State Auditor. Every state in the country has an auditor’s office, a watchdog for how the state is spending the taxpayers’ money. On the state audit team, you’d investigate the spending of state agencies, counties, school districts, libraries, and other organizations that get funding. You’d travel pretty often, so it’s a great way to get to know your state or a new one.
FBI Agent. Every government agency needs the skills of a CPA—including the FBI. There are a lot of criminals out there stealing money, and CPAs at the FBI are the people who bust them. You’d help solve business crimes like corporate fraud, working at one of the FBI’s 56 U.S. offices or overseas. To prepare for a job at the FBI, you’ll need a couple years of experience in public accounting first.
CPA for a Federal Agency. With the billions of dollars our government spends each year, there are jobs for CPAs in just about every area you can think of—from Defense to Agriculture to Homeland Security. There’s even a Government Accountability Office, employing over 300 accountants and auditors to make sure taxpayer money is well spent. Right up your alley? Try to get early exposure to government work by taking government accounting courses in college.
For a shot at the best government jobs with the best pay, you’ll want to apply with a degree in accounting as well as your CPA license. You could get an extra boost by double majoring in college in public administration, public policy or law.
Coming out of high school, Pat Reese wanted to become a nurse. But after one semester in school, she decided nursing wasn’t for her. Pat knew she needed to get a college degree, so while working as a clerk typist, she went back to school to pursue a business degree. Luckily, one of her first classes was Accounting 101. After her third accounting class, she was hooked; she knew she wanted to become a CPA.
Today, Pat protects taxpayers’ money. And she’s proud of it. So what exactly does that mean?
Basically, Pat watches over our tax dollars to ensure organizations and people who get federal funding are held accountable. “When I identify instances where our money was used inappropriately, I feel like I am earning my paycheck,” she says. “There is never a boring day!”
Even though Pat stays busy at work, she makes sure to take some time to sink her toes in the sand and spend time with her husband at their second home, overlooking a bay. “I love boating, walking along the beach, watching sunsets and sunrises on the water and catching up with family and friends,” Pat says. What a great way to unwind after a long week at work.
If you think she has any regrets about becoming a CPA, think again. “Regardless of the specific job or industry you choose, being a CPA will add value and credibility. Choosing to become a CPA is a smart move and one you will always be glad you chose,” she says.
“Choosing to become a CPA is a smart move and one you will always be glad you chose.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 31
BEST JOB: Timekeeper for over 500 construction workers (how I met my husband)
WORST JOB: Federal Aviation Administration's Chief of Staff - not enough hours in the day!!
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Boating, yard saling
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "There are windows of opportunity everywhere you look. Be aware of these windows and recognize that they will close. Decide which windows you want to pursue and be sure to do so before they close."
Take a second to get to know Bob Bunting. But do it quickly, because he’s probably late for a flight to Shanghai.
As President of the International Federation of Accountants, Bob spends most of his time traveling outside the United States, giving speeches on international accounting issues and meeting with clients, regulators, and government officials. Each year he touches down on every continent at least once, visiting more than 20 countries. Compared to this guy, the Secretary of State is a shut-in.
He didn’t become a CPA just to rack up frequent flier miles, though. “I wanted to become involved as a business advisor and a business leader,” he says. “And I knew that the CPA certification is a gateway to hundreds of career choices.”
Hundreds of outdoor activities, too – at least in Bob’s case. “I hike, I fish, I golf, I cross-country ski and kayak in every kind of weather,” he says. “I’ve even played golf in snowstorms several times.”
Whoa. While bogeying in a blizzard isn’t for everyone, Bob maintains that the rest of his profession has universal appeal. “What’s not to love?” he asks. “I work with incredibly smart people doing interesting and meaningful things that contribute to the well being of the economy and my community.” Not to mention that he gets paid well to do it.
Great point. What’s not to love?
“I work with incredibly smart people doing interesting and meaningful things that contribute to the well being of the economy and my community.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 47
BEST JOB: CEO of my firm (Moss Adams) for 23 years Public Accounting
WORST JOB: First-year staff accountant 1969
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Wilderness Trekking
PETS: A black lab named Libby
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “I'd rather fail trying than fail because I did nothing at all.”
