Meet Our Members Spotlight

May 06, 2022

What's it like to have a career in accounting?

Meet some of our members to learn about different paths in the profession.


What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Nonprofit organization bookkeeper, tax preparer 

What is your favorite thing about your career? Working from home and providing value to nonprofit organization that support our communities.

Undergrad alma mater: Bridgewater State University 

Degrees: Bachelor degree, cum laude 

Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Don't stop pushing forward, even if taking one tiny step at a time.

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Committee meetings and roundtables 


What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Professional - Staff Auditor at EY Boston,  First job ever was as a Lifeguard!

Undergrad alma mater: Boston College

Graduate alma mater: Boston College

Degrees: BS Management (Accounting and Marketing Concentration), MSA


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? This profession is not what you think...it is dynamic, you can really help people, and it can provide work/life flexibility.

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Small firm roundtables

Undergrad alma mater: Assumption College

Degrees: BA in Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Tearing 1040 forms out of tax books for my father.

What is your favorite thing about your career? Being my own boss and being my clients' most trusted advisor.

Anything else interesting about you that you would like for us to include? I once took a helicopter flight over an active volcano (Mt Kilauea in Hawaii).


"Accounting is the 'language' of business. The numbers tell a story and the way that those numbers are compiled and communicated allow decision makers to make thoughtful and informed business decisions." — Marquis Cooper

Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Work hard in your early years to reap the benefits later on. Life only gets busier, but laying a strong professional groundwork will payoff. 

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: The community of other young and experienced professionals that I get to meet through various events. 

Undergrad alma mater: Suffolk University

Graduate alma mater: Suffolk University

Degrees: BSBA in Accounting and an MSA in Accounting 

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Hostess at a restaurant

What is your favorite thing about your career? The flexibility of being able to work anywhere, with a mix of different clients and team members. 


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? If you find people to work with that you respect and who motivate you, everything else (e.g. career growth, learning opportunities, compensation) will fall into place.

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Attending firm roundtables to talk through the common problems we all face.

Anything else interesting about you that you would like for us to include? I received my first job offer in public accounting because of experience I had as a petting zoo tour guide. 

Undergrad alma mater: Worcester State University

Graduate alma mater: Assumption College & Bentley University

Degrees: Business Administration degree from Worcester State College, MBA from Assumption College and a Masters in Taxation from Bentley.

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Growing pumpkins and squash to sell on the side of the road every weekend at the age of 10.

What is your favorite thing about your career? The constant changes mean anyone motivated enough can become an expert in whatever new challenge is introduced.


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Find a great mentor and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Networking and educational opportunities (there are lots of others, like the vision insurance). 

Undergrad alma mater: Bucknell University

Graduate alma mater: Bentley University

Degrees: BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSA with Graduate Certificate in Business Ethics

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Cashier at a fast food restaurant.

What is your favorite thing about your career? How many great people I get to meet/work with across all sorts of organizations.


"When I learned there was an opportunity to contribute in a larger way as part of the MassCPAs community — especially with the focus on students as part of their broader initiatives — there was no hesitation, and I have never regretted that decision." — Rob Miller

Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Stay curious and continue to learn new things.  Hot topics in accounting seem to evolve and change every few years. The more you evolve and adapt with them, the more successful you will be in your career.

What is your favorite thing about your career? The people.  I have traveled to cities far and wide and met new and interesting people along the way.  Many of these colleagues and peers remain amongst my closest friends. Accounting has been a great profession for me and the best part has always been the people I have had the opportunity to work with, to learn from and to get to know along the way.  

What initially interested you in accounting? My uncle worked as an accountant with the IRS. He and I were both good with numbers and enjoyed figuring things out.  Accounting seemed like a perfect career for me.

Undergrad alma mater: UMass Amherst - Isenberg School of Management

Degrees: Bachelors of Business Administration - Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? A a summer intern at Arthur Andersen in the litigation support department.  I loved every minute of that internship and have been lucky to still count some of my peers as both friends and colleagues. My path has been an interesting one, from public accounting to consulting firm, back to public accounting firm and finally to Floyd Advisory. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive in both public accounting and at consulting firms which I attribute to always working on a great team and with a great group of colleagues.  In the end, working with a great team makes every day enjoyable and is the best recipe for a successful and rewarding career. 

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: The committees where I connect with peers on relevant industry topics.  


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Gather knowledge and experience in multiple industries and then decide which one interests you most.

Do you have a mentor or person you look in the industry for guidance? Nancy Coyle, CPA

What is your favorite thing about your career? Empowering others to take control of their finances and witnessing the impact it can make in their lives.

What initially interested you in accounting? My affinity for math and logic.

Undergrad alma mater: College of the Holy Cross

Degrees: BA in Economics and Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? From public accounting, 25 years in banking industry and my practice in retirement, education and insurance planning

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Taking part in the various committees and meeting other members.

