Becky and Norma discuss their accounting job interview tips, tricks, and hacks. The twins question the industries hang up over piercings, and fear it could impact their ability to get a job. Post-grad school plans are already locking in for Norma. As they work on their personal finance budgets and loans for the next year, they realize how high school and college don't prepare students for the real world.
To CPA or NOT to CPA? Public vs Private?
What if you could run an experiment?
Take twins, with identical DNA, life experiences, education, GPAs, majors, internships, and careers as accountants. Then have twin A go private and have twin B become a CPA and go public.
Follow Becky Steiger and Norma Steiger on their separate journeys in the private and public accounting worlds! Together they will compare and contrast their experiences and goals in the accounting profession.
[00:13] Becky: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another accounting tooling podcast. I'm Becky.
[00:18] Norma: And I'm Norma.
[00:19] Becky: And we're glad you're listening to us again as we talk about our week. And try not to cry at accounting.
[00:26] Norma: That might have been a little difficult.
[00:28] Becky: This week.
[00:29] Norma: We both received test grade backs for one of our classes. And us, we're 4.0 students. We do very well in our classes. We pride ourselves in our grades. And this is the second exam in a row in that class in which we've gotten C's.
[00:45] Becky: Yeah, I studied for over ten days for this exam. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. But then again, like we talked about last week, I'm so burnt out, I don't even care anymore.
[00:57] Norma: Yeah, like I'm burnt out. But we studied so far in advance, I don't know how we didn't do well. I think it's because our professor doesn't give us partial credit, and that's so annoying. I get it. If I get one part wrong, mark me off for that question. But if I have to use it for a following question, give me the points correct if it's still the same process, just the wrong number from before. I got a low C because it was like one A, one B, one C, and the original number from one A was wrong. So everything else was wrong.
[01:29] Becky: Yeah, actually, I had a meeting this week with some of the people I'm working with next year, and I was like, I don't know I'm going to survive next year if I'm not being graded, because then I don't know my self worth if I don't have an A. But also, at the same time, I don't want another C. So honestly, I don't know I'm going to survive next year. But also I'm excited.
[01:49] Norma: Speaking of next year, I've already thought of what I'm doing for after grad school, job wise. I've already had interviews. I just had an interview on Monday with one firm. I had an interview two weeks ago with a firm, literally right before we recorded this message. I just got an email from one of them saying it's really early in the recruiting process, so they can't offer me a position right now, but they want to meet with me after the summer internships have ended to keep going forward because they enjoyed my presence.
[02:21] Becky: I didn't know that.
[02:23] Norma: I just found out, which made me really excited.
[02:26] Becky: That's crazy.
[02:27] Norma: But one thing I realized when I was doing this interview is it honestly wasn't like most interviews. I kind of had to realize as much as they are interviewing you to see if you're a good fit for their company, you're interviewing them to see if you even enjoy the company. The majority of the time I go into interviews, I have a set of questions that I can ask.
[02:49] Becky: Just to.
[02:49] Norma: Ask them if they want me to. But this interview was a lot more of me asking them questions and them not really asking me. And it kind of made me realize that you're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. So as much as you want to have them do a lot of talking and put their company and put their best foot forward as much as they're interviewing you and you have to answer to the best of your abilities. You also have to have think of really good questions to ask them because otherwise you're not going to stick out. Especially if it's an interview like that where you're leading the majority of the conversation and asking them.
[03:27] Becky: Sometimes I find it hard to gauge how they answer questions because every company answers a question the same. What do you love about the job? Oh, the culture, the people. But I need to know the specifics of what is the culture, what are the people? Because if everyone says that, I need to know specifics that differentiate them.
