By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Students at Youngstown State University recently had the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the accounting profession.
“There's a greater level of flexibility in the career than there used to be, and we want to help demystify the profession,” said Jeremy Schwartz, an assistant professor of accounting at YSU. “And also overcome some of the myths about accounting that are that are out there.”
YSU held an event in November called Accounting Student/Practitioner Day, where students can attend sessions with employers and accounting professionals to learn about the opportunities that come with the major. This is the 26th year for the event, and Schwartz said it’s always been a collaborative effort between those involved.
This year the event offered options for non-accounting majors titled “Why I should care about accounting” and “Why I can’t be an accountant.” In the first session, the presenters were from the HR and marketing fields and spoke to the students about how accounting can be applied in areas of business some students might not expect.
“In the second session we tried to appeal to people with a wide variety of interests,” said Jessie Wright, CPA, assistant professor at YSU and manager at SSB. “This told students that accounting is not just putting numbers in little boxes. What a tax accountant does every day is very different than what a fraud examiner does every day, or an IRS agent or a business valuator.”
Another session offered students the opportunity to talk to early career professionals without employers, allowing them a chance to ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking someone at a more senior level.
“When talking to someone that just graduated last year or two years ago, they could say, ‘What was your biggest challenge transitioning from a student to a professional in your first year?’” said Wright. “Or they might ask things like, ‘How can I distinguish myself or stand out? When is it typical to get promoted?’”
When Wright attended YSU, she said she attended the event and most appreciated the chance to build connections with different types of employers.
“The career path of being trained in accounting really provides limitless opportunities,” Schwartz said. “And this hopefully motivated some students into being open-minded about going further into the curriculum because it's a profession that's in such high demand.”