Anything else interesting about you that you would like for us to include? I love to travel and explore new places. I enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking and outdoor activities in general, as well as pending time with my children.


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? The accounting professional has so many different avenues other than audit & tax. Be curious about other advisory services like forensics!

What is your favorite thing about your career? The variety of work, no two days are the same. 

Undergrad alma mater: UMass Amherst

Graduate alma mater: UMass Amherst

Degrees: Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting, Master of Science in Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Camp counselor 

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: The Litigation Support & Business Valuation Committee meetings!


"My advice to students looking to go into the accounting industry is to understand that career opportunities are endless. I would also highlight that their knowledge of accounting is a foundational aspect that is important to any business and can take them almost anywhere." — Shanikwa Davis

Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Network with as many professionals as you can to learn more about the industry and potential career paths!

What is your favorite thing about your career? Watching the people I've hired grow in their careers.

Undergrad alma mater: University of New Hampshire

Graduate alma mater: Suffolk University

Degrees: BA in Political Science and an MS in Human Resource Management

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Administrative Assistant at Rodman CPAs.


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? There are many avenues you can take in the field of accounting. Determine your passions, whether it is helping a variety of businesses or a specific industry, there will be an accounting opportunity to pursue. Don't be afraid if you don't find the right fit straight away.

What is your favorite thing about your career? That I know I am making a positive impact. Accounting maybe "back of the house," but strong accounting is crucial for a business to succeed. 

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: The committees- they provide access to timely information, discussions with peers as well as speakers, and provide networking opportunities. 

Undergrad alma mater: Salem State Universtity

Degrees: "Associates of Science - Baking & Pastry Arts and Bachelor of Business Administration - Accounting"

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? I ran a butcher shop/bakery before getting my start in accounting. After being exposed to private accounting at a car dealership (Infiniti of Norwood), I went back to school for accounting. Upon graduation, I became an audit associate at CBIZ & MHM New England (CBIZ Tofias).

What initially interested you in accounting? I was intrigued in how it allowed me to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills to ensure business transactions were balanced and accounted for properly. Companies rely on accurate data to make strategic decisions that shape their business.
 


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? The skills learned are foundational to understanding business, demand for the skills of CPAs is strong and that both the Society and the AICPA have tremendous resources and networks.

What is your favorite thing about your career? There's a misconception that being a CPA is a numbers business - it's a people business and a data-interpretation business. We help people make decisions by explaining the stories behind the numbers - love that about my career

Undergrad alma mater: UMass Amherst Isenberg

Degrees: BS in Business Admin, Major in Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? "Staff B" audit practice of Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC), Manchester NH

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Networking

Anything else interesting about you that you would like for us to include? When I was Chair of MassCPAs, I sang the National Anthem at YP Celtics game.  Bucket list item!!!


"When I took over my family retail business in Liberia, I wanted to do things differently in terms of developing a better financial reporting system. I applied what I had learned and seeing the positive impact it had on the family business, I decided to change course from studying science and physics to pursue a degree in accounting." — Sorie Kaba

Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Learn to set boundaries early in your career.

What is your favorite thing about your career? I've tried out a number of different roles inside and outside accounting.  For the first 18 years: external audit, internal audit, financial reporting, controllership, IT help desk manager, software project manager.  Then I pursued my Master's degree so I could teach accounting at the college level.  For the next 15 years, I taught at my alma maters, first Suffolk, then Merrimack.  I'm now back in public accounting as an educator.  The great thing about accounting is the variety; there are so many areas to explore and now, so many opportunities to create roles based on one's varied experiences.

Undergrad alma mater: Merrimack College

Graduate alma mater: Suffolk University

Degrees: BSBA/Accounting, Merrimack College, 1986 and an MSA, Suffolk University, 2005

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Part time:  Audit Staff, Shaheen, Pallone and Associates; Full time:  Audit Staff, Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC)

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: I love the Educational Foundation's scholarship program. I was a recipient of a scholarship when I was an undergraduate and it is now my pleasure to serve on the scholarship selection committee. It's wonderful to see so many dedicated, hard working students and be able to award them scholarships that may, literally, change their lives.


Do you have any advice for aspiring CPAs or student members? Start studying and sit for the CPA Exam as soon as possible while the textbook knowledge is fresh in your mind.

What is your favorite thing about your career? Building long lasting relationships with clients and co-workers.

Undergrad alma mater: Castleton University

Degrees: Bachelor of Science, Accounting

What was your first job/what has your career path looked like? Accountant for Rosen Valente & Willhaus, CPAs in 1997 

Favorite MassCPAs benefit: Networking with the ladies in the Women in Accounting Braintree group.

Anything else interesting about you that you would like for us to include? Before graduating college, my first job was working at a Morgan horse farm in Vermont training and showing Morgan horses. I paid for my college education by working at the horse farm throughout my high school and college years.