[03:45] Norma: Yeah, after like three or four interviews this year, I kind of realized it's all the same answers. Like you're saying, I love the culture. I love the people. Well, what is so amazing about the culture? Because your definition of what you love about culture might be 100% different than mine. So my friend Bless Ashton, I was really nervous for an interview that I had two weeks ago. Like super anxious. Did not eat or sleep because it was just keeping me up at night. And she sent me a list of interview questions and they're like, genius. It's like, what's one thing about the company that I wouldn't be able to identify just by looking at your website? What's one thing about your company that you enjoy doing the most? And then I kind of made it a point to ask what's one thing hardest about their position? Because as much as I would like to hear the amazing, beautiful things about their job, I also want to know what makes them frustrated because I don't want to go in thinking everything's going to be perfect when obviously in the real world, nothing is perfect.
[04:49] Becky: I agree. I don't even know how to go forward with that.
[04:53] Norma: Yeah, it was a very interesting interview. It first started off where I was out of town for the weekend, so I forgot to email back and confirm my interview time. So an hour beforehand I confirmed it and they said I was fine. But then on their end, they sent the interviewers the wrong time. So everything was pushed back an hour when it wasn't supposed to be. So there was a time difference. It was like for in Houston, it was supposed to be 02:00 P.m. In Houston, noon in Arizona. And I was emailing the recruiter after 20 minutes. I'm like, Hi. I'm not sure if I misinterpret the time difference, but I've been sitting in this zoom for 15 minutes. Am I supposed to be meeting with someone right now? And then someone swoops in and it's not the person I was supposed to be meeting with. And that was a good interview. But then I met with the partner of the firm who was running late, and that interview went so long it was almost an hour itself. Just talking to him when the whole thing, talking to both people was supposed to be an hour, it was so interesting. You could tell he was really passionate about the company. So that definitely helped me not with my decision, but kind of like what to look forward when interviewing a company.
[06:01] Becky: I think that's awesome that you talk with him for an hour because it shows that they were very interested in you and they wanted you to keep talking to them like you said. They said it's early in the process, but let's continue talking. That's awesome. But also, I don't want you to leave me and go get a job in a different state.
[06:19] Norma: I've cried three times this week because I'm so scared to move after grad school. I just would love to experience something else outside of Becky and my family because I'm dependent on them in a bad way, but I always know I can fall back on them if necessary. So I want to do something by myself. And I kind of thought of the state of Texas, and my friend was just telling me about Houston. So since then I've just had tunnel vision. I'm like, I have to focus on Houston or else I'm never going to decide where I'm going to want to move. So it's scary. I don't know what I'm going to do. Like this time next year I'm going to be a few months away from moving outside of the state and away from my family for the first time. I'll be the only one in my family who doesn't live in Arizona.
[07:02] Becky: I don't know what I'm going to do. I have to come visit you all the time.
[07:05] Norma: Yeah, it's going to be really weird not doing anything like not having Becky near me, but we'll see how it goes.
[07:12] Becky: It will be funny trying to meet each other's friends and having them differentiate us. Yeah. I feel like we're going to have.
[07:19] Norma: Such different friend groups when we move, just because when we are together, we find friends that are the common ground between us. And yes, they are our best friends. But sometimes if you look at the individual friends we have, they're so different because Becky and I, although we're so similar, we have such different personalities. She's so much more outgoing than I am and has a lot more friends where I have, I would say closer friends. I don't have as many. I love friends. One thing that has been in my mind the past probably like a year and a half is in the business world, the stigmatism against piercings and tattoos. I'm one of those people. I'm not very expressive in my clothing, but I'm very expressive, like the way I look with piercings. I have ten piercings. They're literally all just earpiercings. But every time I get one, I always have the conversation with my mom, not my dad, because he doesn't notice them, because he doesn't like them, saying that it's not professional and it's not going to look good. But I don't see my IQ dropping, like, ten points every time I get a piercing. It doesn't hinder my ability to do work. I just don't understand why there's this huge negative outlook on support things and tattoos in the business world. I get it. Don't get a tattoo on your face or do something that's going to make you look completely unprofessional or have something.
[08:37] Becky: Very incredibly vulgar and appropriate.
