Indiana U. Biz Students: “Not Your Father’s Accounting Firm”

I just spent the day with 200 seniors at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country. I have to give these students a lot of credit because they were totally engaged during an intelligent two-way dialog about today’s accounting firm.   We all know there’s going to be a reported shortage of talent coming out of business school – students with accounting degrees who want to work for public firms. Recruiting smart, go-getters to succeed in our firms is difficult. Students may become certified, but tell us they want to work in companies, and even start their own businesses, in order to propel them to the top much faster than is possible in an accounting firm.   Still, there’s hope based on my day at Indiana. The students were eager to hear about huge opportunities in accounting firms that definitely do not resemble what I like to call “your father’s accounting firm,” a focus we use in the RootWorks Leadership Communities.   Any parent knows almost-grads have three passions: technology, entrepreneurship and having a life. To meet their needs and hold their attention, I addressed these issues:   ·         We talked about the possibilities of plugging in to an existing small firm and creating their own custom work environment. Why not? A small firm benefits from the time and talents of smart grads while the grad learns how to work remotely, manage his or her own “small business” and provide huge contributions on new ways of doing business. ·         We discussed using technology and best practices to create the best career possible – and it’s to this end that the opportunities are truly endless. ·         We talked about how a career in this profession can create a great lifestyle with stability, a good income, work/life balance, and most of all, fun.   I don’t think there’s anything unique about the students at Indiana’s business school that you couldn’t also find in any college setting. As accounting professionals, I challenge each of us to find ways to meet these students and talk with them about how accounting is a rich, rewarding profession with infinite choices.