To celebrate international youth day, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin asks professionals aged under 35 to share their thoughts on the profession: why they qualify as accountants, whether it was challenging and, now that they are in, how they see the profession and where it is going.
Jeff Wilson II
During my undergrad years, I would not say that accounting was my primary interest. My primary interest was Business Administration and learning how businesses operate. I was very keen on how certain business models work and how they obtained the numbers they reported. My father had a small business, which led me into business and wanting to learn how to create a good one. As an undergraduate I was told of Warren Buffett, that “Accounting is the language of Business”. Once I understood that, I wanted to speak business fluently and as a result, I took on an accounting major and never looked back.
My current view of the profession is quite different from when I initially started. I thought that I was going to work with the TV depicted bunch of “Supernerds” with pocket protectors and glasses. Also, coming from a small Historically Black College and University (HBCU) I thought my work peers would be like my college peers. Yet none of my pre-judgements of the industry were correct and every accountant I met was not the introvert i expected. I also found out that the industry was not initially as diverse as I would have thought.
Since then the industry has changed a lot as the world have become more connected via technology and financial relationships. For one, I see that the industry has become more diverse. I think that there has been a conscious decision for organizations to hire individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. The accounting industry now understands that diversity isn’t just a Human Resource hallmark, but also just good business sense.
Professional institutions such as the AICPA and state organizations like the MACPA do a great job of advocating for the industry and developing young CPA talent. I think these professional organizations recognize the importance of educating young CPA members about the profession and getting this generation involved. Through programs such as the National and State Leadership Academy, the profession has done a great job in building the pipeline of the next leaders for the accounting industry.
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My outlook for the industry is extremely opportunistic, whether you’re working at a global firm or a small local accounting firm, the possibilities are endless. The technological changes and continued globalization of business has created an abundance of opportunity. The need for the strategic thinking of CPAs has opened opportunities to industries such a Financial Planning, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and Forensic Accounting.