In This Issue
• Just One More Way You Can Help! UACPA
Financial Literacy Program
• Diversity: What Can the IRS Do for Me?
• Today is that Day: A Simple Look into One
Student’s Unique Experience
• Professional Spotlight:
Mark D. Whiattaker, CPA
• Q & A
• ProNet Leadership Academy
Just One More Way You Can Help!
UACPA Financial Literacy Program
By Tory Norman, ProNet Council, BYU Student Affiliate
Since I began studying accounting at Brigham Young University, I knew that I wanted to work for a local Utah firm. However, I
found it difficult on campus to get exposure to the many opportunities available to accounting students in Utah. That is when I was
introduced to the ProNet Council. Through the ProNet Council, I have had numerous opportunities to visit local firms and talk to
CPAs and other accounting students throughout Utah. ...More.
What Can the IRS Do for Me?
By Eric Erickson of IRS Recruitment
Eric Erickson hosts the IRS Recruitment page on Facebook and was more
than happy to help out our readers. The following contains answers to some
of the questions we had about the IRS recruitment process and benefits of
joining the IRS: ...More.
Today is That Day:
A simple look into one student’s unique experience
By Nick Peterson, UVU Campas Ambassador
The ProNet Council asked me several months ago to publish an article in The
Disclosure regarding my accounting experience. I wondered what I could share
that would benefit this miraculous group of accounting students. In preparing for
this article, I decided to contact students from across Utah and ask them about
their overall accounting experience. Unfortunately, for many students, their overall
accounting experience has been purely academic and they feel that the lack of
professional experience steps in the way of pursuing this career. ...More.
Just One More Way You Can Help!
- continued Q&A
I soon learned, though, that networking Another Viewpoint on How Long to Stay in Public
was only a small part of what the ProNet
Council offers. In addition, the ProNet Accounting?
Council has offered me opportunities
Many accounting graduates will start But, of course, the answer differs for
to be involved in the accounting
their careers in public accounting everyone. You may find that the public
community and serve in a meaningful
Businessweek consistently ranks the accounting career track isn’t right for
way. One of my favorite experiences has
Big Four firms the top in its annual you and decide to leave to start your
been working with the Financial Literacy
“Best Places to Launch a Career” list, own business. Perhaps you desire a
program. I was introduced to the
and public accountants are exposed to career in information systems or sales.
program during a local UACPA chapter
numerous companies from a variety of Maybe work-life balance is an issue
luncheon. I felt the program was a good
industries even in entry-level positions. (bear in mind that many corporate
opportunity for me to start applying
This diversity, coupled with the nature accountants have their own “busy
the skills I was learning and become
of public accounting work, provides seasons” at monthly and/or quarterly
involved in the UACPA.
fantastic opportunities to learn about close periods). The unfortunate scenario
Because of my background in Spanish, businesses from the ground up and gain occurs when someone begins in public
I was offered an opportunity to help in valuable technical accounting skills. The accounting but hates it, gets burned out,
the development, translation, and filming learning curve is steep, but those with and quits after a few short years only to
of the UACPA’s new Financial Literacy public accounting experience are highly desperately accept a low-level corporate
seminars online. Over Christmas break, valued. Some even believe the first position that fails to take advantage of
I had the opportunity to work with the few years in public accounting are akin his or her full potential.
UACPA management to design the to a medical professional’s residency
slides and develop the content in both years. But with relatively high turnover As one professional noted, stay until
English and Spanish. Once the content rates and few professionals remaining “you get an offer you can’t refuse.”
was completed, I was asked to help in public accounting more than several Contemplate the growth opportunities
teach the recordings of the English years, some students wonder how long of the new job, determine whether it will
and Spanish webinars as well. Since they should stay in public accounting help you acquire new skills, consider
that time I have been able to maintain before exploring other options. the people you will be working with, and
correspondence with participants of reflect on your career goals to decide if
the webinars via email and help them The rule of thumb seems to be to stay you should revise your career plans to
as they develop their personal financial at least until you make manager, which capitalize. The biggest thing to consider
goals. is typically after five years of experience. is whether or not you are passionate
Managers gain excellent experience in about what you are pursuing. After
This experience working with the
project management, client relationships, all, we all have different priorities and
Financial Literacy program has helped
and decision making. Public accounting interests.
