Tara Hagan, Audit Manager
Is it something I’m truly passionate about? Great question. It sounds odd saying you’re truly passionate about accounting, but it’s a challenge and it’s very engaging. You’re working with clients and your teammates, studying new accounting pronouncements, learning unique business processes, and navigating a maze of numbers like it’s a logic puzzle. You wake up each morning, and you never know what the day will entail, but you know that others depend on you, so it makes you feel involved and dedicated to your work, which in a way is passionate.
People have different goals as CPAs, but my goal is to learn as much as possible about the industry and about the companies I serve and to develop my professional client service skills. I hope to add value to the clients I serve. For example, as a public accountant, I go into companies, poke and prod, ask questions, and try to gain a broad understanding of the company. Through this process, I get to see disconnects to correct or improvements to be made in a company. When you find ways to improve a company’s financial reporting process, the feeling is very rewarding. Finally, I hope to develop others on my team. You will work with different characters at different levels and you learn to work with diverse teams. I always hope to develop friendships with my coworkers and to support them and help them develop professionally. So the goals are three-fold – developing my professional skills and improving my skills, adding value to clients I serve, and supporting my teammates.
As for your last question on the satisfying path vs. the lonely road, as with any job, it’s what you make of it. I have worked on teams with over a hundred people where it’s impossible to feel isolated, and I have worked on a project where I was the only person on my team. In the large team, I had plenty of opportunities to network and learn from different managers. When I was by myself, I became friends with the controller at the client and felt very independent and very proud of my work product because it was something I accomplished on my own. So there are pros and cons to either approach, but in either situation, you have to make the most of it and take advantage of the opportunities there.