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Accounting makes for a fulfilling second career

Written on Feb 10, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager 

There are more transferrable skills from a priest to an accountant than you might think, as one CPA can attest. 

“I feel as a CPA, that people are coming to me for guidance, and people are coming to me for help,” said Bob Wardega. “But unless I really listened to them and know what kind of help they need, I don't really have much of a chance of really being able to help them.” 

Those listening skills Wardega honed during his 14 years as a Catholic priest. He was ordained in 1974 and worked as a priest at three separate churches in the Cleveland area. During this time, he prepared homilies to read every Sunday, worked to educate young students and visited the sick in hospitals, among other responsibilities.  

The skills he picked up over the years translated well to accounting, as he regularly dealt with deadlines and understood the importance of preparation. 

For those interested in accounting as a second career, Wardega said there are some variables to consider. It’s helpful to be detail oriented and be able to juggle multiple tasks at a time. Having a mentor or someone in the accounting profession you can go to for help to ask questions is also crucial, Wardega said. 

And while the educational requirements can seem intimidating, he said it’s worth it to see the process through to the end. 

“I realize these days, there are more educational requirements to sit for the exam than there was when I was there,” he said. “But if you take them one course at a time, one day at a time, little by little, you can get done. Becoming a CPA is not something you can do in a week or two, but it is something you can do if you take it one step at a time.” 

Hear more from Wardega on what it’s like having a second career as a CPA after being a Catholic priest on the State of Business podcast