High school students learn of opportunities in accounting profession

Written on May 01, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Choosing a college major is about more than selecting the classes you’ll attend for four years. And when students declare an accounting major, they’re also choosing an in-demand and fulfilling profession.

“I wanted to catapult myself into a career where I could be successful,” said Brendan McCausland, CPA, of his decision to major in accounting after first choosing marketing and then finance.

McCausland last week spoke to a room of high school students at Ohio University as part of the Accounting Career Day program, half-day events that bring students together on college campuses to learn about the accounting major and CPA career. Ohio University was one of six schools to be featured this fall, with the last event scheduled for early next year at Ohio Wesleyan University. This season has had more than 1,200 students from 72 high schools participate.

McCausland, an OU grad, shared his career journey from starting in public accounting to now working as a fund manager for Rockbridge, a private equity real estate firm. Local CPAs serve as speakers for Accounting Career Days to offer insights into the profession and explain the variety of career paths available.

The second speaker of the day, OSCPA Executive Board member Libby Cullins, CPA, VP at JPMorgan Chase, shared her journey from childhood to college and navigating the professional world. She encouraged the students to take advantage of clubs, philanthropy and organizations in college to develop soft skills and practice relationship-building.

“As an accounting major, you are a rare commodity,” she said.

The students also heard from a panel of college students who answered questions about classes in the accounting major, a normal course load and how to find a balance between going out and studying.

The speaker sentiments were echoed by David Stott, CPA, director of the School of Accountancy and the O’Bleness Professor of Accountancy.

“Accounting is the language of business,” he said. “Being an accounting major opens up so many doors inside and outside of accounting.”

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