Thursday, November 1, 2012

Real World - Year One

Once upon a time, I promised you a post on how I became an accountant. What better time to write such a post than on the one year anniversary of my first day of work in the real world?

On this day last year, I walked into my office and settled into the cube that would become my home away from home (depressing as that may be). I had interned with my company twice before, so I didn't have the usual "first day jitters." I was just excited to see everyone again and earn that paycheck!

But let's rewind to how I actually got here.

I've always liked math. But I also really like people. There aren't too many professions that marry the two, except for maybe teaching. I have the patience of a gnat, so that was certainly out of the question.  When I went to Clemson, I majored in Business, and took all the prerequisite business classes my first year. After that first year, you have to choose a concentration (Economics, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, or Management). 

I chose Finance with the intention of being a financial planner. That way, I could still use math (and money!) but I would work with people all day long. Win win!

It wasn't until I was semesters deep in corporate finance classes that I realized I hated all of my classes. I wasn't doing well in them and I was frustrated because I would never need to know half the stuff I was learning to be a financial planner. 

I was however doing well in my accounting classes. I guess I never really knew what an accountant did (besides taxes, ew) so I never really gave it any thought. I sat down with one of my professors and he encouraged me to switch majors. 

Next thing I knew, I was an accounting major on the fast track to becoming a CPA. I got a job with an accounting firm (the same firm I work for now) as a summer intern working in their Accounts Receivable department. Turns out, I loved the job and I loved the people even more! I did some finagling of my schedule, and ended up graduating a semester early from undergrad so I could intern in the audit department during busy season with the same firm.

I was given a full-time job offer at the end of my internship, returned to graduate school to get my master's degree, passed the CPA exam, and started work last November as an auditor. (I still remain firmly of the opinion that I will always hate taxes. I don't/can't/won't even do my own.)


A little bit about what I actually do as an auditor:

We have a bad rap. I get it. No one likes the guys who come in looking for fraud. But most of our clients are really great and we're not all that bad, I promise! We just come in and make sure the accounting transactions during the year are legit. No harm, no foul.

I work in a team and deal with the people who work at our clients all day long, so that's how I maintain sanity with people interaction. I don't sit at a desk all day by myself and crunch numbers. I'm usually sitting at a tiny conference table with a coworker, taking breaks to chat about anything under the sun. It's amazing what you learn about people when you share close quarters and a meal together for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week!

I can't believe I've already been working for a whole year! It certainly flew by, even with the fun that is busy season. I was on a panel this week for our new hires and was amazed that I had any sliver of advice for them. It's crazy to look back at how much I've learned in the past year. 

I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon. I think I'm one of those rare people who truly likes loves their job! I'm blessed!

And funnily enough, I actually have my own financial planner now. Weird how things turn out!

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