[08:39] Norma: But what the heck is wrong with a piercing? It's literally a piece of jewelry. It's notes different if it was hanging around my neck than the backstop in my ear.
[08:47] Becky: My nose hoop doesn't mean I'm unprofessional. I remember growing up, I was like, people with nose hoops are scary, and I'm like, I'm just a little teddy bear wearing it. My nose ring and my piercings don't.
[09:01] Norma: Make me any less professional. This semester, I've been exceptionally stressed, and my coping mechanism is piercing. So I've gotten three different piercings, and literally, they're all just within, like, on my ears. You can't see them unless my hair is pulled back. And I just don't understand why people don't like them, how they think. It's unprofessional. Like I said, I'm not losing a freaking IQ point. I'm still capable at doing my job. I'm as capable as someone who dresses up in a nice suit and tie every day, who has no piercings and tattoos than someone who has a bunch of piercings and tattoos. It doesn't lower my ability to work. And it's just ridiculous that every time I want to do something like that, I'm told not to because of the way it looks. It's just quite ridiculous. And I get it because a lot of people didn't get a lot of piercings when they were younger, so a lot of the generations working now don't have them. But times are changing. Like, get on with it, move with it. It's not bad to have them. It's not bad to not have them. Just it needs to be accepted. Like, it's upsetting to think that I might not get work because of my ear things or the fact that Becky might have to take out her nose hoop when she starts working. I don't know. I think that's just stupid. Also, Becky's nose hoop, I think it's not a big personality trait for her, but I think it describes personality very well. Like, she's very goofy, but she's very serious. That's my lowest feel. I'd love to hear what you guys think because I hope it's not just me, because looking around in my accounting classes, a lot of the girls and some of the guys have a bunch of piercings. They're not stupid. They're doing good in classes. Like, I have a 4.0 GPA and besides this freaking class that I'm getting, C's on my exams but A's on my project, I'm doing well in life. It's just quite ridiculous. Oh my gosh. One thing that I want to talk about is I think school does not prepare you enough for the real world. Like, I'm going to grad school, I'm looking at loans. I don't know how the hell to fill out a loan application. Not in the sense that I'm stupid, but I just don't know what is the best option if I'm looking at FAFSA, do I want a dual plus loan or do I just want a regular loan? I don't know how to do a loan application. And I think that whether it's in high school or college, they need to give you classes that prepare you for the real world. It's kind of just ridiculous that I'm getting sent into the world not knowing how to do anything. I'm lucky that my dad is literally the master of all trades and knows how to do everything perfectly because he's been helping me with so much. Like, I just got a new car, he helped me get the insurance and the auto loan, and I wouldn't know how to do any of that myself. And I know that if I talked with a company that I could definitely be taken advantage of and buying things that I don't necessarily need because I don't know what's right. So I think there needs to be a curriculum just on how to prepare people for the real world. No, I don't need to know how to do my taxes because I'm an accountant and have a tax class. But maybe. I don't know. The graphic designers of the world or the communication majors should probably know just the basics on how not even how to do their taxes, just how to use QuickBooks or something like that.
[12:20] Becky: I sounds so stupid saying this. I would not know what a mortgage was if I wasn't an accountant, only because I know how to account for them. I know my roommates who are both healthcare majors, they've asked me questions about taxes because we are not taught these things in school, which is so annoying because all the school is preparing us for the real world, yet we don't know how to do taxes. We don't know what a mortgage is. We should all know how to change the oil in our car. We should all know how to do these little things that the school doesn't teach us.
[12:51] Norma: They prepare us for all of the.
[12:52] Becky: Aspects except for being honestly. What I will say is school teaches us how to make money, but it doesn't teach us how to take care of the things we do with the money.
[13:04] Norma: Oh my God.
[13:05] Becky: Yes.
[13:06] Norma: I'm lucky that because I know how to like, our job is literally about money. I know how to handle money. I was the treasurer of my sorority, so I think I know how to handle money. But if it weren't for that experience, I would be going into the real world with nothing, absolutely nothing.
