ACLA, ACAP programs seeking potential future CPAs

Written on Mar 22, 2018

By Molly Ryan Kowaleski, OSCPA content & community manager

The Ohio CPA Foundation will host two of its most popular and longstanding initiatives – the Accounting Careers Leadership Academy (ACLA) in May and the Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio) in June. The charitable affiliate of OSCPA works to ensure a healthy, vibrant and diverse future for the CPA profession and generously covers all expenses for students attending ACAP-Ohio and ACLA.

Seyi Adeyemi, a sophomore accounting major in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, attended ACAP-Ohio in 2016 and ACLA in 2017 after her freshman year of college.

Oluwaseyi_Adeyemi“I applied to ACAP in high school because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in when I graduated,” Adeyemi said. “I was just going to major in business, but my uncle told me the business field was too broad. So, when I got an email about ACAP, I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about something related to business.”

Adeyemi said she was excited when she found out she was accepted into ACAP because it was a week away from home with all expenses paid, and she knew she would meet exciting new people.

“My mom was really proud I got accepted into an accounting program before I was even in college,” she said.

Kayla Keys, a junior at the University of Akron, majoring in accounting with a minor in dance, also said she felt accomplished after finding out she was accepted into ACAP-Ohio.

Kayla Keys“It was a really great opportunity and I felt really lucky to be picked,” Keys said. “I remember walking into the room and noticing there were people from Cleveland and Cincinnati, and I remember thinking that was really impressive – I was chosen out of the entire state of Ohio to do something like this.”

Keys attended ACAP in 2015 after she graduated from high school, and has attended ACLA twice since attending college.

“Not everybody knows what they want to do,” Keys said. “Or, they know what they want to do, but they don’t know how to do it, so these programs are important.”

Adeyemi agreed, and added the programs’ main objective – to reach underrepresented groups of students – also is priceless.

“For example, right now, in any of my accounting classes, there aren’t a lot of minorities,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to know more about their options and ACLA is very important because it brings the recruiters to us and we get to interact with each other, to see what recruiters are looking for and how to excel in the accounting field… That’s not something that’s taught at an early age, and our families haven’t been in corporate America to get that exposure.”

Both Adeyemi and Keys have their eyes on a bright future in the accounting profession. Adeyemi’s long-term goal is to be a CFO and Keys wants to specialize in nonprofits, specifically local arts programs that provide training to children. For both, their experiences at ACLA and ACAP-Ohio were invaluable.

“I think ACAP and ACLA are what set me on track for where I am right now,” said Adeyemi. “And, the fact that [the Ohio CPA Foundation] does it for us at no cost says a lot and I appreciate the volunteers, too. They just took the time to make a really significant impact on my current life and the people who will follow me. It was definitely worth the time.”

Adeyemi and Keys urge students who are considering a career in accounting or simply want to learn more about their options to apply. They also provided advice for students who will be at the events this spring.

“I would come with an expectation to grow,” said Keys. “Come with an open mind and an intent to be engaged. The programs offer so much – it’s a great experience.”

Adeyemi added: “There’s a lot to take in. Don’t be shy. Step out of your comfort zone. The mentors are there to answer your questions and they won’t just give you a general answer; they’ll give you an answer from their own experience. After it’s over, stay in touch with your friends and mentors. You never know where you’ll cross paths in the future or help each other out.”

Applications for ACLA and ACAP-Ohio are open at ohiocpa.com and the deadline to apply is fast approaching. Learn more about these opportunities online or contact Jasmine Abukar, OSCPA’s manager of diversity and inclusion, at (800) 686-2727 x2247 or jabukar@ohiocpa.com.

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