By Jennifer Rieman, CAE, manager, public relations
“But what do you actually do all day?” asked ACAP-Ohio student Alexander Ushry to a
CPA, saying out loud what a lot of high school students probably wonder when they think
about a career in accounting.
It’s that type of uncertainty that ACAP-Ohio is designed to clear up, and judging from the results of the program, now in its 21st year, it works.
Each June, 45 minority high school students from across Ohio gather at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business for an immersive week-long experience in all things accounting and business.
“It’s my first big experience on a campus,” said Tyler Johnson, a student from Grove City. “You have all of these different speakers that have accomplished so much in their lives, and they’re talking to us and spreading their message. It’s really interesting.”
The students meet with CPAs in public accounting and industry, learn professional skills and participate in a case study competition. By the end of the program, many students are convinced that accounting is the career path to pursue.
“I never knew there were so many opportunities in accounting,” said Lawrence Arthur, a student from Columbus. “I always thought the typical stereotype that accountants sit down and crunch numbers and do taxes, but there are so many different things you can do.”
Students had a lot of questions about what it takes to succeed in the industry. Some were concerned that accountants work alone, a myth Plante Moran’s campus recruiter Jennifer DiCesare quickly put to rest.
“I want to see someone who has a desire to keep learning,” DiCesare said. “You don’t have to be the loudest personality, but you do need to feel comfortable in team situations. You have to like to collaborate and work with other smart people.”
Beyond educating students about accounting career possibilities, ACAP-Ohio motivates students to develop a plan for professional success. Kenya Watts, CPA, spoke about finding a mentor, doing what you love and finding gratitude, even during challenging personal and professional moments.
Speakers and sponsors return year after year because they see the difference ACAP-Ohio makes in the lives of students.
The Ohio CPA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that funds scholarships and programs that raise awareness for accounting and CPA careers. You can help build the pipeline of future CPAs by donating to The Ohio CPA Foundation. Learn more at www.ohiocpafoundation.org.