me develop myself as a person and
managers also tend to go on to become
as an accountant. It has also helped Special thanks to Derek Anderson, Dan
controllers and CFOs due to their valued
me feel more a part of the UACPA and Griffiths, and Matt McReynolds for their
the community. I feel like participating contributions to this article! ▪
in programs like Financial Literacy or
the ProNet council is an important
part of being a CPA. As CPAs, we ProNet Leadership Academy
have a gift of working with numbers
• Exceptional leadership skills,
and understanding finances. These
for an exclusive group of young
experiences have taught me that it’s our
obligation to serve our communities with
• Learn to Leverage your Unique
these skills and, if we are willing to take
that charge, the rewards are far greater
• Understand the Strengths of
than any monetary compensation or
praise we could receive. I am grateful
• Create a Network of ProNet
to the UACPA and the ProNet council
for the many opportunities they have
provided to me and would encourage
The ProNet Leadership Academy is Don’t miss your chance to apply or
anyone who can to get involved with
accepting just 30 young professionals to nominate an exceptional young CPA!
these programs because they have a
real and lasting effect on the community participate in this exclusive opportunity. Click here for fill-in application.
and on future CPAs like myself. ▪ The application deadline is quickly
approaching - June 15, 2011 for the More details on the website - click here.
class of 2011.
Diversity - continued tax compliance officers. We also have
jobs for people who are communicators,
1. The hiring process for the IRS human resource specialists, statisticians,
People who are interested in working at policy analysts, research analysts and
the IRS can begin the process at the IRS lawyers.
Careers website at jobs.irs.gov. From For a list of many of the jobs offered at
there, people can click the ‘Search & the IRS, I suggest people visit the IRS
Apply’ button to be linked directly to the Careers website at this link:http://www.
IRS section of USAJobs, which is where jobs.irs.gov/careers.html
we post our jobs. Once a user creates 4. Benefits
a USAJobs account, they can upload
résumés to be used when applying for As an IRS employee, we are federal
open announcements. employees and generally able to
enroll in many different insurance and
Listed in the job announcements are are ranked the highest generally move
benefit programs. Here’s a great link
the specific qualifications, background to the next phase in the process. For
to an OPM site which lays out the
and education requirements needed some positions, applicants need to
different benefits programs available
to qualify for a particular position. take an assessment to determine their
to federal employees:http://www.
The piece of advice we give most knowledge about specific topics. For
often to applicants is to review these other positions, groups of applicants
requirements carefully, and be sure to are interviewed – generally by a panel of
address them as thoroughly as possible managers and employees. Full-time IRS employees also receive sick
in your application. leave and annual leave. For instance,
2. Local branches of the IRS
in the first year of employment, an
When a user finds a job which interests The IRS has offices in every state. employee will earn about 8 days of
them, they simply click on the link to We have four main branches, each sick leave and an additional 8 days of
apply for the position. They will then focused on a specific type of taxpayer: vacation time, which we call annual
select which saved résumé they want individual, large business, small business leave.
to use to apply for that announcement and tax-exempt organizations. Three
and submit it through their USAJobs On top of these benefits, employees
of these divisions are headquartered
account. may be able to participate in other
in Washington DC with the fourth in
programs – depending on their job. For
There is generally a human Atlanta, GA.
instance, the IRS offers alternative work
resources specialist listed in each job We have more than 15 offices around schedules, such as working four-day
announcement along with their contact Utah, most of which are in Ogden. The work weeks, 10 hours a day.
information. Applicants are encouraged IRS has several large centers around the
to contact that specialist with questions Also, our employees receive top-notch
country where tax returns are processed
related to the announcement. training to ensure success on the job.