Can you imagine writing letters home from camp that contained a report of how you spent your money? According to Martha Mavredes, that’s precisely what she did. “It’s funny now to look back,” she said. “My mom saved some letters I wrote home from camp one year when I was about 10 years old and I had given her an itemized accounting of how I spent $5 at the camp store.” It must have been in my genes…”
Must have been because once Martha enrolled in a Principles of Accounting class, she was hooked (even if she did drop her math class).
Good thing too. After majoring in accounting and getting her Bachelor’s of Business Administration at the College of William and Mary, she interned with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KMPG) and they offered her a job starting the following summer. She passed the CPA exam the week before she graduated, and she was off. “I worked there for three and a half years, progressing from Assistant, to Staff, to Senior, to Supervising Senior,” she recalls. A lot of that success has come from her passion for understanding the different industries that keep society moving. “If you want to learn what makes them tick, consider getting your CPA,” she advises.
Now Martha is with the Auditor of Public Accounts, where she oversees her agency's annual budget – a pretty big deal. On a given day, “I may be making a presentation to a committee of legislators,” she says. “Or a university board of visitors.” She also watches spending throughout the year, heads up strategic planning, and develops the agency's annual work plan. All the while, she makes sure the work is all going the way it should.
Outside of work, Martha’s active in her state society and the American Institute of CPAs, plus she volunteers at her church and heads up several committees there. And she makes sure to have tickets to every local pro soccer match, catching college matches as well. “I gained a love of the game when my daughters played,” she says, and it must have stuck.
It’s pretty apparent that things have worked out well for Martha. And, to her, it was all inevitable.
“I may be making a presentation to a committee of legislators. Or a university board of visitors.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 34
BEST JOB: Current job because of the variety it brings
WORST JOB: Retail stores - folding clothes all day gets old
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Reading, Facebook
PETS: None currently, but I love dogs
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "Laugh often and love much."
Even though she spends a lot of time thinking about financial issues, Michele Levine says that money isn’t everything when it comes to figuring out your career. “Finding the right match for your interests and strengths is the key,” she says. “If you make a good living doing something you can feel good about, you’ll be a professional success.” As the Director of Accounting Service for the New York City Office of Management and Budget, Michele has put that advice to work.
“In college I got very involved in student government, and found that I enjoyed the public service aspect and felt good about my ability to contribute. I helped oversee the finance and business operations,” she says. Even working in a large global accounting firm after graduating, she enjoyed her work with not-for-profit and government clients most. So she pursued an advanced degree from Syracuse University and went on to work for the New York City Council.
Today, Michele helps balance the budget for one of the largest cities in the world. “It’s rare that I read The New York Times without coming across an article where I have some job-related knowledge of the subject matter,” she says. “I often have insights into situations because I work directly on some aspect of the issue.”
Michele loves her job for the same reason many people love New York itself: “It’s constantly changing, so I’m never bored,” she says.
“Finding the right match for your interests and strengths is the key.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 23
BEST JOB: My current job
WORST JOB: Old-fashioned "plug" switchboard operator. Think of the opening sequence in the original "Charlie's Angels" TV series.
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Hiking, biking and, recently, skiing
PETS: 3 cats
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "A positive attitude and diligent effort are the most important ingredients for success."
Work hard, play hard? Not if you ask Diana Deem. "I always thought I liked that cliché," she says, but at this point in her life, "I understand more about balance."
These days it's more about working to live ("Not the other way around," Diana stresses) and believing in what you do. That doesn't mean she takes it easy – not at all. She’s on Capitol Hill attending hearings, participating in meetings to determine how legislative and regulatory proposals could affect the accounting profession. Pretty intense stuff.
"Having a positive impact on public policy is very exciting," she says. "I also really enjoy the people I work with. Some are CPAs and others are not, but all are incredibly interesting people and have a passion for public policy."
Diana got to where she is – fulfilling her goals, loving her job and shaping federal laws – by using her talents and keeping her options open. “I wanted a major in college that would allow me to be both creative and marketable,” she says. “And I wanted to use my math and people skills. Accounting seemed like a good fit.”
A good fit indeed. Before working with policymakers on Capitol Hill, she started her career on the audit staff at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Public accounting, specifically, lets you see a lot of business, government and not-for-profit organizations from the inside out,” she reports.
