No Need to Panic

Brittany WeberBlogger: Brittany Weber

The semester is flying by, it’s almost March and I can’t believe it! This is typically the point where panic starts to ensue. The first round of exams has passed, project due dates are rapidly approaching and you don’t know if you will make it out alive. But don’t let panic take over because you will make it through!

Just last week I sat for FAR, which was my first section of the exam to take. Studying for the CPA exam has been completely different from what I expected. Going into the process I was terrified. All the classes I had taken over the past few years were a distant blur and I was convinced that I knew NOTHING. I was mad at myself. Why didn’t I spend more time studying when I was taking the classes? Why did I put all that information in my short term memory? Didn’t I know that it would all come back on the CPA exam and I needed to remember it?

Many of my peers had the same worries and fears, but there is hope! You retain so much more than you ever thought was possible. In studying for FAR, it was amazing how things that I learned years ago were still fresh in my mind. I had to dust them off a bit, but that knowledge was there.

I have seen so many students with the mentality that they don’t have to try in their classes now because the CPA exam is two or three years down the road. Please, please, I beg you, do not take this approach. View each class as a stepping stone to passing the CPA exam. Learn the materials now. Make sure you have an understanding of everything, don’t just memorize to get a B in the class and move on. This will not ensure future success.

Nevertheless, I’m not here to be negative and scare you, I am here to tell you there is no need to panic. Take things one step at a time. Do your best not to get behind in classes and simply put in the time to learn the material. I promise that if you learn it now, your life will be tremendously easier when it is time to sit for the exam.

Good luck to everyone on the remainder of their semester!!

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Hi, my name is Kelly, and I am an avid list maker.

Kelly EastwoodThere is just something so satisfying about crossing each item off one by one. Sometimes I will even add things that are already done just so I can cross them off. I owe a lot to my crazy list-making lifestyle.

*help me prioritize
*serve as a reminder for important events
*keep me organized

I am a big fan of “old school” writing lists out on paper. Physically, handwriting aides my memory. However, I have been burned on multiple occasions where I have lost my paper list. I thought I would share with everyone an app I really love. It is called Wunderlist.

This app is found in Apple’s App store, categorized under “productivity.” It is free. It is an app purely for to-do lists and tasks. My favorite feature is that you can share your lists with friends and then they have access to your list and can edit. I have used this app for sharing grocery lists, planning holiday vacations with family, and so much more.

Here are other features offered within the app:
*start conversations about your to-dos
*attach photos, PDFs, presentations and more
*delegate to-dos
*set a reminder to ensure you never forget important deadlines

I am hoping that Wunderlist will continue to help me this spring as I tackle all four sections of the CPA exam.

Here’s to productivity!

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Staying Motivated

Pankhuri MittalBlogger: Pankhuri Mittal

Hi guys! My name is Pankhuri Mittal, and I am currently a graduate student working towards my degree in Accounting. I will be studying for and taking the CPA exam next spring. I completed my undergraduate degree at UTD as well, in Accounting and Global Business.

So having been in college for 4+ years, I want to share some tips with you on how to stay motivated, especially when you reach the middle of the semester or start suffering from senioritis!

Stay organized with your material and assignments. Make a to-do list of items that need attention every week, and mark due dates clearly in a planner or calendar. I cannot stress how satisfying it feels to cross off items on your list. Doing this helps me see how much work I have already completed, which in turn motivates me to keep working hard so I can finish everything on the list.

  1. Set time aside every so often for an activity (unrelated to school) that you enjoy. Taking breaks will help you clear your mind and get a fresh perspective on what you are working on.
  2. Set smaller goals that work towards a big goal and reward yourself every time you accomplish one of the small goals. This way, you’ll be motivated to keep going and not feel burned out from too much stress and work.
  3. Lastly, ALWAYS STAY POSITIVE! You have worked really hard to get this far in your college career; you can keep it up and finish strong too!


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Making the Most of Your College Career

Brittany WeberBlogger: Brittany Weber

Hello everyone!

My name is Brittany Weber and this is my first time blogging, so here we go! I’ll start off with sharing just a little about myself. I was born in Michigan and moved eight times while growing up due to my dad’s job. I have lived in Michigan, Maine, and Texas. Although I’m from Michigan, I would consider Frisco, Texas my hometown since I have spent the most time here!

I went to Wakeland High School, and my main activity was band. I played flute and piccolo and had the privilege to be a drum major for the marching band my last two years. Being in band played such a vital role in my growth and development, I was part of a team that worked together to create beautiful shows. Even though I have been out of the program for almost four years now, I still look back on my time there and am so thankful for everything that I learned while being there.

I’ll go ahead and move on from sob story about high school marching band now. I came to UTD as an accounting major with my mind set on becoming a CPA and was confident with my decision even though I had absolutely no idea what any of those things really meant. I decided I wanted to be a CPA because my aunt, who I really admire, is one and began her career in public accounting. I assumed this career path would suit me and luckily it did.

I recently completed an assurance internship with EY this past spring and graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I am now in the process of finishing my master’s degree and will begin sitting for the CPA exam this January.

