My ideal career is in accounting. I have determined that this field is best suited for me through career assessment tests, learning styles assessments and by actually working in this field for several years. I have been interested in accounting since taking my first accounting class in high school. It was then that I found that not only was I good at bookkeeping but also enjoyed it. From my Learning Style Graph (Toft, 2006) I discovered that I equally reflect two learning styles: “Why? mode” and “What if? mode.” My knack for understanding people and ability to recognize problems are strengths I posses in the “Why? mode.” On the other side of the graph my drive to get things done and my leadership capabilities are both examples of the “What if mode.”
This coincides with the results of my VAK assessment (Chislett & Chapman, 2006) that shows I prefer to learn by actually doing rather than by seeing. Both learning styles are advantageous in the accounting field because problem solving is fundamental to balancing spreadsheets. I ascertained from the Jung Type Personality Test (Human Metrics, , 2005) that my personality type was ENFP. This test confirms that I am apt at multitasking and have abundant people skills. This again is very useful in all aspects of an accounting career. While my past experience as a waitress and other food service positions may not be directly related to accounting, it taught me many transferable skills. Some of these are multitasking, listening and prioritizing.
I also developed other transferable skills necessary in the accounting field while working as a night auditor. Not only did I learn actual hands-on accounting, but also cultivated my problem-solving skills. It was my responsibility to find any accounting mistakes and correct them each night. I enjoyed this part of my job so much, on slow nights I would hope that someone on a previous shift made a mistake just so I could find and correct it.
Eventually, my manager began coming to me to troubleshoot errors for her. I feel a job as a Certified Public Accountant would be a perfect career choice for me because it would utilize many of my transferable skills. I could also draw on experience already gained as a bookkeeper, retail office manager, and presently as an accounting assistant. My work ethic of staying until the job is done along with my enjoyment in troubleshooting would be a tremendous asset as a CPA as well. Career Profile
The jobs available to me at my current level of education and experience are limited to the data entry and bookkeeping aspects of accounting. My experience to date has taken me about as far as I can get in this field of accounting. Now, I must earn a degree to advance any further. However, once I earn my bachelor’s degree in accounting and obtain my required Certified Public Accountant license, many more job opportunities will be available to me. Some of these jobs would include Internal Auditor, Controller, and Management Accountant or, with enough experience, even a Vice President of Finance. A lot is depending on the size of the company I work for and the area of accounting I choose. At this point my goal is to work for a larger public accounting firm to acquire experience in many aspects of public accounting. I am particularly interested in forensic accounting and internal auditing.
While working for a public accounting firm as a CPA I could earn from $34,000 to $95,000 per year according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2008). But, considering my education level and my experience I would probably earn more in the mid range of $43,500 upwards to $72,000. My duties would be dependent on the actual position I hold but could include tax preparation, consulting, auditing, verification of client company’s records and even preparing financial statements for clients.
In an entry level position at a public accounting firm the skill set I have already acquired will be very useful. My experience in bookkeeping as an accounting assistant at present will help prepare me for the data entry assignments usually associated with entry level positions. As my position progresses within the firm, I will be relying more on the knowledge I learn while earning my degree.
One of the advantages to being a CPA within a large firm is that you have the opportunity to work in many areas of accounting for many varied company clients. This will give me a multifaceted experience level not easily obtained while working independently or for a smaller firm. I hope to have the opportunity to do some forensic accounting work where I would prove suspected embezzlement within a client’s company (S. Westfield, personal interview, August 1, 2008).
Some of the most prevalent disadvantages to an occupation in this field are the hours necessary. As a CPA with a large accounting firm I would expect a typical work week of 40 to 50 hours. But, during the tax season, January through April, it could be as many as 70 hours per week (S. Westfield, personal interview, August 1, 2008). Since I have already been employed within the accounting industry for some time now, my family and I are used to the long hours and fluctuation during busy times.
