Honestly, it’s a little intimidating when you first start networking and putting yourself out there to other companies. But, it definitely helps you build self-confidence and a network that you could potentially use in the future for whatever reason. A good start to your career journey would be to join some type of organization that could help you in your career, including Beta Alpha Psi and a similar CPA organization. From then on, start to attend events and getting involved in activities to get to know your fellow peers and seek advice from working professionals. Other professionals will notice that you’re putting in the hard work and effort, so make it a point to put yourself out there and sell yourself!
Colby: It sounds easy, but it really is intimidating to put yourself out there. However, this is the only way that you’re going to build your network and your confidence. A starting point is becoming a member of an organization. This could be the KSCPA, Beta Alpha Psi, or a similar group for the finance and accounting profession. From there, begin to build your network by attending events and getting involved with the activities of that organization. Once you start doing that, networking will come naturally. If you’re attempting to be involved with the organization as a young professional, people will notice that, so always put yourself out there!
Join the discussion!
What do you remember about the beginning of your career in accounting?
What do you want the profession to look like in five years?
The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs.