George Johnson delivers Richard H. Austin Lecture for Accounting Excellence

The 2017 Richard H. Austin Lecture for Accounting Excellence was held on Thursday, Feb. 16. This annual event commemorates the legacy of Richard Austin, the first African-American CPA in Michigan and long-time Michigan Secretary of State. The keynote speaker at the luncheon was George G. Johnson, CPA.

Johnson, a Wayne State University accounting graduate, was a close friend of Austin, heads a successful CPA firm, serves on many public and private boards of directors, and is a strong supporter of the Richard H. Austin Fund and Wayne State in general. Johnson spoke of his journey from accounting student, to manager at what is now the “Big Four” firm of Deloitte, to founding and managing his own public accounting firm. He emphasized how personal friendships and connections have greatly contributed to his success.

Prior to the luncheon, students participated in workshops on five topics.

  • The “Professional Etiquette” session presented suggestions for how students should prepare for and conduct themselves in meetings with recruiters and other business people, and appropriate use of email and social media.
  • The panelists on “Overcoming Challenges as a Minority or Non-Traditional Student in Accounting” described difficulties they had personally encountered and how they addressed those difficulties. These panelists came from four diverse organizations and had greatly differing levels of business experience.
  • The workshop on “10 Key Tips to a Successful Careers” gave pointers on how to be effective in a professional accounting position.
  • The session on “Internships: Why You Should Do One and How to be Successful” stressed why an internship can be extremely valuable to landing a permanent job in accounting and how to gain the most benefit from the internship experience.
  • The workshop on “Why Choose a Career in Accounting” focused on the opportunities available for accounting students both when they graduate and for long-term careers. 

The workshops and the luncheon were attended by many undergraduate and graduate students from the Mike Ilitch School of Business and about 25 students from Cass Technical High School.

2017 Richard H. Austin Lecture Series for Accounting Excellence

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