And it has given her chances to do all sorts of rewarding things; she continues to work with her sons' high school music department even though they have both graduated. She and her husband are also currently hosting an Egyptian high school exchange student in their home.
Looking at Diana, it seems like a healthy attitude is the true key to a successful career.
“Public accounting, specifically, lets you see a lot of business, government and not-for-profit organizations from the inside out.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 25
BEST JOB: Congressional affairs – advocating regarding public policy issues on behalf of the accounting profession
WORST JOB: There hasn't been a worst job
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Bicycling, gourmet cooking, knitting
PETS: Maggie, a yellow lab
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "If it is to be, it is up to me."
Don’t tell Emily Kliethermes that it can’t be done.
“No high school student, no matter what their circumstances, should ever think their path in life has already been set,” she says. Emily grew up with eight brothers and sisters in a town with of 300 people, in a house with no air conditioning. Her father passed away when she was 18, and her mother worked long hours in a factory. But she wasn’t about to let any of that get in her way.
“I worked three jobs to pay for college at the University of Missouri and took out loans to make it happen,” Emily says. “And I still went on spring break. I had a blast in college.”
Today, Emily is the comptroller of the Missouri Republican State Committee, which means she oversees the political group’s finances. It’s a job that keeps her moving. “One day I could be flying to Washington, DC, to meet with the Federal Election Committee, or attending a dinner for a senator, governor or presidential candidate,” she says. “And the next day I could be licking stamps. Nothing is too great or too small in this job.”
Even with such a busy professional life, she has plenty of time for her own pursuits – from spending time with her children at taekwondo, soccer, t-ball, or piano lessons to running 5Ks and volunteering in her community.
“When I was in high school, I wish I had known that no dreams are too big,” Emily says. “And being a CPA can make a lot of them happen sooner than you think!”
Take it from someone who knows.
“No high school student, no matter what their circumstances, should ever think their path in life has already been set.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 13
BEST JOB: The one I have now (I hope I always feel like my current job is my best one – isn’t that how it SHOULD be?)
WORST JOB: Graveyard shift (11 pm - 7 am) in a factory during college
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Taekwondo, working out, running 5Ks, volunteering at church
PETS: Black lab named Clyde
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "If you fight to keep your vices and ineffective habits, you’ll get to keep them. So stop fighting for them."
For Noah Kaufman, a love for accounting runs in his family. His father was a CPA for the federal government and Noah's following in his footsteps.
Noah is a CPA for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a federal agency responsible for all U.S. Government and government-sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting. Each week 165 million listeners, viewers and internet users around the world listen to U.S. international broadcasting programs, which are broadcast in more than 40 languages.
His office is “fascinating.” They have TV and radio studios in the building and even occasionally have music stars in the studio. Since Noah joined the organization, he’s seen Jordin Sparks and Michelle Branch perform in their studio.
While working at the BBG, Noah has enhanced his “knowledge of federal accounting as well as business operations. I have helped create the financial statements for Voice of America and supported the financial statement audit.”
Being a CPA has also allowed him to see a lot of the country. “I hadn’t been west of the Mississippi until I started working,” he says. “But since then I’ve been able to go everywhere from San Francisco to Laguna Beach, California; to Charleston, South Carolina, Dallas, New York City, Chicago, Phoenix, Burlington, VT and a ton of other places.”
Noah stays busy outside of the workplace as well. He’s an instructor at the University of Maryland and has been a volunteer high school wrestling coach for 11 years and recently coached a youth league wrestling clinic. As if that’s not enough, Noah ran the New Orleans marathon in February 2010, ran two half marathons in 2010 and 2011 and is training for another one in Hawaii.
“I hadn't been west of the Mississippi until I started working. But since then I've been able to go everywhere.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 16
BEST JOB: Current one
WORST JOB: Telemarketer
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Reading, exercising, hanging out with friends
Jeanette Franzel has had an "unbelievably interesting career," in her own words. It's also a pretty unusual summary for what most people just refer to as "work," so let's just run through some of what Jeannette does for a living to see if it's really so great.
