Area high school students learn what it takes to be a CPA

On April 22, the Michigan Accountancy Foundation and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants hosted the 9th annual High School Leaders Diversity in Accounting Conference in the ballroom of the Wayne State University Student Center Building.

At the event, students from Belleville, Fitzgerald, Flint Southwestern, Martin Luther King, Southfield-Lathrup, Cass Technical, Flint Northwestern, Fordson and Renaissance high schools learned what accounting is all about.

Wayne State accounting students Eric Niederer, Hannah Haynes and Calvin Sitto participated in a student panel on what the School of Business’ accounting program has to offer and reasons why they are majoring in the field.

Calvin Sitto, who also participated on last year’s panel, said that conferences like this give students an opportunity to see what career opportunities are available.

"I wish I had this opportunity when he was in high school," Sitto said. "As students go through high school, they may not be certain of what they want to do, but with this event students can hear and speak with professionals and ask questions that can help guide them towards a career choice."

The panel was moderated by Randy Paschke, immediate past president of the board of Michigan Association of CPAs and the School of Business’ director of external relations and community engagement. Peggy Dzierzawski, president and CEO of the Michigan Association of CPAs, spoke with students as well.

"There are tremendous opportunities in the field of accounting," said Myles Stern, chair of Wayne State’s Department of Accounting. "To take advantage of those opportunities, students have to plan ahead, which involves taking the right courses at the right time and getting involved in the recruiting process early."

The event also featured presentations from local CPAs, including George Willie of Bert Smith and Co., Paul Bryant of Plante Moran and Ryan Giacolone of Grant Thornton. Steve Quinn, CFO of the Detroit Tigers, spoke on the important role CPAs play in the sports and entertainment arenas. Libby Roop of Deloitte helped students think smart about financial planning.

The sponsors for the event included Deliotte, Ernest & Young, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Plante Moran and PwC.

You can view photos from the event here.

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