Typical Korean parents put pressure on their children to have high salary jobs, such as lawyers, doctors, and businessmen. However, there are many unfamiliar jobs that are rising as a prominent career. In this article, I will be introducing one of the career pathways that college students in America take after graduation: public accounting. Recently, a large portion of students are looming attention to the job of public accountants. Having to be especially beneficial for international students from Korea without US citizenships or green cards, public accountant is rising as one of the prevalent job opportunity with relatively smooth visa sponsorship. Although such title may sound unfamiliar to parents who have already joined the social bandwagon, it is imperative that the students offer a chance for themselves to glance sideways for different types of careers.
Public accountants are primarily responsible for public accounting firms that not only audit and tax but also provide consulting services for business strategies. In other words, they work to maintain company financial records, counsel fiscal methods, and audit accounts for fraud or errors. Auditing itself is a complex task that involves the process of examining financial records in order to determine if they are in accordance with accounting regulations. Because auditing is a crucial part in maintaining the market system, public accountants are integral to businesses that are in close relationship with our lives.
I had the opportunity to interview Armand Jung, a public accountant who is currently employed at one of Big 4 public accounting firm known as Ernst & Young (EY). Below will be a set of interview questions and answers that will serve as a guide to elucidate what the job really is all about.
|EY San Jose Office
1. Could you briefly introduce your job?
Public accounting is a job that ensures the financial statement issued by each company if it is correct and credible. Because the accuracy of these statements are for the benefits of the financial statement users who are mostly investors of banks and other financial institutions, it is a job that requires high concentration. For instance, an accountant with a client of which stocks are publicly traded, would make sure the numbers of all the financial statements that are issued every quarter are not manipulated This allows all those who are related the company’s stock to make rational decision based on the correct number and not skewed by wrong information. In short, public accountants make sure all the financial numbers are accurate and work with people from different areas to audit and work on projects.
2. What do you deem as purpose of your job? Major responsibilities?
My major responsibility was to take care of different assets and make sure those values were correct. It’s a little complicated but our main purpose is to come up with an accurate financial statement in order to make sure financial statement users make correct investment decisions based on correct numbers.
|View from EY Redwood Office
3. Why would you recommend this job since it is so specialized and pretty difficult to achieve?
One aspect of this job is that it is very beneficial for international students to enter the field, meaning that it has somewhat lower entry barrier compared to other popular fields such as investment banking. Public accounting firms are very generous with H1 Visa sponsorship. Each year, the government sets a quota to offer H1 visas to about 60,000 international students per year. However, at the accounting firm, the chance goes up a little because not only is it such a big company but the job security is extremely good with high salary. Even if economy goes down, you need to get your financial statement audited. Of course during economic downturn some of the client goes bankrupt but there are always demands for auditing out there. Another beneficial part about this job is that you get to deal with different types of people because you’re essentially engaged to two or three different teams, which can change over the course of your career.
4. What are some disadvantages of this job?
One drawback here would be that auditors work really long hours. During our busy seasons once a year, which lasts about three to four months, we have to issue final financial statement for the company we are in charge of. This requires work from almost nine in the morning to ten to eleven at night every single day. Second is mobility, you are not stationed in one office but you go to your client site for the audit, so you can call this either advantage or disadvantage depending on the preference.
5. Do you have any personal episodes/stories that made you realize how significant the job is to the society?
To tell the truth, you definitely feel very responsible when you are engaged to big companies like Apple, Facebook, or Google.
|Inside Apple, Inc Headquarter in Cupertino, CA
6. What tips would you give to students aiming for this job?
In order to enter this field, you need to enroll in a school that has a strong business/accounting program. These school are what so called “target schools” that accounting firms visit for their campus recruiting. I was part of the campus recruiting session for two years and met so many students from my home campus. Not just in accounting job but for any opportunity straight out of college, you have to remember that you have to be the one who initiate. Nobody will let you have the job, you have to go get it yourself and in order to do so, you have to initiate the conversation or a networking session. Interview skill is also very important. Do make yourself likable person to work with. For the entry level position, the firm will not ask for any specific knowledge in accounting or auditing but interviewers will look for someone who they would want to work with.
Seoul International School
Grace Yang firstname.lastname@example.org
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