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Vol. 5, Issue 3: Summer 2014
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Common Professional Designations in the Fields of Accounting and Finance


By Denise C. Probert, MPA, CPA
Vice President of CPA Education, Kaplan CPA Review


You may be certain of your interest in accounting and/or finance as your career choice. But, what professional designations should you consider? This article will present an overview of the most common professional advanced designations in the accounting and finance fields.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA advanced designation is considered the “gold standard” in the accounting profession. Regardless of the industry you choose, being a CPA will garner immediate respect and opportunities. In fact, the CPA designation is held by most Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and required for promotion to the manager level in most CPA firms. A CPA can earn 10–15% more in any given position than their non-CPA qualified peers. Starting salaries of CPAs range from $37,000 to $74,250 depending on geographic location, industry, and employer, according to the AICPA’s “Start Here, Go Places” website. In 2009, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) released survey results which showed the average CPA salary as $110,095.

Perfecting Your Public Speaking Skills


By Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director, Robert Half

As a finance, accounting or IT professional, your future employers will value you not only for your technical or functional skills, but also for your soft skills, including the ability to make group presentations. Whether it’s a public speech or a client presentation, you’ll likely be asked to step up to the proverbial podium sooner or later. But don’t fret if the idea of speaking in public gives you a dry throat and sweaty palms. Nearly everyone experiences some anxiety about public speaking. 

Here are 10 tips for making sure your next presentation is polished, information packed and memorable — for all the right reasons.

1. Prepare.
You were likely asked to give a presentation because you’re knowledgeable about the topic. Even so, you’ll still need to do some prep work. Knowing the information and knowing how to present the information are two very different things — and both are important components of a successful presentation. Preparing will also make you feel more confident.  

What I do to try to be better every ... single ... day


By Corey Cines, CPA

Every day, I go into work, do the tasks assigned to me and (I like to think) do them well—I’m sure some would disagree. The problem is I’m really, really hungry. Not for food, I just ate lunch (delicious turkey sandwich with avocado). I’m starving professionally. Unfortunately, I’m not one to patiently sit at my desk working and improving “on schedule.” Quickly a concept hit me when I first started. If I want to accomplish my goals, I need to add other activities to my schedule to help expedite my growth and be better… every single day. Here are my three tips for doing so:

Tip No. 1: Read – I know, tough sell, but bear with me.
Everyone has ambitions they’re working toward accomplishing. Remember, there are 7 billion (last I heard) people in this world so someone has accomplished that feat before you. My recommendation is…cheat! Why re-invent the wheel when you can learn successfully from others who have done it before you?

How Social Media Affects Capital Markets


By Robert Serikstad, Delta Pi Chapter 

Historically the trading of stocks and their valuations has relied on computer algorithms based upon their prior performance. With the emergence of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook traders have begun to rethink their strategies. In addition, many trading platforms, including Bloomberg, have begun integrating social media feeds directly into their software. Tweets, on Twitter, and posts, on Facebook, that affect stocks come in four distinct types. These are messages that come directly from a publically traded company, messages from activist investors, messages from news organizations, and the collection and analysis of real-time, public sentiment for a company. 
 

Alumni Spotlight

Andy Kaestle, Ernst & Young

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

I was as a sophomore at the University of San Diego taking my first entry-level accounting course when I first considered becoming a CPA. I enjoyed the class so much that I decided to register for a couple more, declare my major to be accounting, and the rest is history. By the end of my second year of college, I had completed two internships - one at a real estate firm in Seattle and another at a tax accounting firm in San Diego. During my junior year I earned a summer internship with Ernst & Young (EY), which ended up being a fantastic learning experience, and one that led to a full-time job. These internships afforded me the opportunity to work with real responsibilities, with real deadlines, and on real projects. It was satisfying to feel as though I was an important aspect to a team and adding value to our client’s business.

After graduating I earned a competitive summer internship with a private equity firm in Seattle before joining EY’s audit group in the fall. 


Alumni Spotlight

Tyler Rowland, Trainer, Wright, & Paterno

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

My first college courses started in the fall of 2006 at Ashland Community & Technical College when I was undecided on my major. I had no idea that by the end of my college career that I would be involved in public speaking at universities like I am now or that I would be involved in any type of leadership. I stayed at ACTC two years to finish my basic courses before transferring to Marshall University in Huntington, WV in the fall of 2008 to major in finance. It was that semester at Marshall that I joined BAP. A few short months later I would be attending the regional meeting in Boston, and a couple of months after that I was elected as our chapter president. I also was elected as the president of the Dean's Student Advisory Board for the Lewis College of Business during my time at Marshall. I worked two jobs (one being an internship) and became involved in anything and everything on campus that I could. I was set to graduate with my finance degree in May of 2010, but decided to go to school for one more year to pursue an additional degree in accounting. I learned a lot about public accounting through all the networking I did in BAP and grew to like the field. 


Chapter Spotlight

Alpha Nu Chapter, Creighton University

On March 25th, 2014, the Alpha Nu Chapter at Creighton University hosted a Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Webinar.  The chapter wanted to learn something that is not usually taught in the classroom and the Program of Chapter Activities led us to the topic of Conflict Resolution.  We saw this as the perfect opportunity to partner with Bryan Hanson from The Werner Institute for Negotiation and Resolution at the Creighton University School of Law.  Knowing this was something not usually covered in the classroom at many Colleges and Universities and the chapter wanting something different rather than just another speaker, we decided to host the event in a webinar format.


 
Questions about any of the articles in this issue? Want to be featured in our alumni or chapter spotlight?  Contact Samantha Simunyu at ssimunyu@aicpa.org.
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