"I double majored in Accounting and Spanish," she begins. "After teaching in South America, I took a job with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C." (That's the audit and investigatory arm of the U.S. Congress.) So what do they do at the GAO? "
We audit all aspects of government programs, and our work takes us all over the country and the world. We audit the financial statements of the IRS, the Bureau of Public Debt, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Consolidated Financial Report of the U.S. government and many more."
Okay, so Jeanette's job is already pretty unbelievable. Besides, who else can really say they've audited the IRS? In addition, she's testified "many times" as a witness before Congressional Committees about the GAO's work and on things impacting the whole country.
So let's see: She's rarely at her desk. She pays regular visits to Capitol Hill, many federal agencies and the Pentagon and "each assignment is a new adventure, with new subject matter, different team members and possibly a different location." Oh, and did we forget to mention that she also volunteers in Honduras with her daughter, teaches English as a Second Language to needy folks in her community and hikes the Shenandoah mountains with her husband? Come to think of it, "unbelievably interesting" may have been an understatement.
And her advice for students interested in accounting? "Becoming a CPA allows you to have a career anywhere." Or, in Jeanette's case, everywhere.
“Becoming a CPA allows you to have a career anywhere.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 28
BEST JOB: U.S. Government Accountability Office (working on issues of national importance and providing accountability to the American people)
WORST JOB: Working at a fast food restaurant in high school
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Power walking, total body conditioning, teaching English as a Second Language as a volunteer, member of the "pit crew" for the local high school marching band
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "The only person or thing that can limit you in life is yourself."
Randy Roberts knows a good thing when he sees it. “I started as an undeclared business major,” he remembers. “And took finance, economics, marketing, management and accounting.” In that last one, he says, “I fell in love.” Figuring out your career path in a mere two semesters – not bad for a freshman.
But it’s not all about narrowing down for Randy. In a way, being a CPA was appealing to him for all the options it opened up. “Just like a doctor can choose to practice different kinds of medicine, a CPA can choose to work in many different areas.”
In his case, he’s gotten to explore roles as a staff auditor, an audit supervisor and manager, and now he’s Director of Professional Practice. Randy also decided to take a more active role as a CPA by participating in the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and American Institute of CPAs' projects, including the AICPA's Auditing Standards Board.
But he’s still sticking with another solid choice he made: Working for the Arizona Office of the Auditor General.
In his office, Randy helps his staff, as well as other accounting firms and government accountants, as they work through accounting or auditing problems, always with an eye towards educating auditors and improving audit quality. He’s the guy they come to for help interpreting accounting and auditing standards, and he loves challenging people to think of different possibilities and different perspectives. “You have to be creative to improve how you do things in this field,” he says.
Randy broadens his own perspectives by brushing up on trivia and traveling the country in his free time, checking out new sites and volunteering in different places. “I especially like visiting the historical aspects,” he says.
Well, sure – what’s history except the results of past choices? And for Randy, it’s been all about checking out those choices and spotting the right one – then taking it.
“Just like a doctor can choose to practice different kinds of medicine, a CPA can choose to work in many different areas.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 29
BEST JOB: The one I have now
WORST JOB: Cleaning worn out transmissions to prepare them for repair
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Travel, reading, trivia
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "It's all about having passion for what you're doing and continually growing professionally/personally. When you're there, it's the 'good life.'"
Some people discover their love of accounting through a college class. For others, it’s a mentor who shows them the way.
For Linda Biek, it was the want ads in the Atlanta newspaper. Seriously.
“In college, I chose between business and engineering, because I knew I liked math,” she says. “I opted for business and chose a marketing major because it was the easiest, honestly. After graduating, I worked in a couple of sales jobs and decided this was not the life for me. That’s when I went to the want ads in the newspaper.”
As Linda scanned through the “A’s,” she saw a lot of accounting jobs. And they paid well. “So I decided to take a few classes and see if it was something that might interest me. The more I learned about accounting, the more I realized I had found my career.”
Today Linda is the director of government and international relations for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. “I may fly to Washington DC to meet with a member of congress to discuss an accounting issue,” she says, “or consult with our CEO on a letter that needs to be sent to the government or some other stakeholder to share our position on a policy. It’s an exciting, challenging career.”
