By Katherine Segovia,
Stillman News Writer
In addition to her graduate and undergraduate education at New York University and Manhattan College, Theresa Henry, associate professor in the department of accounting and taxation, has six years of experience working in the accounting industry.
Before she began teaching at Seton Hall University in 2003, she was a staff auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and an assistant controller in Manhattan College’s department of business and finance.
Henry said when it comes to maintaining a career in the accounting industry, organization is key.
“You have to be hard-working, you have to be organized, you have to juggle a lot of different responsibilities so organization is key,” Henry said.
“Also, because you’re dealing with a lot of detail, it’s important to be organized and systematic in the way that you approach your work.”
When preparing for an interview with an accounting firm, Henry recommends that students do thorough research on the company and the position they have applied for.
This way, the student can ask the interviewer specific and intelligent questions about the company instead of just general questions.
If a student wants to become a certified public accountant (CPA), Henry advises that they come up with a plan. To become a CPA, one must complete 150 credits.
One option that she recommends is completing a five-year master’s program. Seton Hall has a Master of Science and Professional Accounting program, which Henry says equips students with everything they need to prepare for the CPA exam.
Another route that students can take is acquiring their bachelor’s degree and double majoring in accounting and another business concentration.
Henry said students should also get involved in extracurricular activities such as the accounting club and Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for accounting, finance, and information technology.
These organizations provide students with networking opportunities with both the Big
Four accounting firms and midsize regional accounting firms.
For freshman who are just beginning their classes in accounting, Henry recommends that they network and attend club meetings.
“Network as much as possible, learn as much as possible so that you can make a good decision,” she said. “There are so many different opportunities within accounting so I think [students] should try to come to as many club meetings as they can so they can learn about all these different companies and what’s the best fit for them.”
As for seniors who are searching for jobs, Henry said they should be open-minded about their job opportunities.
“Don’t think that the Big Four firms are the end all be all because there are so many other different types of opportunities,” Henry said.
“Just try to be open-minded about the opportunities that are out there.”
Henry said students should work on their resumes and gain experience in both accounting and non-accounting jobs.
If students can have some management experience, overseeing staff, or customer relation experience dealing with customers, it can help students distinguish themselves.
“Eventually they will be dealing with clients,” she said.
“So, just being able to demonstrate those aspects of general character and skill-sets is helpful. It doesn’t always have to be accounting. If they can show positions of responsibility, that’s also great.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.
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