Time Travel: The History of Accounting

Once a number cruncher, always a number cruncher!

The celebration of the UT Accounting Program’s centennial anniversary is fast approaching. What would be a better way to celebrate this longstanding success than looking back at how the field of accounting was born? This will be the first of a three-part series on accounting: how it started; how it’s viewed and used in today’s world; and how the accounting program was established and developed at UT.

It might be a surprise to some, but accounting is one of the oldest professions in history. Families and small communities had to account for food and other necessities in preparation for cold and harsh seasons. Researchers and anthropologists found evidence of accounting records that existed during the Babylon Empire. In other words, formal accounting records were already in existence since 4500 BC! They also found accounting records in the Code of Hammurabi which dates back to 2250 BC! This just proves that as business transactions and government tax systems became more complex, people knew that they had to account and keep track of their revenues and expenses. Continue reading Time Travel: The History of Accounting

Not Just Your Average Number Cruncher

I thought I would take a minute to talk about one of my classes again.  This time I am not so much in fear of the class, as I am enjoying it!  My business communication class is turning out to be very useful and practical for my life and career.  We are learning about writing, speaking, and interpersonal communication skills – all KEY skills to being successful in an accounting career, and pretty much any other career for that matter.

Some of the assignments so far include memo writing and revision, presenting in front of the class, and learning how to work with various personality types.  Even as I am writing this blog, I am thinking about some of the tips and tools to write more effectively (most notably, the SEC recommendations issued in the “SEC Plain English Handbook“).  When writing a memo, (which I anticipate writing many as an accountant), it is important to be clear and concise.  More importantly, you must know who your audience is and direct your writing towards them.  A memo directed to the CEO versus one directed to lower level staff may have a different tone and different information because who its intended audience is.  The SEC guide shows many more suggestions for how to write and communicate most effectively. Continue reading Not Just Your Average Number Cruncher

In defense of mock interviews

Rishnie and I at our first MPA recruiting event!

Hello everyone! Recruiting season is officially here! This week was a relatively light week according to older MPAs and my audit professor, Professor Kachelmeier.  Regardless, this week has definitely taught me that time management is going to be ESSENTIAL as the recruiting season goes on. This week we had mock interviews, and company nights with a few firms. I will share with you three things that mock interviews taught me this week.

1. Don’t be nervous: This is KEY to the interview process. I can tell you that before I have even had my first ‘real interview’ because it is a universal truth that completely applies here. Your interviewer can sense your nerves. Sounding nervous can convey the message that you are unprepared, which is something that can quickly put you at the bottom of the firm’s prospective intern list. You have to remember that recruiters are people too.  Don’t be nervous because you think that they are judging you. They truly WANT you to succeed.

2. Be yourself: I think this little idiom applies to every aspect of life, however, I will explain its relevance in regard to mock interviews/real interviews. Basically what it all boils down to is that we are all MPAs.  Texas has the number one accounting program in the nation, and the recruiters know how well McCombs prepares us for our careers. That being said, your interviewer is really trying to discover if you would be a good fit for his/her firm. It is all about your personality because nobody wants to work with colleagues that they do not like. You must stay true to yourself because the “interview version” of you must be consistent with the “work version” or else you convey that you are not being real.

3. Practice makes perfect: There is no better way to prepare for real interviews than participating in a mock interview. If you make a mistake in a mock interview, you can fix it before your real interviews. If you make a mistake in your real interview, you can’t go back and fix it.

I strongly encourage EVERYONE to do mock interviews and please comment if you have any questions about the process!

A different perspective…

If you read Melissa’s post from a couple of days ago, she spoke about the MPA: Building Connections event about an introduction to recruiting.  I was also at the event but on the other side – helping the 3rd year MPAs practice recruiting by posing as a recruiter and giving networking advice.  It was pretty fun doing this! I got to talk to the students and get to know where they were in the recruiting process and what their interests are in the accounting profession.

The funny thing is that I also learned a lot from this event.  It had been a while (at least 6 months) since I was at a networking/recruiting event and I was a little rusty on my skills.  Listening to what Michelle Polkinghorn and others had to say was a great reminder of the small details that make you stand out from others, as well as great refresher on the conventions and etiquette of business interactions.  Mainly, it was fun talking to the 3rd years and sharing my experiences with them.  I was able to talk about my internship experience, what I liked and what I did not like, and then relate that back to them and to help them take advantage of their opportunities.

If any 3rd years (or anyone else for that matter) have questions about recruiting or networking tips, the people at career services are experts in that area.  In addition, I would be happy to share my  thoughts with anyone about my experiences in networking, both in a recruiting sense as well as in a general sense.  Networking can definitely be tiring, but it is also very fun, so enjoy it and take advantage of meeting new and exciting people!

Please leave comments or questions below.

A peek into how some things work.

Happy new year to everyone! I know I may be belated in saying this, but while we’re in the month of January, it still feels like the new year has just sprung.

I read an article the other day about resolutions. According to the article, social scientists have recently concluded that “willpower is a real form of mental energy powered by glucose in the bloodstream, which is used up as you exert self-control.” It’s interesting to think of willpower as being not only mental but also physiological. We’re depleting our stores of glucose whenever we attempt to pull ourselves away from immediate desires and wishes. (When faced with temptations, it’s like walking your 90 pound dog when there are squirrels in the vicinity).  The article’s thesis is pretty intuitive: avoid depleting those precious stores by knowing yourself and your weaknesses better and planning accordingly. I think about my precious glucose from time to time this semester, which is already looking like it’ll be a busy one.

This Spring, I’ll be working for the development team at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, a nonprofit organization that provides services, consulting and otherwise, to nonprofits in the Central Texas area. It’s going great! On top of my daily duties, I am surrounded by nonprofit “shoptalk” and resources, have access to training sessions and workshops on topics from grant writing to board essentials, and am being thoroughly educated every day on the ins and outs of the industry. Greenlights is a small organization comprised of about 10 people all in love with nonprofits for one reason or another. My own fondness for nonprofits stems (quite simply) from their assertion of hope, which is infused into every mission statement out there. I’m reading a book right now that provides the following statistic, which I think is pretty interesting. Continue reading A peek into how some things work.

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