In Brief

Many CPAs have questions about the upcoming generation of accountants: What do they think about the profession? What do they want from an accounting career? And how can firms and schools attract the best of the best to the profession in the first place? Usually, however, this discussion is conducted without soliciting the input of the young people in question. To shed a light on what the future generation thinks, Orumé Hays recently conducted a virtual roundtable with seven current accounting students and recent graduates. She asked them to share their opinions on the accounting profession and describe their own journeys to The CPA Journal‘s readers. Their varied backgrounds and unexpected pathways into the profession illuminate the bright future of tomorrow’s accounting professionals.

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Recently, I had the pleasure to return to my alma mater, the College of Staten Island (CSI), City University of New York (CUNY), where I recollected some of my accounting journey. My first exposure to accounting classes was as a sociology and anthropology undergrad at the University of Benin in Nigeria. While I did not fall in love with accounting at that time, my knowledge came in handy when, during my four years as a fashion model in Miami, I augmented my income by working as an accounting clerk.

After I graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, I supplemented my acting gigs with waitressing gigs. In time, I opted to become a professional accountant by pursuing a degree at CSI. Although I had met a few CPAs in the profession, at that time, I had no aspirations to go farther than a bachelor’s in accounting and finance. Nevertheless, I had the good fortune of interning with two of my accounting professors, Greg Cicero and Steven Maksin. They were both CPAs with successful accounting firms, and I came away from the internships knowing that I too wanted to become a CPA.

Today, whenever I meet accounting students, I am always curious about their journeys to an accounting career. I recently had a virtual discussion with seven accounting students from five different colleges. Below are their stories, in their own words.

Orumé Hays, CPA, CGMA is the managing director of Hays CPA LLC, New York, N.Y. She is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Review Board.