Vol. 5, Issue 1: Winter 2014
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Write it Right: How to Compose a Great Scholarship Essay

By ThisWaytoCPA

If you’re like most college students, you could probably use more money for tuition. Luckily, there are a lot of options, including loans, need-based aid, and scholarships.

Since scholarships give you cash for school and the money doesn’t have to be paid back (so you can focus more of your time on making the grade), they are a great option. But if you actually want a shot at receiving a one, you have to put some work in up front by applying and writing a compelling essay. Here’s how to do just that.

New Year’s Resolutions, the 2014 Uniform CPA Exam, and You!

By Denise C. Probert, MPA, CPA, CGMA, VP of Education, Kaplan CPA Review and BAP Professional Partner

Most likely, you have contemplated some changes you would like to make in 2014, as well as a few things you would like to achieve. There is no time like the present to write down short- and long-term goals. The sooner you start studying, the sooner you can test. The sooner you test, the sooner you will pass. And, the sooner you pass, the sooner you will become a CPA.

Here are my recommended 2014 New Year’s Resolutions for you as you prepare to pass the CPA Exam:

Launching a Job Search in 2014

By Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director, Robert Half and Professional Partner, Beta Alpha Psi

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find a new accounting or finance job — maybe your first full-time one — there’s good news for you. Companies are competing for a limited supply of talented accounting and finance professionals in a number of specialties. In fact, degreed financial professionals with specialized skills are frequently receiving multiple offers and counteroffers today.
But this isn’t your parents’ — or maybe even your siblings’ — job market. A lot has changed, and it’s important to be familiar with what’s working for today’s job seekers.

Robert Half offers these tips on conducting a standout job search in 2014:

Alumni Spotlight

Asfar Hasan, Ernst & Young

Give a brief description of your career path. How did you get to where you are today?

Asfar is a Senior in EY's Financial Services Office and is based in New York. Prior to joining EY, Asfar graduated from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce in 2011, where he served as President of the Delta Mu chapter of Beta Alpha Psi.

Asfar's rigorous coursework at the McIntire School of Commerce included the Integrated Core Experience (ICE), an intensive, year-long program covering finance, organizational behavior, communications, strategy, quantitative analysis, systems, and marketing. Additionally, Asfar's coursework in corporate finance, advanced investments, and cost accounting prepared him well for his career at EY.

Alumni Spotlight

Susan Parcells, BlackLine Systems

Give a brief description of your career path. How did you get to where you are today?

I began my career in Audit and Assurance with Deloitte and Touche. After a little over four years with them, I served as the Assistant Controller for Beazer Homes, a publicly traded real estate company, followed by a role as Controller for NetPro, a small software company. Throughout my career, I focused on process improvement around the accounting close process. This led to my next role as Associate Director of Global Close and Strategic Initiatives at Apollo Group, one of the world’s largest private education providers, where I implemented BlackLine. I immediately saw the value in what BlackLine had to offer and used that as a springboard to join the BlackLine team in February 2011. I know have the opportunity to travel all over and talk to CFO's, Controllers, Auditors and other Accounting and Finance Professionals about the overall close process, areas where there tend to be inefficient processes and possibly even control weaknesses and most importantly, ways to overcome those challenges. Helping accountants eliminate the manual and mundane work through automation and giving them precious time back to spend with family and friends is what motivates me. I love being able to use my experiences to help others optimize their close so that they can have comfort their financial numbers are right and do not have to spend long evenings and many weekends in the office.

Chapter Spotlight

Mu Alpha Chapter, Ithaca College

Over the past few years, Ithaca College’s Mu Alpha Chapter has made great efforts to improve its New York City “Meet the Firms on Their Own Turf” Networking Trip – a three day excursion with up to 35 students five hours from our campus in upstate New York.  For the past four years, our Chapter has organized the trip at the beginning of the Fall semester to provide significant networking opportunities for its members with top accounting and finance firms including J.P. Morgan, BlackRock, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Citi, and several others.  This year, the Chapter’s adviser Professor Patricia Libby and the officers continued to evolve the process to enhance the professional development of the students.

Questions about any of the articles in this issue? Want to be featured in our alumni or chapter spotlight?  Contact Cortney Sanders at
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