How I Became a CPA

My story started at Thanksgiving 36 years ago. Like many, my parents had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. While Mom and others were in the kitchen making the food, I was watching the Macy’s parade and football in the family room. One of our guests came in, an accounting professor, and started a conversation with me. I was a senior in high school, so he asked where I was thinking of going to college (early admission was not a big deal in the early ‘80s) and what I wanted to do. I told him I wasn’t sure about the college, but that I would probably work to become a doctor.

He asked why a doctor? I said because becoming a doctor is hard to do and doctors help lots of people. He then asked if I would consider a profession that would get me out of school in half the time and still help lots of people. I said sure – but what kind of profession is that? That was when I heard about the CPA profession for the first time. He told me how CPAs help take care of all sorts of investors, from people making their own investments to people participating in pension plans (remember, this was the ‘80s and lots of people had pensions) and so forth.

I quickly realized that CPAs provided the trust that greased the wheels of the economy. I figured becoming a CPA was hard, but worth the effort. I also liked math a lot and thought that is what CPAs did (OK, that is the topic of a whole different blog, but suffice it to say, I was mistaken) and didn’t mind not having to deal with knives and blood. I took the professor’s advice and decided to major in accounting.

So, during the holidays ask that high school junior or senior at your friend’s or family’s house what they plan to major in. You never know – maybe you will change the course of someone’s life.

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