It’s a long way from the want ads of the newspaper, but Linda knows she has found her niche – a fact that has always surprised those that know her well. “People are shocked when they find out I’m a CPA,” she says. “I’m outgoing, fun-loving, and love to spend money. I still recall what my uncle said when he heard I was studying accounting: ‘You’re going to be a CPA? Ha.’”
Sounds like Linda got the last laugh.
“The more I learned about accounting, the more I realized I had found my career.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 22
BEST JOB: This one!
WORST JOB: First year in public accounting
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Traveling, working with nonprofits in the Nashville area
PETS: 2 greyhounds, stray cat and bearded dragon
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly, I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."
“What I like about accounting,” James Wesberry says, “is that it is purely logical.” So how does he explain some of the less-than-logical things about his life and career?
Like the fact that he ran for and was elected to the State Senate at age 28, even though he was already running his own accounting firm? Or that he used to leave the house at 6 AM and not get home until nearly midnight, thanks to all the community service projects he worked on? Or how about that he moved back to Manila, Republic of the Phlippines for a new international consulting assignment and has gone back to work full-time on the other side of the planet after nearly four years of "semi-retirement."
But it all does make sense, in a strange way, at least to James. “I could never stand to do the same audit more than once,” he said. Other people might have preferred the predictability of a familiar project, but not him. “I’ve always volunteered for new challenges.”
That willingness to take on the unfamiliar has taken James to Peru, Mexico and Ecuador and also headed the regional Western Hemisphere Anti-Corruption project for USAID. He’s also been international advisor to the U.S. Comptroller General, as well as Financial Consultant for The World Bank.
And to James, this is all perfectly logical – once you consider where he came from. “A CPA career is what you make of it,” he says. If you work hard and look for variety and challenge, you can get plenty of very unusual opportunities.” And as if James hasn’t already packed plenty of accomplishments into his very impressive life, he wishes he had taken accounting in high school so that he could have moved “even faster.”
“What I like about accounting is that it is purely logical.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 59
BEST JOB: Advisor to Comptrollers General of Peru & Ecuador
WORST JOB: Chief Auditor, Organization of American States
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Internet, reading, swimming, politics
PETS: 8 chihuahuas, 2 Persian cats, rabbit, peacock, pheasants, guinea fowl, chickens and alpacas
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "A person who does not recognize their duty to be accountable to a higher power is unlikely to recognize their duty to be accountable to others."
As Rhode Island’s Former Auditor General, Ernie Almonte didn’t have a boss. He had 1,050,788 of them.
He was the fiscal watchdog for Rhode Island taxpayers, making sure every dollar of the state’s funds goes right where it should.
He had help: the FBI, Secret Service, Attorney General and state legislators. “My job was pretty exciting,” he says, with steely understatement. Sounds like it – a typical day’s schedule could include a high-profile fraud investigation followed by a briefing with the governor.
Strong stuff. But it proved to be just another day at the office to a guy who spends his spare time honing his martial arts skills, and gets up each morning with a strong sense of personal mission.
After 15 years as Auditor General, he made the switch from government to public accounting. Ernie started his own firm the Almonte Group LLC where is is the Chief Visionary Officer and CEO. He conducts forensic audits, data analytics, and does accounting and tax work. He also does consulting for federal, state and local governments on financial issues including budgets, audits, pensions and sustainability.
This was a pretty easy move for Ernie. “All the training and all the contacts I made in my 15 years as Rhode Island Auditor General have set the foundation for a successful transition to a public accounting firm,” he says. “This has been a great transition for me because I am doing a lot of the things that I did as the Auditor General.”
“My 15 years as Rhode Island Auditor General have set the foundation for a successful transition to a public accounting firm.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 36
WORST JOB: Chicken Farmer
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Martial Arts
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "Live by a strong unwavering set of core values: Integrity, Reliability, Independence, and Accountability."
Meet FBI Special Agent Bob Herndon. If you don’t recognize him, just look for the CPA strapped with a .40-caliber pistol and a pair of handcuffs dangling from his waist.
Bob is currently in charge of investigating white-collar crime for the Kansas City Field Office of the FBI. Even in high school, he knew he wanted to be an FBI agent. He also knew that the FBI looks for people who have sharpened their thinking with challenging degree programs like accounting. He figured that even if he didn’t make it as a special agent, an accounting degree was a solid foundation for his professional life.
