OSCPA building accounting pipeline from high schools

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

The hundreds of high school students filing into the Cleveland State University Student Center on Nov. 16th weren’t there for a typical college tour. Their focus? Accounting, and what it could offer them in college and as a career.

More than 1,000 high school students attended these events this fall, held on five university campuses as part of OSCPA’s Accounting Career Days. During the half-day events, students learn from professionals in both public accounting and industry. They have the chance to ask accounting majors questions and tour the campus.

Meltrice Sharp, CPAThe CSU event opened with an introduction from Sanjay Putrevu, the dean of the College of Business, and then Meltrice Sharp, CPA, managing partner at CLE Consulting Firm, gave students an overview of what accounting can offer.

In addition to recently opening her own business, Sharp teaches classes at Cuyahoga Community College, and she highlighted the variety in her career. The stereotype that accountants sit in an office and only do taxes couldn’t be more wrong, she told the crowd of more than 300 high schoolers.

“This journey can take you anywhere you want to go,” Sharp said.

Sharp has experience in a public accounting firm, at a not-for-profit organization, and in bookkeeping. She pointed out that every industry – from entertainment to pro sports to criminal investigation – needs CPAs.

During the question-and-answer portion, one of the students asked if automation will have any impact on the future of accounting. Sharp explained even with advancements in artificial intelligence, accountants will always be instrumental to businesses for their knowledge and perspective.

“What you’ll be doing is giving businesses what they need to be successful,” Sharp said.

Helping businesses grow and make a difference was the focus of the second speaker, Keith Valore, CPA, Vice President, Finance Global Integration at ‎Sherwin-Williams. He talked about traveling around the world for work and the importance teamwork plays in achieving a common goal.

The day wrapped up with a panel of CSU accounting majors, many of whom had already secured jobs after graduation next year. Students asked questions about the CPA exam, time management and what a typical day is like as an accounting student.

Before the end of the event, when asked by Valore how many students wanted to go into accounting, a multitude of hands shot up around the room.

These events are funded and made possible by the Ohio CPA Foundation. To donate to the Foundation click here

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