[13:24] Becky: I agree. I think Norman, I grew up very blessed in the sense our dad has always had a mindset and know how to do it. We had to learn how to change our tires before we were allowed to get our license and our permit. We always have to change the oil in our car. We've always had to know how to do something on our own. Our dad is never the one just to be like, I'll do it for you. It's easiest this way. He goes, no, you're going to learn how to do it because you need to be a functional adult. You can't have the world handed to you on a silver platter, which is perfect. And I just wish that there were ways for other people who may not be as fortunate to be able to learn these things to have the opportunity to literally doing my taxes this year was so different than I learned doing taxes in my tax class. We did them on paper with all those forms when in reality, I was just sitting on QuickBooks, putting in my W two. Like, I think that we need to be more prepared for the real world. I know in high school, they should offer it as an elective, honestly, in high school, because there may not be some people who attend college, which is absolutely fine. So in high school, you know how they have, like, how to raise a baby, home equity, all that stuff? They should have how to be an adult class, and it should be mandatory because you should know how to be able to file taxes and take out a loan and change the oil in your car and know how to get a mortgage. There's so many things that I think we as human beings are unprepared for because the corporate world is so set on us making money. But, okay, what am I going to do with my money? How do I account for the things I've done with my money? Yeah, basically, we don't need to be.
[15:09] Norma: Taught how to be adults. We just need guidance. Don't throw us into the world not knowing how to do anything, but expect great things from us. That's just setting the bar way too high for getting the bare minimum.
[15:20] Becky: Exactly. We just need guidance. You know how there's online videos like Khan Academy and how to use Excel, how to be a functional adult. Step one here's how to make a dish that's not mac and cheese or ramen.
[15:36] Norma: Just don't follow Five Minute Life hacks on TikTok that will not help you.
[15:40] Becky: Oh, my gosh. Honestly, this day and age, they could make tik toks about how to do your taxes, because if it stimulates my brain for 30 seconds, I'm in.
[15:52] Norma: Oh my gosh. While we're on the topic of Tik Toks, I'm going to link three Tik Toks that I made about accounting. I think they're the best things I've ever made in this entire world. Some of them went viral.
[16:06] Becky: Oh my gosh. The TikToks that she makes about accounting are so funny. I don't know how she comes up with it.
[16:12] Norma: I come up with a lot of jokes about assets and liabilities. I was on a dating app last year and I matched with someone in one of my accounting classes and my pick up line was, are you an asset or a liability? This is super important into whether we continue going forward. And then I posted my graph photos this week on my Instagram. If I caption was oh my gosh. Wait, hold on. Let me pull it up. I think it's absolutely it's only funny if you're a business major. So it says there's only two things I learned during undergrad. I'm an asset when it comes to accounting, but a liability after two illegal Pete's margaritas. And then it's like the rest of my grad school. But I thought that was so funny. Like, yes, I am an asset in cowing and yes, I am a huge liability after I get two pizza margaritas.
[16:58] Becky: Which I had yesterday. That's what sent me over the edge.
[17:00] Norma: Was those pizza margaritas.
[17:02] Becky: And that's one of them I got for free, girl.
[17:05] Norma: That's why we were freaking liabilities. But if you live in Arizona, I go to legal.
[17:10] Becky: Peach.
[17:11] Norma: Get a prickly pear margarita.
[17:13] Becky: After our accounting exams, we have two friends that we do all of our accounting stuff with. We always go get illegal pizza margaritas after our exams and just literally cry. One of our friends paces back and forth because she's too nervous to eat after our exams.
[17:30] Norma: And then but luckily last time we went, I think we're at Pete for like 5 hours and our professor somehow uploaded all of our exams during those 5 hours. So we celebrated after we found out our exam scores because we all did very well.
[17:45] Becky: Would have been so funny.
