Attendees said The Ohio CPA Foundation’s Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP) this week dispelled stereotypes and piqued their interest in the profession.
“I wasn't thinking about accounting at all [before ACAP],” said Kennedy Harper, a recent graduate of William Mason High School in Mason. “I’ve thought about it more because I want to have a really strong business knowledge and business sense and now I'm considering double majoring.”
ACAP is an annual week-long program for racially and ethnically underrepresented high school students from around the state interested in careers in accounting and business. Local CPAs and business leaders assist with workshops, discussions and mentoring sessions. Students also participate in business luncheons, campus tours and a college fair. The program is held at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
This year, OSCPA Learning Director Tiffany Crosby, CPA, discussed ethics in the profession. Crosby asked students where they learned their current code of ethics. Their answers included parents, society, teachers, TV, religion and social media.
“There are a lot of aspects of various cultural codes,” Crosby said, “that may not necessarily be what we're looking for from an ethics standpoint. So, we have to always be careful of what is it that we've been taught versus what is it that the profession requires of us.”
Crosby stressed the importance of remaining ethical and unbiased as a CPA because of the amount of confidential information they handle every day.
“Accountants generally have access to everything. They have access to everyone's personal information – to their bank account number, to their payroll information, to their mortgage information, almost anything financial that you would want to know about a person or company, accountants have access to as a part of your role. That's another reason why ethics is so important. That information can be used in wrong ways.”
The students said they understood the importance of doing the right thing, especially as a CPA, after Crosby’s presentation.
“Sometimes situations present themselves and it's hard to say no, but sometimes you have to do the right thing and it will always be better in the end. That was my key takeaway from her presentation,” Harper said.
Javarius Richardson, a student at Cincinnati Elder High School, said his favorite part of ACAP was getting to meet other students interested in the same thing and in the process of making similar choices. “I like having someone to talk to about the experience,” he said.
Overall, student attendees enjoyed everything ACAP had to offer.
“It's just such a good program,” said Marcus Mendez-Gibson a student at Harvey High School in Painesville. “Because we all want to strive for success... So, if you take the chances and the opportunities, the success will come if you expand your horizons, you know, so that's why I wanted to come here.”
TOP PHOTO: Steven Light, Cardinal Health vice president of consumer health, challenged students to work hard and become leaders as he facilitated a workshop on personal branding and corporate culture.
BOTTOM PHOTO: Matthew Kramer, CPA, KPMG Columbus office managing partner, center, speaks with a group of ACAP students on the third night of the program. KPMG sponsored a dinner for the students at Buffalo Wild Wings.