In the past year I have really changed my perspective on how to go about life in college. The early portion of my college career was spent in my room doing homework and stressing about what would happen if I didn’t have a perfect GPA. Although I was involved in many organizations, both academic and social, I feel I missed out on many opportunities because I was afraid. I didn’t realize this until my older sister asked me what my best college memory was and I didn’t have an answer. I let my fear of failure take over and paralyze me. Sure, I was going to sorority events and going out for frozen yogurt with friends, but I never truly enjoyed it because I was constantly thinking about school.

This isn’t how our college days should be spent. Now I’m not saying that anyone should blow off school to go socialize, I’m just saying there needs to be a balance. When you are studying, make sure you are as productive and efficient as possible. Eliminate all distractions by putting your phone on silent, logging off Facebook, and going to a location in which you can be most focused. You will be amazed by how much you can get done in a timely manner when you aren’t distracted. By doing this, I saved so much time and can now make memories with friends and family without any added stress.

Enjoy your time in college as it will go by so quickly!

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Accounting Myths

Gaea FerrerBlogger: Gaea Ferrer

Accounting students face so many misconceptions about the accounting field and the people who make careers within it. Through television and movies, many people seem to develop this caricature of an accountant: the introverted math expert that is probably really busy during tax season. That’s why this blog post is dedicated to dispelling just a few of the many myths about accounting.

Myth #1 — You have to be good at math to be an accountant.

Just about anyone who isn’t an accounting major immediately associates math with accounting. It’s only natural – numbers are a recurring part of the job, but it’s more about managing and interpreting what the numbers mean, not just what they add up to. Some math whizzes may have a natural affinity for the accounting world, but it’s not simply because they can function as human calculators.

Accountants use math on a daily basis to the same extent that many other careers do: basic arithmetic and an excel spreadsheet. Accountants aren’t ever forced to accomplish intense math problems in their heads, there are literally apps for that. Accountants rely on software that does the heavy mathematical lifting.

Like I said, it’s about recognizing what exactly all the numbers mean. Interpreting what provides a better visual of exactly how a business is operating; revenue, expenditures, assets, liabilities, etc. Accountants provide businesses a solid understanding of their own affairs and recognize pieces of a larger puzzle that can help obtain improved outcomes.

Myth #2 — Accountants are really boring people/don’t have social skills.

So accountants are not natural mathematicians. So what? It doesn’t mean they are interesting, affable, or sociable people…right?

Just about every type of accountant has to have a solid set of communication skills. If the first part of an accountant’s job is to recognize the patterns and trends they are trained to look for, the second part of an accountant’s job is to relay this technical information into understandable terms to individuals with non-accounting backgrounds.

On a daily basis they all have to communicate to clients, coworkers, vendors, and various stakeholders in a business. Accountants also tend to work as part of a team, and constant effective communication isn’t just effective, it’s required to get work completed.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a list of some notable individuals from wildly different fields who dabbled in accounting:
Chuck Liddell – If you don’t know him by his Ultimate Fighting career, you’ll probably recognize the haircut. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Kenny G – Smooth jazz virtuoso and one of the best-selling artists of all time, Kenny Gorelick worked as an accountant.
Arthur Blank – Current owner of the Atlanta Falcons and co-founder of the Home Depot is a Certified Public Accountant.
John Grisham – Every pre-law student’s favorite law drama novelist. Before he went to law school he earned a degree in accounting.
Thomas Pickard – former acting director of the FBI. Also, a Certified Public Accountant.
Ray Wersching – NFL field-goal kicker. CPA during the off-season.

Myth #3 — Any accountant can do your taxes.
The reality of this myth is a real heart-breaker for spouses, friends, family, and basically anyone who knows an accountant. The short and simple answer is: no, not all of us are able to do your taxes. In fact, most accountants are not any more qualified to prepare a person’s taxes than a random person off the street.

Why? Specialization within the field of accounting. If all every accountant had to do was tax work, they’d likely get a degree in tax preparation, not accounting. While there are many accountants who specialize in tax preparation, it is merely one narrow slice of the pie that is the broad accounting field.

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How to Obtain an Accounting Internship

Samir BasariaBlogger: Samir Basaria

One piece of advice people give over and over again, which I can’t stress enough, is to start networking your freshman year. Many students assume their freshman and sophomore years are too early to network or attend career fairs, but that is usually the correct time to start. Gaining experience talking to faculty, joining clubs and organizations, and attending job fairs will only make you more comfortable once it’s finally time to start applying for internships your sophomore/junior year. Some people have trouble with communication and aren’t as comfortable talking to professionals when they start looking for internships during their junior/senior year. Getting a head start your freshman year is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of gaining experience and building networks that could push you ahead of another prospective student fighting for the same position.

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Three shots at pocketing $10K. Are you in?

The AICPA Accounting Competition is back, and it’s sweeter than ever. Each of the finalist teams will earn $10K, a trip to Washington, D.C. to present in front of a panel of accounting elite *and* a monetary award for their school.

In this year’s competition, you and your teammates will be playing the role of management accountants —acting as strategic advisors to Humble Pies, a pie company looking to tackle bigger and better business opportunities.

Enrollment ends at 10:59 a.m. on Sept. 29, so start wrangling some folks with the strategic savvy of a management accountant. Getting your team lined up early will make signing up as easy as, well you know…

Get the Details

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