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CPA finds success in teaching and accounting profession

Written on Mar 21, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Life has come full circle for Annette Hoelzer, CPA.

“Accounting was a second career for me,” said Hoelzer, a retired partner at BDO. “I actually started out as a band director in elementary and junior high and was in education for eight years.”

And now Hoelzer has returned to education, teaching tax at Franklin University after 32 years in public accounting. She said her knowledge of what it’s like to choose accounting after already starting a career helps her relate to the students she teaches at Franklin, because many of them are working, raising families and attending school.

“To juggle all of that, I admire them greatly,” she said.

That admiration is mutual as Hoelzer recently won the Robert L. Bailey Teaching Award, a student-nominated award where “graduating students are asked to identify one undergraduate and one graduate faculty member who had the most significant influence on them throughout their educational experience at Franklin University.” More than 100 professors are nominated each trimester.

“I spend a lot of time on my classes preparing and working with students,” Hoelzer said. “It was an honor to have them recognizing me for those efforts.”

Many of the classes Hoelzer teaches are online, but she’s regularly on the phone with students helping them with the coursework or answering questions. It’s important to offer technical learning, but also advice on the real world, she said.

“As I went up through the ranks, I learned a lot more about management and working with people,” she said. “I will bring those things into the classroom and tell them this is what it’s actually like.”

Hoelzer said she understands what firms are looking for when it comes to entry-level positions, and she regular shares articles, reviews resumes and conducts mock interviews with students so they can be prepared after graduation.

In recognition of winning the award she gave a speech at the Fall 2018 Commencement. During her speech she spoke about the importance of accepting new challenges, embracing change and following your own moral compass.

“It’s important to give back to the profession,” she said. “Accounting was very good to me and once I got into it I absolutely loved it. I now enjoy working with my students and trying to help them understand.”