More than 120 people attended a special guest lecture by Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA and vice chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) on Tuesday, February 16 at the Nebraska Union. The event was hosted by the School of Accountancy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration. Ellison-Taylor conveyed to students the importance of becoming a CPA and how it will give them a competitive advantage in the business world.
Ellison-Taylor, who will serve as chair of the AICPA in 2016-17, shared how the AICPA, the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession globally, is working towards setting ethical auditing standards for the profession.
“CPAs are the second most trusted professionals, just behind doctors,” she said. “The future looks bright for accountants as 87 percent of key decision makers say CPAs are valuable to their organization and 91 percent of firms expect to continue record hiring levels. This means accounting students should be excited about the career path they have chosen because the opportunities are unlimited.”
She shared current trends in the profession and introduced students to what her typical work day as a virtual employee is like through a video. She is currently the global accounting strategy director for the financial and professional services industries for Oracle America, a leader in cloud solutions and enterprise technology.
“In my career, I have had a lot of success as well as failures. I came to the office early and stayed late not because I had to, but because I love my work. I am proud to be a CPA. I hope all CPAs can show students how great it is to be in this profession,” she said.
Her lecture resonated with students and faculty alike.
“The speaker had great energy. She focused on soft skills including teamwork, collaboration, communication, problem solving and conflict resolution. That is something students can’t memorize or study out of a book, but will be most beneficial to their careers,” said Mary Kathleen Harris, a Ph.D. student from Laramie, Wyoming.
The School of Accountancy faculty also met with Ellison-Taylor during a luncheon earlier in the day. Dr. Biyu Wu, assistant professor of accountancy, said her foresight into the profession was beneficial not only to faculty as educators of the next generation of accountants but also to students as they prepare for the future.
“Kimberly is very friendly and enthusiastic. During her lecture, she had great advice for the students to help them be successful. Through her own experiences, she encouraged them to learn from their failures and gave them a preview of what the work life of a CPA looks like,” Wu said.