A New Look at Careers in Accounting

by Min Zhen Chen A few weeks ago, I walked into one of the largest accounting firms in Chicago to meet a wonderful and successful accountant, Dawn Simon. She explained a very different concept of accounting to me. When I asked,“What type of people would enjoy being an accountant?” The response I got was not the response I expected. To respond, she questioned, “Have you ever played Sudoku puzzles before?” She continued expressing her interest in solving puzzles and working through challenging problems to meet the needs of her clients. For her, being an accountant is not just a job to fulfill her financial needs, but it is also satisfying. To reach the position she’s in right now, she gave me advice on courses to take in college and different internship opportunities to take advantages of during college. She suggested courses such as accounting, auditing, and tax classes. Ms. Simon finds being an accountant appealing because it’s a very stable job. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for an accountant is expected to increase by 11% from 2014 to 2024. The increasing demand for accountants make accounting an appealing field for many prospective students. At a very young age, I was exposed to banking because of my father and accounting also caught my attention in internship opportunities that helped me understand more about business. To meet the educational needs for an accountant, one would need to pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. In an interview with Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, an Associate Professor of Accounting at DePaul University and CPA, she explained that students who major in accounting take a combination of accounting, management, marketing, and statistics courses to get a better understanding of business and accounting. Dr. Pope also was able to suggest the type of student that would be a good fit for accounting. Dr. Pope suggested, “I think people that are hard-working, love critical thinking, like challenging business questions, love to working on teams, enjoy travel, can work long hours and are smart would love a career in accounting.” The response I got from the professor was similar to the response from the accountant, which led me to conclude that accounting is for people who love critical thinking and could apply this skill to solve puzzles in a team.

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