Current Position: Audit Associate, BDO Global, Boston
Previous University: Union College
Q: In your experience, how has technology affected the accounting profession?
A: The industry has changed rapidly during the last 10 years and that change is going to continue. Many routine functions are now being automated, so firms may not need as many accountants doing redundant work. That's not a cause for concern because it means that firms are going to be looking for people with higher-level skills who have a better understanding of the big picture in business.
It's better for firms to have accountants with these skills rather than hiring computer experts who have no accounting knowledge. This makes it increasingly important for students to understand skills taught in the MS in Accounting/MBA program like understanding and preparing large datasets while integrating various coding languages, which are used for data analysis.
Another important skill taught in the program is data visualization because it allows you to see patterns and relationships you may otherwise miss when you just study the numbers. Visualization is an excellent tool for helping clients understand numbers and patterns.
Q: How did you benefit from Northeastern's emphasis on blending tech literacy with soft skills?
A: Interpersonal skills are important in accounting because auditors spend 80 percent of their time on-site with the client. The program had a strong emphasis on group work and because fellow students came from so many different backgrounds, mastering group dynamics was fun and exciting.
The program challenged us to expand our comfort zone by encouraging us to present in front of our classmates on a variety of topics. These exercises allowed us to work on our communication and public speaking skills so that by the time we were integrating into our firms this level of communication was a habit and the transition was nearly seamless. This made it possible for us to contribute to our firms immediately.
Q: What was your biggest challenge in entering the MS in Accounting/MBA program?
A: When I entered the MSA/MBA program, it was an adjustment coming from economics, where everything is theoretical, to accounting where everything is tangible, balanced, and fits together perfectly.
However, my background in economics and accounting actually makes me valuable because of the mix of two different ways of thinking that help me see things from both a micro and a macro perspective. The combination of data analytics from the economics field and financial analytics from accounting create value that will position me for growth in the future.
Q: What about accounting inspires you?
A: I love seeing how large companies position themselves for long-term success. In the course of an audit, you get to understand the decision making. As a result, I understand the big picture of business much better.
“The only way to conduct a thorough investment analysis is to go deep into the data. When I'm hiring financial analysts, I always give them a quiz about their accounting knowledge to make sure they have those skills.”
Undergraduate Degree: French Literature
“It's the perfect program for career changers. It provided a seamless transition from the arts to accounting.”
Undergraduate Degree: Jazz Drums, Electronic Production
“The accounting corporate residency enabled me to build the self-confidence necessary to excel at work and also gave me the opportunity to develop strong relationships within the company that will help me begin my full-time career on the right foot,” says Victoria Sponsel, MS in Accounting/MBA'18