Accounting Opportunities Week 2022 granted thousands of students across the country the chance to ask CPAs what a future career in accounting and finance looks like.
The initiative was a collaboration among 35 state CPA societies and AICPA® & CIMA® to raise student awareness within the accounting and finance profession.
Lindsey Haley, Iowa Society of CPAs, highlighted the program’s positive reception among her state’s CPAs.
“Iowa was thrilled to partner with AICPA and other state societies to launch Accounting Opportunities Week. It was very well received by my members; I had more members sign up than I could match up to classrooms.
“As one of my members said… 'Accounting Opportunities Week is an outstanding program, targeted at real-world application and potential career opportunities in business and beyond.'”
In total, 416 CPAs told their stories to 12,579 students across the U.S. The inaugural initiative culminated in a total of 509 presentations from CPA volunteers.
If you’re interested in inspiring the next generation of CPAs and are passionate about your profession, then the next Accounting Opportunities Week is for you.
Light the flame for the next generation of CPAs
Conveying the profession’s possibilities provides ample opportunities to reach and excite students. Our profession offers many options within a tapestry of commerce, including not-for-profits, sports, education and the arts.
Accounting Opportunities Week offers a chance to show students that the profession is an inclusive realm catering to interests beyond the numerical-ability tropes still largely synonymous with the profession.
How to effectively share your CPA story with students
Speaking to students isn’t about being the world’s best motivational speaker. It’s about engaging students by sharing your story. Tell them about your personal journey and the opportunities afforded to you by the path you chose.
Here are a few things to remember:
1. Take an inclusive approach when talking about a career in accounting and finance
Sure, you can engage ambitious students to consider a career in a sought-after profession. Yet, from the outside looking in, the accounting and finance profession may appear intimidating.
Instead, raise awareness of the many career paths within our profession that cater to an inclusive learning pathway as well as standard undergraduate courses, Masters programs and graduate opportunities within traditional financial organizations.
(Photo: Kathy Rizzo, CPA, speaking at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, Haverhill, Mass., as part of Accounting Opportunities Week.)
2. Paint a clear (and exciting) picture of the modern-day accountant
Talking about your profession may be second nature to you, but reaching students is an entirely different ball game.
The key is to keep students engaged. While technical terms are interesting to accounting and finance majors, a scholarly approach could exclude teenagers from testing the waters.
A good starting point is to paint a picture of what a modern-day accountant looks like. As you’ll know, accountants are required for anything that involves capital, from art galleries, charitable endeavors and music labels to film production companies and tech start-ups.
Getting this point across to students will help your presentation. Better yet, it won’t be as hard as you think.
Recent research on Gen Z’s attitudes toward money reported that 35% of that demographic had devised a business plan, while 64% said they had researched and talked to others about financial planning.
An appetite for the profession certainly exists.
3. Convey your message with ThisWayToCPA presentations
To increase engagement opportunities within classrooms and build a genuine rapport with your student audience, utilizing the many interactive presentations and guides on why an accounting and finance career appeals to a Gen Z audience will be beneficial.
Provided by ThisWayToCPA, the materials are designed to expand students’ awareness (and pique interest) in an accounting and finance career.
When you’re ready to get started, we’ve got:
Starter pack presentations to use on the day of your talk, including the many exciting organizations accountants work in, such as the FBI, TikTok and the NFL
Optional activities to engage students and make the presentations more interactive
Information on the benefits of an AICPA Student Affiliate membership
Volunteer training videos, presenter tips and volunteer talking points
State CPA societies also have great resources to share with CPAs who want to reach students, so be sure to check your state society’s website, too.
(Photo: Jalen Taylor, CPA, with students at East Feliciana High School, Jackson, La., as part of Accounting Opportunities Week.)
How to participate in Accounting Opportunities Week 2023
Thanks to November’s Accounting Opportunities Week, 12,579 more students know what a career in accounting and finance looks like.
Accounting Opportunities Week 2023 aims to reach more students. Join the fun! Get involved and explore the tools to promote the accounting and finance profession.
For more information on how you can get involved, please email Christin.Hunter@aicpa-cima.com.