[17:48] Norma: We drank in celebration and if they hadn't gone well, we would have drank and sorrow.
[17:52] Becky: Exactly. I love being 22 years old.
[17:55] Norma: Yeah, I was about to say disclaimer. We're actually of legal age. Don't do this if you're not 22 days.
[18:00] Becky: When I was at the bar, the bartender checked my ID and he goes, are you a libra? And I thought he was trying to trick me, asking a joke, thinking my ID was fake. I was like, no, I'm a Virgo. And then we had a whole conversation about how he's a few days away from being a virgo and all that stuff. I was like losing my mind. I was like, does he think my ID is fake? Like, it's very much real. I have a second idea I can.
[18:21] Norma: Show you as well. But also we go there so much.
[18:24] Becky: He's like, no, it was different bartender this time. Dang. It not our favorite one, but I'm friends with both of them now. One of them gave me a free drink yesterday. If you can finish this in ten minutes before last call, I'll give you the next one for free. And I was like, that's not a challenge, because I'm going to win. Speaking now, this is making me think of how much money I spent last night, which I didn't spend much, but our dad has been working with us for a budgeting app. It's not that we aren't good with finances, but since next year normal, we'll be going into debt a little bit for grad school. And since I am making a full salary, I just want to be able to save some money, put in a that stuff. Like, we're budgeting what we're doing. And that's adulting right there, that's another class that could be taught, is how to budget and not just waste your money willy nilly.
[19:18] Norma: Yeah, I don't know. I set up my mint account yesterday to look at how much money I spend. I spend within my limits. I don't go over budget, but seeing how much I spend on stupid **** is kind of funny. Like, I was having a really crappy day yesterday, so I went to Target, and they have stuffed plush dinosaurs that are like weighted dinosaurs instead of weighted blankets. So I bought that in order to cheer myself up, and I named him Benny. And I cuddled with him last night because I cried because I was so stressed with life and filling out loan applications and scholarships.
[19:58] Becky: Norma buys the weirdest stuff with her money. I don't know if any of you have seen the TikToks, but it's like those weird animals, and you hit it, and the color changes.
[20:08] Norma: It's like a light. It's like, stupid, I think.
[20:10] Becky: Dinosaur.
[20:11] Norma: Excuse me. Excuse me. Yeah, I bought one. I don't use him anymore. It was also a dinosaur. No way. It was unicorn, maybe?
[20:19] Becky: No, I don't think it was a unicorn.
[20:22] Norma: Anyways, I'm a unicorn girl. That's true. Anyways, I will not have this much discretionary money to spend next year. I am bawling on a budget. I fully plan on eating ramen noodles and meal prepping the hell next year because I got no money.
[20:38] Becky: I told my living completely different lives next year.
[20:41] Norma: Yeah, Becky's making a **** load of money, and I'm going into debt, so it's going to be great. I'm kind of glad that my only friends are my roommates, because, one, we don't have to meet up to go get drinks. We can just drink at our house. And two, I don't have the money for drinks, like I texted them last night. And I will be sober at nearly everything we go to because I cannot afford to drink next year. Unless I can just slide my way through and have someone buy me a drink, I will be sober, which is unfortunate, unless Becky said she'll send me money every once in a while, and that is a good sister.
[21:14] Becky: Every time I come to town or she comes up to Scottsdale to see me, it's going to be like it's like I'm her sugar daddy, buying her whatever she wants.
[21:21] Norma: It's called a sugar mommy. Not a sugar daddy. A sugar sister. I don't know if I like the saying of that.
[21:28] Becky: I'll just give you money. We're just going to leave it at that. We're not going to make it seem any harder than it is.
[21:33] Norma: You'll just be a doting sister.
[21:35] Becky: I'll be a nice human being. Well, then all of that money that I'm spending, all of my expenses and all the money I make, I get to learn how to do taxes for it. I'm still waiting for my tax return, and I really want it because that's going to pay for me to go to Europe.
