Academic background: Bachelors in Anthropology, Masters in Accounting Transitions Track
Previous Role: Social worker with MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Current Role: Staff Auditor
Current Employer: Melanson Heath
How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in accounting?
I've never been someone who had a particular calling towards a career field, but I got to a point when I realized I couldn't stay at my prior employer for the rest of my working life. I tried to figure out what I did like about my jobs in the past and found I enjoyed assignments that dealt more with numbers and financial information. At that point, I took an introductory accounting course to test out if I liked it and the rest is history.
How did you land your position with your current employer? How did Isenberg help you in your career search?
I got my current job directly through Isenberg and its faculty. As part of the transitional program we had to work with the Career Center. They helped shape my resume and prepare me for interviews. I attended the accounting job fair on campus where I was personally introduced by faculty to the Melanson Heath representatives. A couple months later, my resume was forwarded by an Isenberg staff member to a contact at Melanson Heath. After interviewing, the job offer came quickly and I am forever grateful to the Isenberg faculty who helped me achieve this.
What kind of things are you doing now in your accounting role - give us a glimpse into your day?
I am part of a small team of auditors focused on local governments and school districts. We travel throughout most of western MA and usually spend 1-2 weeks going to the clients' location to review their paperwork. The various sections that need to be covered in the audit are split up amongst the team and reviewed by our supervisor. We are ensuring their documentation supports what was recorded in their general ledger and discussing any issues with the client that we may discover. After the fieldwork, we finish up our audit at our office where we also prepare the financial statements for our clients. At any one time, we are usually juggling 5-10 different clients so it's imperative to be organized and productive.
What did you find was the biggest hurdle you faced making this career change?
The biggest hurdle was working full time at my last job while also taking online classes to get my Masters. In particular, the summer of the transitional program was particularly grueling but in the end it saved me a lot of time and money that would've needed to be spent on prerequisites.
Do you feel the effort you made to make this life change was worth it and is it what you expected?
It was completely worth it. I now have a career path whereas I didn't before. There are so many different directions you can take with accounting that I feel like if I don't love a certain position, I don't have to start over. I can just look for something else. I didn't expect my prior skillset to carry over so much to accounting but I'm finding it useful. Despite accounting being about the numbers, you still need to have customer service skills, persuasive abilities, and above all else time management.
What would you tell someone that is considering going back to school to make a career change into accounting?
Don't wait; do it now. There is never a good time to go back to school, and you can always find excuses not to do it. Accounting is a field that is changing because of technology but accountants are still needed and that is not going to change anytime soon. There is stability and respect that comes with the title and you can go anywhere in the world with your new knowledge. Whatever your passion may be, you can tie in accounting in some way since all industries need accountants.