Rachel Zizka, Audit Senior Manager
1. I was not a traditional accounting student, and I actually spent several years as a Chemistry major; however, most accounting students complete their college degree and CPA requirements in 5 years.
2. For a high school student who was interested in an accounting career, I would suggest the student become involved in a school sponsored business organization, such as an accounting club or Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), which will give you an introduction to the business environment. I would also suggest starting the research process of identifying colleges or universities that have a reputable accounting program that offers assistance in obtaining internships in both public accounting and corporate accounting. The student can research the different schools using the Internet and the college's website, talking with his/her guidance counselor, emailing the professors, and visiting the campus, specifically the business college.
3. After a student completes his/her college course work and is ready to seek employment, many universities have career fairs specifically for accounting. I am involved in recruiting new students for the firm I work with for internships and full-time hires. We will attend regional college accounting career fairs, and most of the students will start attending in their junior year of college. Internships are typically offered to students who are juniors and seniors during the Spring Semester, starting in January and ending on April 15th. We also will interview seniors and students in the Masters of Accounting program for full-time hires. The requirements to be eligible for full-time placement are typically that a student has 150 hours, is eligible to sit of the CPA exam upon graduations, and has at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average. Many students will find employment before graduation and prior to becoming a CPA.
4. When a student is seeking employment in accounting, I would suggest his/her resume include the standard information related to education, job history and activities as well as the students cumulative GPA, GPA of his/her major, activities that highlight any accounting experience, leadership and community activities, eligibility to sit for the CPA, and related software skills.
5. There are many different minors that can complement an accounting degree, such as finance, international business, economics, a foreign language, statistics, and many others. Before deciding on a minor, I would take classes in different disciplines to determine where I have an interest and aptitude. I would also suggest becoming active in the local state accounting society as a college student to gain exposure to people in the industry.