Of course, he made it into the FBI program. And he hasn’t had a normal day since. “I’ve worked on organized crime, drugs, public corruption, foreign counterintelligence and white collar crime,” Bob says. “I even spent three years undercover, living under a different name. As a Special Agent of the FBI, I do not have a daily routine.”
One day Bob could be conducting surveillance on a dangerous subject in jeans and a t-shirt, and the next he’ll be wearing a suit and tie to a meeting with the president of a Fortune 500 company. “Being a CPA will offer you job security, financial well-being, opportunities to travel around the world, and great relationships with grounded co-workers – interesting people who like to have fun, travel, and are in a position to buy cool stuff,” Bob says.
Sound like a movie? It is. The Informant, starring Matt Damon and released in October of 2009, is about a criminal case Bob played a central role in solving.
“I've worked on organized crime, drugs, public corruption, foreign counterintelligence and white collar crime.”
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Marathon runner, avid reader, head coach of his son’s baseball team
Leave it to Jill Flinton to see everything a little differently. For instance, she’s a CPA, working as a Bankruptcy Analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice. So you figure she’d thank her college accounting firm internship for putting her on the track, right?
Sort of. “That helped me decide that public practice was not the area I wanted to go into,” she reflects. So what does Jill do? Rather than going into public accounting, she chose to get a job at a hospital in her hometown. That decision set her up for a future she would not have expected, but loves anyway.
“No two days are alike,” she says. As a Bankruptcy Analyst, she takes a closer look when someone, or some company, files Chapter 7 (liquidation) or Chapter 11 (reorganization). “The office I work in is about 15 people, so we know each other well and provide moral and mental support for each other,” says Jill. Even better, “I get a real sense of the status of the economy and the lives of families that most people don't see.”
And while some people might see dealing with bankruptcies as depressing, Jill doesn’t – probably because she gets to help. In dealing with her clients, she likes knowing that “what you do today has an impact on their lives.”
At home, her time is just as well spent, whether she’s camping or planting a vegetable garden with her toddler. To Jill this profession isn’t just “a calculator, long hours and a CPA firm.” It doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how you approach it.
Perhaps that’s why, even though she earns a good living doing what she does, her overall opinion of it is, again, not quite what you might expect: “You don’t have to have a lot of money to be successful,” she says. “Or happy.”
“I get a real sense of the status of the economy and the lives of families that most people don't see.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 18
WORST JOB: Internship in mid-sized accounting firm during tax season
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Camping, home improvement projects
PETS: Dog and cat
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "Work pays the bills, but family is there for life."
Eric Berman will tell you “anything is possible with time, money and ingenuity.” But how will that equation work out in your life?
Let’s see: In college, you’ll dedicate time (and probably money), along with your ingenuity to earn the degree you choose. After that, you’ll spend your time and ingenuity at work – but hopefully the money flow will be in your direction this time.
The question is, what’s the “anything” you want to ultimately accomplish? For Eric, the path twisted and turned in interesting ways (before earning his CPA, he spent time in broadcasting as well as managing a section of a department store) but he has ended up in a job he loves – helping run the finances of local and state governments.
So what’s that like? “Never dull,” he’ll tell you. “I’m currently in the midst of the state’s largest governmental consolidation, ever.” Whoa. He meets regularly on all sorts of issues, from federal relations to debt restructuring, and also does “a ton” of public speaking, which he enjoys. He and his wife enjoy traveling as a hobby, and surely they get to do a lot of it.
These days, Eric is devoting his efforts toward something pretty incredible. It’s not everyone who’s asked to keep tabs on the funds of an entire state. And as for what you could achieve, here’s a tip from Eric: “With a CPA,” he says, “you can do just about any job. I believe it’s the ultimate ‘can do’ credential…you’re always seen as someone who knows just about everything.”
…and can do just about anything.
“CPA is the ultimate 'can do' credentialou're always seen as someone who knows just about everything.”
YEARS AS A CPA: 21
BEST JOB: Deputy Comptroller
WORST JOB: Burger flipper
HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF WORK: Traveling
WORDS TO LIVE BY: "Think like a taxpayer - because you are one."