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Q: After you graduated college did you go into public or private accounting? How did you make that decision? What would you say to students graduating in accounting, what would recommend them to go into?
Ben Ellingson

Answered by:
Ben Ellingson, Partner

From the start, I had my mind made up that I wanted my career to be in the private side of accounting. During college, however, I started to see a little of both, and changed my mind to starting my first official job in public accounting. At the time, the decision was driven primarily by suggestions from my peers and mentors that public accounting was a great stepping stone to any number of career paths. After a few years, my interest to move into the private side had all but gone away. There is great variety in public accounting: variety in the clients you work with, the people you work with, your daily schedule, etc. I very much enjoyed the opportunities I had to build new relationships and have an ever-growing and changing career path.

Although I don’t have the benefit of having worked on the private side of this profession, I think that if you enjoy building and maintaining relationships with people and enjoy challenge and variety in your schedule, public accounting would be a great fit. That said, I also know a number of people that have their careers on the private side and find their positions equally as rewarding. I think that public accounting is a great place to start for anyone interested in the accounting profession, but that wherever you choose to land, you should find a company that shares a culture that would be enjoyable with a schedule that fits – after that, it’s hard to even call it “work”.

Being a CPA, Colleges & Classes, Work/Life Balance


Q: okay so I am a high school student in an accounting class and I find it very boring...what made you decide to enter this field? do you find it exciting? what could make me find this more intriguing?

I decided to enter accounting after I took accounting 101 in college (which was a business school required class). While sometimes the class was a bit dry, I found that I was good at it and understood the material. At the time, I was also a MIS major and students were graduating with that degree and having a hard time finding a job. I figured if I did both MIS and Accounting I would have a better chance of finding a job and getting into a career I was really interested in. I was right. It paid off and I found that there were certain areas of accounting that not only was I good at, I really enjoyed. My passion is still IT, but I use my accounting background everyday to be successful in my IT related career.

Being a CPA, Colleges & Classes, Work/Life Balance


Q: As a CPA what must your GPA be?

You need to earn a major in accounting to have sufficient hours in accounting to sit for the CPA exam. The minimum GPA to earn a major in accounting depends on the school/ program you are enrolled in.

Being a CPA, Colleges & Classes, CPA Exam & Certification



Absolutely! If you knew me as well as my friends and family do, that one word answer is all that would be needed to know the impact that this profession has had on my life.

Finding happiness in a profession is a personal matter that only you can experience. Some people begin a profession and determine that an alternate course is necessary. Others know right away that their chosen profession best accentuates their talents and abilities, and will in the long-term bring the most joy.

Personally, I feel very confident in the work that I perform, and there is a self-satisfaction that comes with enjoying the work that you do. Ultimately, this satisfaction plays a significant role in your family life, as it has within my family.

Being a CPA, Corporate Accounting, Work/Life Balance


Q: does it feel like you have achieved your goals in life if so do you think you are successful in life?

I am going to answer a question with a question . . . are you ever done achieving goals in life? Have I achieved my goals I set for myself in school and my first couple of years out of school? Yes. Do I continue to have goals that I am working to achieve? Yes. I hope that I will never be done with setting goals for myself. Continuing to accomplish goals I have set for myself make me feel like a successful person in life.

Being a CPA, Professional Community, Work/Life Balance