An excerpt from Jeremy’s blog post was printed in our latest issue of Interim Report, which dropped this week! Read below for the full article on Jeremy’s experience.
By: Jeremy Jacobs
As I stood in the foyer of the South Residence Hall at Wake Forest University, it dawned on me—I was in the presence of some of the best and brightest accounting students in North Carolina. Forty-eight students, representing 23 schools throughout the state, were in attendance to learn about our future profession through lectures, group activities, and networking with professionals from a multitude of backgrounds. As a rising senior at UNC–Wilmington and an upcoming inductee for Beta Alpha Psi, I try to engage in many of the events that members from the accounting profession take part in. These events, though informative, leave little time for one-on-one conversation and are often very rushed as the majority of the student body is vying for the same audience. NCACPA created the Student Leadership Institute of North Carolina (SLINC) with this concern in mind. The event presented students with a more personal setting allowing increased access to the individuals who may one day be our colleagues.
SLINC 2013 kicked off with a warm welcome from Jared Plummer, CPA, who introduced us as the inaugural class and congratulated us on being selected. It was evident in the first few minutes of Jared’s opening remarks that a lot of hard work and time had been put forth to make this weekend possible.
Throughout the first day we listened to many great speakers and were engaged in different group and individual activities. Our first speaker, Dr. Kevin Snyder, hit on a point that still resonates with me. Dr. Snyder stated, “An invincible determination can accomplish anything,” and just that concept alone is driving me to be better in all that I do. It is very easy in life to let the fire that drives you die out, to no longer challenge yourself, to stop striving for that next unaccomplished level, but if we stay passionate about the things we want for ourselves we will continue to accomplish great things.
Sharon Hill of Sharon Hill International gave an outstanding presentation during our lunch in which she walked us through our entire meal explaining proper dining etiquette. Everything from knife placement when it is not being used to identifying which bread is yours was reviewed. As a former chef from New York and having had the pleasure of working in some fine dining establishments, I thought I knew a great deal of proper dining etiquette. I was wrong! Many of us have created habits in the way we eat, and it never occurred to me that a lot of these habits can be seen as personality indicators.
As the day continued, two topics were discussed that I would have benefited from greatly before I began working 20 years ago and are essential for those not yet in the workforce. Jonathan Kraftchick, CPA, spoke to us about personal finance and the common mistakes many people make once out of school with an exciting new career and some money in their pocket. I made a lot of the mistakes Jonathan spoke about because I wasn’t fortunate enough to have this information. Kim Bullard spoke on the proper ways to conduct oneself during an interview. A major point of concern is social media and the Internet. Employers are researching applicants before the interview and what is posted on Facebook or other outlets can be a deciding factor. It is crucial to be conscientious of the information and pictures you make public.IH
The mock interviews fell in late afternoon where each of us had a 15-minute interview with a professional while a reviewer looked on to provide feedback. Meet the firms followed, where we were able to speak one-on-one with representatives from the accounting firms and colleges in attendance. Unlike the rushed feeling experienced at on-campus events, this atmosphere was more relaxed allowing for lengthy, in-depth conversations that provided helpful information about the company and next steps we should take.
Day 2 opened with an extremely entertaining debate between audit and tax. John F. Gonella, CPA, represented the tax side and Jonathan Kraftchick, CPA, represented the audit. Both individuals presented their side very well and while I will not give my opinion to who won the debate, I will say, I am still going into audit!
Two panel discussions followed to answer questions we submitted prior to the weekend. First, Renata Lynn, CPA; Zach Levin, CPA; and Jared Plummer, CPA, discussed the requirements for taking the CPA exam and the steps that follow to become a CPA. The second panel discussed the transition from school to work and the many common mistakes students make when first entering the professional world. Lisa P. Buff, CPA; Whitney Gann, CPA; and Mark Soticheck, CPA, discussed how communication skills are one of the leading problems they see with new applicants. In a world filled with text and email, personal communication has declined.
This was a very enriching experience for me, as I imagine it was for all in attendance. If there is one thing I have learned in my thirty-four years, good or bad, it is that you will learn from every person and situation you encounter. This weekend I either learned something I had never known before, or remembered concepts and principals previously forgotten. I would personally like to thank all of the individuals who took time out of their busy schedules and left behind work or family, as well as the sponsors who made this event possible for us. It is very encouraging for students to see an industry so engaged in our future and the path we are on.
Jeremy Jacobs is former Chef from New York and currently the Service Manager for Carolina Coast Harley-Davidson in Wilmington, NC. A senior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Jeremy will begin the MSA program in the fall. He an associate member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA), serves on the board for the Cape Fear chapter and will begin a one year term as student liaison to the Young CPA cabinet in May. Recently Jeremy was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma and is currently the treasurer / V.P. of socials and services for the Iota Alpha chapter of Beta Alpha Psi. With the start of the MSA program in the fall he will assume the position of president of the chapter.