Blogger: Tripp Smitham
I decided it would be fitting for the inaugural blog post to write about how I got started in accounting. Coming out of high school I knew I wanted to study business, the allure of the corporate world with its corner offices and expensive suits was something I knew I wanted to be part of one day. The problem was I had no idea how to get my foot in the door of this seemingly untouchable world. So after looking at the degree plans offered at the School of Management at UT Dallas I decided to declare Business Administration for a major.
It didn’t take long for me to realize business administration was far too broad a major for my preferences. Half way into the fall semester I switched to finance for a more focused degree plan. My life as a finance major lasted about as long as business administration had.
During the spring semester I took my first accounting course. At the same time I was taking a course in Business and Public Law the professor of which happened to head the Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) here at UT Dallas. One day after class he approached me and asked what my major was and I told him “finance” to which he replied “can I get you to switch to accounting?” He then told me about the PPA program and how it was designed for students to earn a BS and MS in Accounting in 5 years with the intent of sitting for the CPA exam. It also included the opportunity to intern at an accounting firm during the spring of the student’s senior year. Many universities offer similar five year programs that follow the same basic structure.
The PPA program was exactly what I had been looking for at UT Dallas. I found my accounting course that I was taking at that time interesting, and the program was very structured with the intent of getting a full-time position in public accounting upon graduation. Over the next few weeks I talked to several professors as well as family friends about their thoughts on getting a degree in accounting. What I quickly learned was how knowledge of accounting can prepare you for any number of future careers. I talked to everyone from current CPAs, to business executives, to lawyers, all of whom explained how valuable a degree in accounting was to them. Even though the academic program for accounting was very structured and focused, the future career opportunities were endless.
Between these conversations and the very limited personal experience I had at the time I decided accounting was the right fit for me. As I continued studying accounting over the next few years everything I had been told about the value of a degree in accounting proved true. I am excited to start my career in public accounting next year. Just one more semester and the CPA exam to go.
Accounting was definitely the right choice for me, and I would encourage both current and prospective students to look in to the various accounting programs offered at universities to see exactly where a degree in accounting could take you.