– we refer to these centers as ‘IRS
Aside from specialized training for their
Users can also create USAJobs campuses.’ One of these campuses is in
current jobs, employees can participate
search agents, which allow people to Ogden, where we have more than 3,000
in leadership classes to give them
select criteria for a job they would like. employees. Many of the positions at
the skills necessary to move up in the
USAJobs will send an e-mail alert to the these processing centers are seasonal,
user, letting them know that a position temporary and part-time. Being hired as
was posted which meets their pre- a seasonal or temporary employee is a 5. A brief summary of what a typical
selected criteria. great way to get your foot in the door. day is like for an IRS employee
We have several employees who were This really varies depending on the job
The process differs depending on
hired for an entry-level job at a campus, they do. We have several ‘day-in-the-
the type of position. For instance, we
and have moved on to become leaders life’ videos on our IRS Careers website
have seasonal, temporary and full-time
here at the IRS. featuring actual employees talking about
positions. There in Utah – in Ogden –
we have one of our centers where tax We also have offices in Provo, Marriott- what they do in their typical day.
returns are processed. We have several Slaterville and St. George; and an Here’s the link to that page:
of these centers around the country, and additional two offices in Salt Lake City.
these centers are where the majority of 3. Types of jobs offered employee-profiles.html. ▪
our seasonal employees work.
There is a perception that the IRS is
Generally, once an applicant submits just about taxes, however we have
a résumé, their application is reviewed jobs for people with a wide variety of
by an HR specialist, who determines backgrounds. Naturally, we do have
– based on the information provided jobs focused on tax law – such as our
by the applicant – if they are qualified revenue agents, revenue officers and
for the position. The applicants who
Professional Spotlight: Mark D. Whittaker, CPA
By Jonathan Berrett, UVU Student Affiliate
Mark decided to pursue a career as a CPA when filling insurance needs, or implementing retirement
he was in the 9th grade. His high school offered plans. One of Marks strengths is helping clients
a bookkeeping class which he took and enjoyed. understand which investment options are wise for
Around that time, he saw a survey on TV describing their individual situation.
the stability of various professions; working as a Mark and his wife have 11 children and spend a lot
CPA was one of the top picks. of time participating in varying activities with them
At an early age, he set this goal to become a CPA from soccer to horse training. Mark also loves to
and was determined to accomplish it. As a college travel. Last summer Mark explored the island of
graduate, Mark had job offers in other industries Aruba with his family for a week. One of the best
that would pay better starting wages than an vacations he ever took was a halibut and salmon
entry-level accounting position for a national firm. fishing trip in Alaska.
However, He stuck to his plan and is very happy Besides vacations, he attends professional conferences every
with his decision. He said it was definitely the better long-term summer and loves to learn new things. He values continued
decision. professional training and feels it important to remain sharp.
Mark is currently a partner of Hawkins Cloward & Simister, a Maintaining specialized knowledge puts you in a strong
highly respected local accounting firm. As a full-service firm, position to help clients.
Hawkins Cloward & Simister administers audits of government Mark suggests that students gain a strong understanding
and private entities. They also do litigation support for of accounting principles. It is well worth the effort to apply
companies that need a receiver to take in assets and oversee oneself and come out of college with good grades in order to
the proper dispersion of them. Another frequent service they land a decent job with a reputable firm or company. On-the-
perform is business valuations to help buyers or sellers assess job training with an excellent company opens many doors of
a company’s true value. Lastly, they do estate planning to help opportunity. Working for a national firm is not the only way
people pass their wealth to children wisely. to go, but when planning your career, look for the best type
Mark loves his job and has found a lot of diversity in working of company or firm in your desired specialty and shoot for it.
as a public accountant because you are exposed to both Don’t sell yourself short.
