Inspiring the next generation: how CPAs can contribute on campus; by volunteering or working at a college or university, you can help steer students to rewarding careers in accounting.

Author:Hinson, Yvonne
Position:Certified public accountants

The future of the CPA profession depends on attracting bright, highly motivated young people into university accounting programs and impressing upon them the value that becoming a CPA brings to their future career. Young people in high school and college are heavily influenced in their career choices by external factors such as having an inspiring teacher or learning in a university with a strong CPA culture. That's why CPAs can make such a difference when they volunteer or work with students.

There are many ways to engage with college students on campus, ranging from volunteering for a day to teaching full time. CPAs who work with students often find it enjoyable to talk to young people at the beginning of their career and play a part in helping them define their future. They also take satisfaction in knowing their involvement can have a significant and lasting impact on students considering a career in accounting.

Some of the many ways CPA can make a difference on campus include:

* Speaking to a class or a student club. CPAs who have limited time to engage on a campus might consider speaking to a class or a student club.

* Serving as a judge for a class project or presentation. Faculty are consistently advised that students need better communications skills, and often use class projects, cases, and presentations to achieve this objective. Having a CPA review in-class projects and offer feedback can be valuable for both students and faculty. Faculty members gain an outside opinion, and the students benefit from the CPA's depth of expertise and real-world focus on the issues, and from presenting to someone they do not necessarily know.

* Offering to attend a career fair on campus or assist with a skills workshop. Most campuses run career fairs to inform students on various career paths. Some also have workshops or special courses where they develop needed professional skills. (For an example of one university's approach, see the article "One Way CPAs Give Back: The Career Fair Skills Workshop at North Carolina A&T," page 24.)

* Heading up a donation campaign to benefit an accounting program. The decline in government and other outside funding is significandy affecting the programs on college and university campuses. Programs constantly seek funding for student scholarships, student travel, student events, and faculty resources. Assistance with donated funds can be critical to these efforts.

* Serving on an accounting advisory council or...

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