I am considering seeking employment opportunities at several local companies. One such company is based in Ionia, Michigan with a satellite office in Ada, Michigan. Both of these offices are within ten miles of my home. This is a smaller firm but I have worked for one of their clients in the past and have had the opportunity to get to know and work with several members of their staff. Another potential employer is Plante Moran. This is a much larger firm with offices in Western Michigan as well. “Plante Moran was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of ‘100 Best companies to work for’ for the tenth consecutive year” (Plante Moran, 2008). Finally, I am considering advancement within the company I am currently working for, The Hanover Group. They have offices all over the country with major focus in Howell, Michigan as well as my current location in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Education Plan
Courses Required I plan to take only two courses per semester for the following year because of personal circumstances. I think this is the best course of action to balance my education with other aspects of my life at this time. If the opportunity arises where it is not absolutely necessary for me to work full time, I would like to take on more of a course load. Until that happens, I am content to take my time so as to ensure a happy balance with my family, career and studies.
The courses I think will be more difficult and less inspiring for me are the mathematics and composition classes. It may seem funny that a person so interested in accounting would shy away from math classes, but I have never had the opportunity to study algebra. I know that if I have trouble with my math courses there is free tutoring available through the Library Information Commons on campus. I am also anxious about the composition courses for much of the same reasons. I have never had to do a term paper. I have always had trouble getting the first draft down on paper, but do well at proof reading and editing. I think I have started to overcome this hang-up by composing on the computer. I can type and correct much faster than I can write. I am now able to get my thoughts down on paper before they flutter away. Plus, editing is now a breeze. Davenport DUES
All of the Davenport University DUES skills are important to all careers. In the accounting fields, in particular, honesty and integrity are essential. If you are advising a client on financial matters, you must be above reproach. You must also be able to think globally because seldom are financial matters just a local concern. Teamwork is also another important skill for an accountant, even if self-employed. Your client and you make up a team and if you can not work together with your client, you will not be able to keep that client. In this growing technological world, the accounting industry is keeping pace. Today most accounting is done through computers and being knowledgeable of the current accounting software is imperative. Educational Goals beyond College
After obtaining my Associates degree in Accounting, I plan to work on my bachelor’s degree and then become a licensed CPA. I have found that to become a licensed CPA in Michigan I will need to successfully complete a four part Accountants examination administered by the National Association of State Board of Accountancy (CPA exam dates, 2008) as well as meet certain licensing requirements. The requirements to apply for the CPA examination are just part of what is required to obtain a CPA license. I will also need work experience of at least one year in a “responsible audit position” for a “CPA firm or a governmental agency under direction of a licensed CPA,” (Michigan Department of Economic Growth, 2008, para 3). Conclusion
I have learned many things during this project, most of which came from the research I did on the various career choices available in accounting. After speaking with a professional in this field, (S Westfield, personal communication, July, 2008), I have now decided that I aspire to be a Certified Public Accountant. While researching the requirements to be licensed as a CPA in Michigan, I found that they are more involved and time consuming than I had first imagined.
This career goal will require more time than originally anticipated but, has the potential to be even more financially rewarding that I first thought. I look forward to seeing this career dream become a reality. I also learned from the required career and learning assessments that I have, in fact, chosen the correct career path for me. My identified transferable skills, some of which are problem solving and organizing, will be very useful in my chosen career goal of becoming a CPA. This project has also helped me see some of the areas I need to improve such as in note taking and developing enhanced memory skills. Mission Statement
My mission is to fully utilize my many transferable skills, previous work experiences as well as my current and future education to become a self-employed Certified Public Accountant. Through achieving my short-term goal of earning my bachelor’s degree in accounting, I will have accomplished the first half of the requirements necessary. My mid-range goal is to become licensed as a CPA. Finally, with the experience attained while becoming licensed, I will establish my own small CPA firm. I know that by applying myself and staying focused I will be able to reach this goal before I retire.
Courtney from Study Moose
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