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Faculty Profile: Susan Mundy
Because it’s tax day, April 15, we thought it would be fun to catch up with one of our faculty and program directors in the School of Management, Susan Mundy, who directs our accounting program. Like our other faculty members, Susan has had experience working in the field she is directing. Susan has her CPA and an MBA. Here is what she had to say about life as an accountant and CityU’s accounting degree program:
City University of Seattle (CU): It’s tax time which means accountants are busy. This year accounting was ranked number three among best business professions by Money Magazine. Why do you encourage people to go into this profession?
Susan Mundy (SM): Accounting not only presents a multitude of good paying job opportunities, those opportunities are diverse. You can choose to prepare taxes, concentrate on financial accounting, or tie down compliance issues during an audit. Don’t like the routine of preparing monthly financial statements? You might want to find a job in Management Accounting. For those who choose not to work directly in accounting, they should be pleased to know that more people rise to top levels of management that are accounting majors than any other major. Employment opportunities for accountants are varied and plentiful enough that you can find an job that suits your personality and stage of life.
CU: What does a day in the life of an accountant look like?
SM: Fortunately, there isn’t a typical day for an accountant. As the work force has become more diverse and embraced a new generation of workers, the profession has become more open to accommodating how people work. That isn’t to say the profession isn’t a demanding one, it still is. You will work hard and most likely 40+ hours each week. With the importance of IFRS and convergence on the horizon and the emphasis on increased ethical accountability, the need to learn and grow are always in front of you. What I am saying is your accounting education will provide you with the opportunity to decide what you want to do and provide some flexibility as to where and when you work.
CU: What does the accounting program at CityU look like (how long does it take, who teaches the students, what specifically do you study, how long does it take)?
SM: The accounting program at City University of Seattle exposes students to the breadth and depth of accounting and business subjects to prepare students for their initial employment as well as provide the basis for recognized accounting certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant’s (CPA) Exam and Certified Management Accountant’s (CMA) exam. Providing this broad base of accounting and business knowledge rather than allowing students to concentrate on one area of accounting they think they want to pursue, prepares students for a variety of jobs they will have over their career. Student’s vary in the amount of time it takes to complete their degree. I have had full-time students who have completed their degree in two years and other students who have spaced there degree out over many years. My philosophy is obtaining your degree is not a sprint but a marathon. Understand your work and personal responsibilities and how you learn. Be realistic in your planning. If you have questions and need to talk to someone about educational plans, do so. But now, that earning your degree is worth every penny and hour that you put into it. Based on my personal experiences as a nontraditional student, it really will change your life for good.
CU: What are the careers people move on to after getting accounting degrees?
SM: Many students start in the area of public accounting after they graduate. This provides them with the opportunity to try out financial accounting, tax, audit, and business consulting. It also provides an opportunity for them to hone their research and critical thinking skills when applying GAAP. After two to three years in public accounting, most students decide if public accounting is where they want to stay or move on from there. No matter where they end up job wise, they tell me that those first couple of years in public accounting were very challenging and really helped them solidify their education.
CU: What should people do if they want to study accounting or go into accounting?
SM: If you have a natural aptitude for math, critical thinking,, listening to others, and analysis, you might make a great accountant. If you can, get a job as bookkeeper at a CPA or firm or in industry to get a feel for what accountant’s actually do on a day-to-day basis do so.. Join professional organizations and attend their regular meetings. Meetings give you the opportunity to see who your potential coworkers might be and ask them what they like and dislike about the profession. Many meetings offer a special speaker that will talk about a controversial or changing accounting topic. Discussing current topics will help you to apply your accounting education. This also provides great opportunities for professional networking, a must when you are job hunting or even trying to procure just the right internship opportunity.
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