Nearly 100 College of Business Administration students attended an accounting alumni panel event Friday, April 29, in the Love Library at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Students listened to and asked questions of eight School of Accountancy alumni about the accounting field.
Dr. Amanda Gonzales, assistant professor of accountancy, encouraged her Intermediate Accounting 1 (ACCT 313) students to go to the event and attended herself.
“I was happy to see so many of my students at the event. They were prepared with great questions and gained new knowledge about accounting,” Gonzales said. “It is important for students to take advantage of opportunities like this, where they can learn about the wide variety of career paths that are available in accounting.”
The School of Accountancy alumni, who also serve on the school’s two advisory boards, were James Anderson, partner at BKD; Grant Buckley, associate at Buckley & Sitzman, LLP; Jacki Jacox, consulting manager at Seim Johnson; Rachel Manning, audit senior at Lutz & Company; Taylor Pugh, audit senior at Lutz & Company; Michele Walker, partner at Ernst & Young, LLP; Carrie Weber, vice president of audit services at Ameritas; and Amanda Ziemba, senior project manager at Union Pacific.
Students asked the panel questions about the difference between public and private accounting, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, other accounting certifications and the master of professional accountancy (MPA) program offered at UNL.
“It is important for people to understand that accounting is so much more than just sitting at a desk behind a pile of papers. Instead I work closely with people in problem solving and big decision making projects,” Anderson said. “I don’t always know what my day at the office will look like, which makes my job exciting.”
Students also asked questions about what qualities employers are looking for in candidates, what to have on a résumé and if internships are really necessary.
“Some of the main qualities I and other employers value are good organizational skills, basic writing skills, a drive to learn and good communication and people skills,” Manning said. “Understanding and analyzing data is what makes a good accountant, but being able to take that data and explain it in a way that your client can truly understand makes a great accountant.”
The alumni closed the event by talking about the importance of trying public and private internships to get a feel for which career path fits the student best. They urged students to join Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting student organization at UNL, to build a network they can utilize for years to come.