Alison’s note: Today’s Career Inspiration Interview is extra special since it is from my mom. She’s a wonderful lady who is excellent at what she does. If you ever need tax help she’s a great resource. As she notes in her post she’s very patient with explaining all things accounting. Thanks for participating Mom!
Name: Ellen E. Horner
Title: Certified Public Accountant
ellen (at) coscpas dot com
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
As a CPA, I work in an office and deal with financial issues for individuals and businesses. Every day is different. My job is to solve various problems for my clients. We prepare tax returns for individuals and businesses, as well as provide financial services such as financial statement preparation, payroll reports, personal property returns, and business planning.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
I like working with clients, who bring a different perspective to any issue. It is also fun to learn new computer applications and to determine solutions that are applicable to unique situations.
How did you get into your field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
I got a degree in accounting as a second degree – my first degree was in teaching. I enjoyed teaching, but I wanted to do something that had more flexibility and that had the potential to be more financially rewarding.
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
I was most surprised to learn that the human side of accounting was so significant. One part of my job is to explain the impact of financial and tax issues to clients. The experience in teaching was very helpful. In this field, you need to understand computers and numbers, but I did not realize that the most important quality after that is the need for social skills.
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
Yes, an accounting degree or a certain number of hours in specific courses is required in order to take the CPA exam.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
Co-workers and company culture have the greatest impact on my job satisfaction, because this drives the atmosphere and creativity of the workplace.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
Accounting is a wonderful field with lots of job opportunities. The stereotype of the drab accountant with no interaction with others is outdated. Computer software has eliminated most of the monotony. Today, CPA’s spend more of their time thinking about solutions to problems and discussing possibilities with clients. You should consider this field if you like people, if you like computers and solving problems, and if you like the possibility that there will be jobs available for you when you are available for the job.