Top-Scoring Essays from 2019 NJCPA Scholarship Recipients
The future of the accounting profession is bright, if this year's NJCPA scholarship recipients are any indication.
College scholarship applicants were asked to submit a 500-word essay on the the following topic: "How do you see the accounting profession changing? How do you think your role as a CPA will relate to these changes?" The two highest-scoring essays appear below.
Joseph Breen, Monmouth University
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously declared “the only thing that is constant is change.” As such, there is no person, place, or profession that is immune to this trend, including the accounting field. As I progress through my collegiate studies of accounting theory and practice, I witness various ways the profession is evolving. With these near-constant advancements, my future role as a CPA is also adjusting to these new requirements. First, the capabilities of software and mobile applications have drastically improved. These technological changes have led to corresponding shifts in accounting practices. Gone are the days when accountants will keep manual ledgers and extensively study the proper methods for completing a tax return by hand. Such tasks can now be accomplished by inputting the appropriate data into a computer program to generate the desired records/reports automatically. This trend will substantially alter my role as a CPA. As compliance work becomes increasingly automated, I see increased attention to advisory services. Rather than function solely as a party to ensure accurate records are kept and the proper reports filed, I will serve as a trusted advisor who will apply accounting knowledge to produce desired results. Whether it is minimizing a client’s personal income tax exposure or helping a multinational corporate client select the instruments to best hedge its foreign exchange risk, the stereotype of a CPA being a “number-cruncher” is a thing of the past. I will be able to serve my clients in a manner that will help them accomplish their goals, while providing me with a wide array of unique, engaging tasks.
Additionally, I see a gradual evolution in the focus of the accounting profession. The aforementioned technological innovations have applied to business as a whole, leading to an increase in multinational operations. This, in conjunction with the movement for the international convergence of accounting standards, has created an environment where understanding a single country’s accounting practices may be insufficient. As a CPA, I may serve businesses with substantial transactions or operations in foreign nations. Therefore, my role will no longer be to simply file their U.S. tax return or audit an annual report sourced entirely from records kept in U.S. GAAP. My clients may now be forced to pay taxes to multiple countries and consolidate financial statements for which separate records are kept in foreign currencies and prepared using foreign GAAPs. As such, my role as a CPA will be to ensure that these more complex services are provided effectively and efficiently. This shift, in combination with the increased focus on advisory services, will require my future self and other CPAs to have an understanding of not only accounting, but general business concepts. This will ensure that the advice we provide is accurate, appropriate, and results in the best financial outcome for our clients. While these changes may seem intimidating at first, I believe they will provide the CPA profession with a diverse, exciting work environment, which I simply cannot wait to enter at some point in the future..
Robert Scorzo, Ramapo College
Thirteen column ledger paper, mechanical pencils, handheld calculators and accordion folders were among the necessary tools of my father’s 1984 accounting office. Just as these tools of the past are obsolete, many of the tools and processes of today are being rapidly transformed by emerging, advanced technology. The use of advanced technology in the accounting profession is saving time, reducing costs, increasing productivity and improving accuracy. Data entry is becoming increasingly automated through the use of robotic processes that both reduce the amount of time it takes to complete tedious tasks and enhance the integrity of the data. At the same time, the emergence of advanced analytics is providing companies with invaluable data-driven insight. Algorithms are being developed to analyze and sort through millions of transactions, extracting relevant data and allowing accountants and auditors alike to focus on unusual transactions and areas of risk. Cloud technology has made real-time accounting data accessible at any time and from anywhere. Performance is constantly monitored, allowing management to make decisions in the moment based on real-time feedback. Accountants that embrace the benefits of advanced technology can use more relevant and accurate data to provide clients with previously uncovered and revolutionary opportunities for improvement. Accountants can shed the stereotype of a number cruncher and instead expand upon their role as a trusted adviser.
I have a unique understanding of the accounting profession largely because I have had tremendous exposure to the field for several years. My father and his twin brother are both CPA’s. They began their careers in public accounting, later shifting to corporate accounting, and for the past several years both have been business owners. A degree in accounting and a CPA license have helped them to successfully manage businesses through turbulence and economic uncertainty. My interest in accounting has been further inspired by my three brothers. They all graduated college in four years with 150 credits and passed the CPA exam shortly thereafter. Two of my brothers are employed as auditors with a Big Four accounting firm. My oldest brother recently completed Level III of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam and is utilizing his skills in the advisory practice of a Big Four accounting firm. It has been exciting for me to follow the progress of their careers and to engage them in conversation about the changes in the profession. I will take their advice and enroll in elective courses in the area of information technology. It will be necessary for me to adopt a data driven mindset as software becomes more complex and integrated into the traditional accounting infrastructure. I am looking forward to my position as an intern with a Big Four firm this upcoming summer and gaining practical exposure to the use of technology in the profession. Using the knowledge gained during my internship, I plan to structure my senior-year schedule such that I can continue to grow in the areas of accounting and information technology. I am committed to finishing college in four years, with highest honors and 150 credits. Most important to me is earning the CPA designation and becoming a member of a group of highly qualified and respected professionals.