[21:53] Norma: Yeah, I'm waiting for that because that is about one month's worth of rent from me for next year.
[21:58] Becky: So funny that you're spending on rent and I'm using it. I already bought my plane ticket to Europe, but I'm going to say that my tax return bought my plane ticket to Europe. We were living completely different lives.
[22:10] Norma: Yeah, I was texting my friends on going to Italy after I graduate from grad school next year, and then just looking at it, yeah, I could if I wanted to, but then when I move after grad school, I just won't have enough money to not live comfortably. But no, I have a safety blanket, so Italy is out of the point now or out of the question now. And I'm really freaking upset, actually. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited to go to grad school and get my CPA, but right now, I'm just lumming it.
[22:41] Becky: Yeah. Actually, last night, my friend and I were talking about having a safety net and how important it is to have for everyone. It's different, but it's important to have money saved to do stuff. Like, Norma and I grew up on the make money, spend some of it, save some of it, because my plane ticket for Europe that I purchased was because I saved money because I knew I could. It's not like I was saving money for a rainy day, but I'd love to travel, so I know that spending my saved money on travel is okay with me because I saved it for a reason. Obviously, you need to have money to save it, but at some point, you've also got to spend it because at the end of the day, you don't just want X amount of money sitting in your bank account because excuse me, when you die, you don't want X amount of money sitting in your bank account because you decided just to save it. At least spend a part of it to be able to enjoy life a little bit, but have a safety net because what if something happens? What if you lose your job? You need to be able to have the ability to be able to fund yourself just for a little bit. I don't know how some people don't have a safety net and how they're just going literally paycheck by paycheck or month by month. Like, I understand there are some circumstances where you may have to do that, but if you're able to make yourself a safety net yeah.
[23:55] Norma: Be smart. I'm glad I decided to do that because it's saving my *** now going to grad school because then I know I have some money to fall back on if necessary. But I wish I was taught at a younger age that you need to save. Like, I remember opening up a savings account when I was twelve. I put in $50 and my dad was like, I'm proud of you, here's another 50. He matched it. I'm like, great, now I have money and I've been saving money since. Fun fact, Becky and I have been working since we were twelve years old.
[24:25] Becky: Yeah.
[24:26] Norma: Just a babysitting.
[24:27] Becky: We're really good babysitters. Yeah.
[24:30] Norma: So if you live in the Tucson area or I mean Becky, because you'll be living in Scottsdale, ask us to babysit. We'll do it and I'll make money.
[24:39] Becky: We're really good with kids.
[24:40] Norma: It's also because even though we sound kind of professional now, we're actually incredibly childish when we're with kids. We can be mature and we're super responsible, but when it comes to hanging out with kids, we're super immature and that's why they love us. We were both camp counselors and we were always tasked with the small kids because we could handle them and we had energy as them.
[25:01] Becky: Literally. The director was like, I'm so glad you're finally able to be a CIT. I knew I was going to put you with the little kids just because I do so well with them. Because I'm not saying I relate to them, but I can get to their level on having fun, but I'm not afraid to be stern with them. One thing I'm not afraid to do is win a card game against a kid. They need to be put in their place. I'm not going to let them win. I'm not going to let them think that everything's okay in the world because it's not. If they're going to lose a card game, they're going to lose to me.
[25:29] Norma: Well, I think we've veered off the topic of accounting a lot, so I think that's it for this week. Let's go help Becky nurse her hangover.
[25:38] Becky: Why don't we get you applying for student loans? That sounds like a better idea.
[25:42] Norma: Can I drink my way through that?
[25:44] Becky: Have a particularly pama gorita. Well, we will see you next. Week where hopefully, we haven't cried because of school, and hopefully Norma has filled out some loan applications.
[25:55] Norma: And let's hope that Becky's not hungover again.
[25:57] Becky: Oh, my God. It won't be.
[25:59] Norma: Hi.
[26:09] Becky: This has been a production of the Accounting Podcast Network.