In addition to learning the ropes the first few years in accounting, young professionals should also capitalize on their unique opportunity for success.
“The accounting profession is evolving,” said Amber McAuliffe, CPA and learning manager at The Ohio Society of CPAs. “There’s disruption going on and the younger generations really have the opportunity to excel.”
McAuliffe came on the latest episode of The State of Business podcast to discuss what life is like as a young CPA, including the first few years in public accounting, studying for the CPA exam and how to find a career path that’s right for you.
“I had this idea that in public accounting, you’d have four months out of the year you’d be busy,” she said. “You’d have a peak season and the rest of the year you’d get to know your coworkers pretty well and it’d be a little bit more laid back, which was not the case. I started my career in the audit department and I quickly realized in that department you stay in pretty high demand year-round, there are always client projects to work on.”
Before McAuliffe joined OSCPA she spent five years at Crowe, and she said it was fascinating to learn how different companies operated. Her exposure to different clients also helped her grow her professional network, she said, and she tried to get to know each client as well as she could.
Many young accountants also are studying for the CPA exam, a rite pf passage McAuliffe said is well worth the extra time and stress.
“One of the surprises to me was that you have to put your social life on pause,” she said. “Obviously there were milestones either for friends or families where I made time to be involved, but you really have to prioritize studying, that was a rude awakening.”
McAuliffe said if you’re strategic about your career goals from the beginning, you can build a rewarding long-term career.
“What’s great is when a young professional comes in and has an idea of what they want in their career,” she said. “And to have those professional development conversations earlier on with some of the managers who can make a difference and leverage those skills or the passions that you have.”