public and private entities and so many types and sizes For accounting students who aren’t sure what to specialize
of businesses. He said he experiences new and different in, Mark recommends an internship with a local business to
opportunities every day. get a real taste of how auditing, tax, or other disciplines you
For him, the most gratifying part of his job is helping people feel you might be interested in would be. And lastly, if you are
make wise business and retirement decisions. Right after tax trying to decide whether to pursue a CPA certification or not;
season, Mark spends time going over notes he took while do it! You’re much more likely to get a great job as a CPA than
doing taxes with clients and then assists them in reaching their with an undergraduate degree in business or accounting. This
goals whether it is an exit strategy, gifting ownership to family, specialty makes a big difference to employers. ▪
FUN with Accounting
The auditors have taken an inventory of thermometers held in a
warehouse, in summer. The thermometers will be exported out of
the country in January, and are kept under lock and key.
In December, auditors ask management to redo the inventory
count. The management is surprised. “Why? Nothing has
changed.” The auditors tell them, “The inventory is overstated, in
summer there is more mercury in the thermometers.”
Today is That Day - continued There are others whose career goals is: What sorts of growth opportunities
may be different and for them, the will come with my new job? Is this
They also gain excellent project resume and job market perceptions that something that is going to help me
management experience and generally flow from it may not be relevant. I know acquire new skills? Will I be working
have opportunities for higher levels three very successful entrepreneurs who with people that I can learn from? Will it
of interaction with decision makers at left public accounting after less than two further my career goals (whatever those
clients and generally develop some sales years. In their cases, it is unlikely they goals may be)?
skills and savvy. will ever use a resume to get a corporate
job. It’s just not the career path they have One unfortunate scenario I have
The other thing that the job market place chosen. They all make good money, love observed occurs when someone starts
values is the fact that public accounting their work and for them, leaving public out in public accounting (because
generally attracts a fairly competitive, accounting early was probably the right everyone told them that that’s what
bright group of people. First, you have choice. you’re supposed to do), hates it, gets
to get accepted into the business burned out and quits after a year or two.
school, then you have to get accepted In my case, I started public accounting They are so desperate to get out of their
into the accounting program, then you convinced that I would stay at least miserable job that they decide to leave
have to take the GMAT (depending on until I made manager. At that point, I to take a job as the Accounts Payable
the program) and get accepted into the figured that I would be able to decide clerk at a small company. This could be
graduate program. Then you have to whether the partner track was for me a good move if they would like to be an
survive recruiting and convince a public or whether I should start looking for A/P clerk or assistant controller for the
accounting firm to give you and offer. other opportunities. As it turned out, rest of their career. However, if that is
much earlier than expected, someone not part of their career plan, then this will
Once in public accounting, the level in my network contacted me with an likely result in a major career setback and
of competition rises as the group of unsolicited opportunity that I could not a lot of dissatisfaction.
accountants that has made it through refuse (a very good CFO position with
the gauntlet of school and recruiting ownership and lots of upside). Accepting Finally, if you’re not excited about
now competes for a limited number that job was the best decision I could spending a few years in public
of available promotions. A resume have made and things have worked out accounting, don’t. As one of my
that shows that someone was able to very well. It was really a matter of chance accounting professors used to put
compete well enough to get into public that the job came along when it did. In it, “if you’re not passionate about the
accounting and then be successful in most cases, something like that doesn’t opportunities that you are pursuing, then
getting promoted through the ranks up just fall out of the sky, but when it does, in a few years, you will find yourself in a
to manager can really help a candidate you may want to consider revising your boring job as the controller of a dog food
stand out. This all assumes of course career plans to capitalize. plant.”
that you are interested in going after
corporate jobs where this sort of resume I think the big question to ask when If you have any questions you would like
will be useful in distinguishing yourself. contemplating leaving public accounting researched for you, please contact us
through firstname.lastname@example.org. ▪
• The Disclosure E-mail
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The Disclosure Student Newsletter is produced by the UACPA ProNet Council Communications Committee.
Please contact us at ProNetComm11@uacpa.org with comments or suggestions for this publication.