Club Spotlight: Accounting Society

Courtesy of Richmond Reyes
Courtesy of Richmond Reyes

In an evening of elegance and networking, the Accounting Society at UC Riverside wrapped up its 2013-14 academic year with a sense of purpose and humor, pulling over 90 people into HUB 302 for its spring banquet last Tuesday, May 13.

Former president of the Accounting Society and graduating senior Jasmine Sima welcomed the crowd of students, members of the business school and accounting professionals from large firms like KPMG and local ones like Squar Milner. Sima, who will graduate this June with a concentration in accounting was, however, not always an accounting student. “I originally wanted to be a dentist,” admitted Sima. But in her second year, she took an accounting course and she discovered a new passion. “I loved every aspect of the accounting field, from learning about industries and building strong relationships with others.”

Sima noted that this was something she “didn’t get to do as a biology major.” Realizing that accounting provided her with the aspects in life she valued, “such as building relationships and continuous learning,” Sima traded in her lab coat for a professional blazer and joined the business school with an accounting concentration. Later, she would become the president of the Accounting Society and secure a position with the prestigious accounting firm Ernst and Young upon graduation.

Established in 1985, the Accounting Society at UC Riverside prides itself on assisting its members to prepare for the real world in the accounting profession and is one of the university’s oldest organizations on campus. As newly appointed Marketing Director Caleb Man put it, the Accounting Society strives to give “students the opportunity and tools to network with professionals in public accounting,” and “develop their leadership skills through career-building workshops,” according to Vice President of Finance Brian Soars. While working with these professionals and peers, members are surrounded by “people that you can enjoy being around and having fun with.”

After being introduced as the new president for the 2014-15 academic year, Michael Stankovich noted that, unlike his predecessor, “I knew from the very beginning I would sell my soul to debits and credits.” Along with sharing his excitement and future plans for the Accounting Society, (“to provide its members with the best possible experience”) Stankovich also shared his first memory of the organization he’s now the president of.

Stankovich accounts that he decided to go to his first Accounting Society meeting after reading that free food would be provided at the meeting and thinking, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Stankovich now credits the society for helping him land his internship and believes it to “provide the perfect extension from work and school.”

The other opportunities available through the club are rather broad for members. “Most students decide to pursue either tax or audit. Fields in accounting that are continuing to see more and more growth is assurance and advisory,” said Technology Director Luke Hatch. Hatch also broke down the Big Four firms at the top of accounting business: PwC, Deloitte, Ernst and Young and KPMG. “Small and mid-tier firms along with the Big 4 can offer a lucrative and safe job that often lures many business students in. Within the next 15 years, over 75 percent of CPAs are supposed to retire and this will create a huge demand within the accounting field.”

Over a three course meal and humorous keynote speech on the importance of relationships in accounting from Professor Richard Savich, the Accounting Society also made official its new executive team for the 2014-15 academic year. I got the chance to speak with them as I better learned about the society on both a professional and personal level. They aren’t all work and no play as I got to see their humorous side during the banquet. “Why did the accountant jump off the building and kill himself?” Executive Vice President Brandon Junus began. “Because it’s accrual world.”

For those of you with a less dry sense of humor or lack of accounting knowledge unlike Ben Wyatt of NBC’s “Parks and Rec,” accrual accounting is a standard accounting practice widely used by most companies. Hatch joined in with, “What does the accountant say to the other accountant? I’m an accountant.”

As the banquet wrapped up, many students went home with new business contacts, visions on the accounting profession and, depending on their sense of humor, a few laughs. Dora Chang, newly appointed Vice President of Internal Affairs, sees the spring banquet as “a great way for students to get their foot in the door.” She pointed out that “since the student-to-professional ratio is about 10:2, students are able to leave an impression and build a stronger connection.”

Over the last 30 years, the Accounting Society at UC Riverside has proved to be one of campus’ most active and successful professional clubs. And with its current leadership made up of ambitious individuals, our campus can only expect the society to continue its tradition of excellence.

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