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.
Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!
Becky: [00:00:03] Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Accounting Twins Podcast. My name is Becky.
Norma: [00:00:15] And my name is Norma. But today it is very, very, very, very, very tired Norma. Yeah, I'm very tired from studying a lot. And that's going to be one of the things that we talk about today on the Accounting Twins Podcast, but Becky's going to start it off and talk about her big girl job with her big girl duties.
Becky: [00:00:34] I kind of just wanted to talk about what a day in the life really looks like for me right now, and then delve into some other topics about work. While I would say today in the life, as well, every day is so different from the next because I do rotate around, so I don't have a set position, I guess you would say. So, I help practically everybody in the revenue department, whether or not they need me, if they need me. So, I do a lot of stuff.
Becky: [00:00:57] But every morning, I wake up, brush my teeth, you know, the usual, and I log on to the computer. The very first thing that I do is I do our Salesforce Activated Report. So, what that means is we have this huge Excel file of all of the orders and contracts that come in from customers, and they've been approved, and we're going to fulfill those. So, we're going to send them a taser; we're going to send them fleet, we're going to send them interview room, whatever it is. And, I pretty much have to filter this huge report to say, okay, these orders do not exist within the report. These quotes do not exist within the report, and these are in review, meaning that they have not been overseen by somebody in the accounting department, meaning that somebody has to do that before we're able to get a full start on this quote or this order. So, every morning I have to do that, take like 10-15 minutes.
Norma: [00:01:52] I had like a question because I was confused.
Becky: [00:01:55] Yeah.
Norma: [00:01:57] So, like you're- are you keeping, I guess, track of the order to make sure like it hasn't been tripped out yet, if payment's not there, or like, what's the purpose of what you're doing? I'm a little confused.
Becky: [00:02:08] So, the purpose of what I do is I just input the new information that's uploaded like by the second, but I just do it every morning. And then, that way, people will go into this huge file and they'll like claim a quote or an order as their own, and they will do the review of it. I don't have the knowledge or experience to be able to do that [CROSSTALK]
Norma: [00:02:29] So, like, you get the numbers from like the Salesforce and then put it into the file?
Becky: [00:02:35] Yeah, pretty much. I'm the one who prepares the file, so then other people can use it to do their review of all of the orders and all the quotes.
Norma: [00:02:43] Oh, okay. That makes more sense. I was so confused, like what was going on with [CROSSTALK] please continue.
Becky: [00:02:48] It's so confusing. Sometimes, I don't even know what I'm doing, but I'm good at it, so I do it. One of the things that I have been doing for the past two weeks is that I have been working on an average selling price and gross margin project. So, pretty much what we do is we get all of this data of products we have sold, what they sold for, the revenue, the cost of goods sold, how many units they have sold, and then, we just do some calculations to find the average selling price between this huge piece of data, and the products, and the gross margin.
Becky: [00:03:19] And then, from there, we have to do a further analysis of anything that is obscure. So, for example, if we have something that has- it's just an outlier with how much revenue there was or how much cost of goods sold there was, we analyze it to make sure nothing was wrong with the shipment, with the amount of revenue we charged them or the amount of cost of goods sold to what we gave them. So, we have to do an analysis to that where we have to tie a quantity back to the shipping cube, which is what we use as a thing to monitor how many products we are sending out.
Becky: [00:03:53] And then, I also have to tie back the revenue to our revenue log because we want to make sure that there is no difference between what we are reporting and what we are getting put into the system. And this has been a huge project. Like I said, I've been working on it for two weeks, every single day. And it's interesting, but at the same time, no problem is solved the exact same way. So, if it's fine, and the quantity and the revenue matches up, perfect. That's fine. But if it doesn't, it's so hard to figure out what is wrong because no one- No one entry is the same as the last, if that makes sense.
Norma: [00:04:33] Yeah. So, then, I understand what you mean. Like, there's not unnecessary or like, there's not a specific process I want to do. Kind of just depends on the situation and what's missing. So, how do you, like, figure out what to do? Like, is it just kind of like, learn as you go, and then you kind of know what to do?
Becky: [00:04:51] So, it is pretty much a learn as you go, but for the first few ones, because I literally had no idea what to do, I was asking my boss, and for now I've gotten a better idea of what to do. But some of them are still so difficult that my boss and I spent 30 minutes one day trying to figure one out, and we're like, okay, we can't figure it out. We're going to come back to this just because it's not working. So, we're just going to do it later.
Becky: [00:05:13] So, sometimes we go into our revenue platform, and we see how much revenue has been recognized so far, and we tie that, or we have to go to manual journal entries that were made to see if this was an accrual, if the hardware shipped out last quarter, but we're not recognizing the revenue until this quarter, or if we're recognizing it this quarter, even if we haven't sent out the hardware yet. Sometimes, we have to look at both the revenue platform and the journal entry platform. Sometimes, we have to go to Salesforce and see what the sales items say. It's honestly so confusing because, again, no two entries are the exact same.
Becky: [00:05:54] And so it's really hard, especially if the revenue is off by a couple thousand dollars, because if it were off by the entire amount, you could try to find it. And if you can't find it, then you can reach out to the person who's in charge of the entity. So, for example, we sell to like Germany, Canada, Australia, the UK, the United States and other countries. So, a lot of people are in charge of specific entities is what we call them. So, if I was working on an Australia one and I couldn't figure it out, I would just reach out to the person who's in charge of Australia, and they would look it up. But for Taz, which is our United States one, everybody's in charge of it because Taz in the US is so big. Like obviously, we sell into what? I think 49-50 states. So, it's huge. And so, when it's off by just a few thousand, you still have to find that few thousand dollars because why are we not recognizing this revenue or recognizing too much? So, it's really hard. I've cried a few times.
Norma: [00:06:55] But it's fine. You figure it out one way or another.
Becky: [00:07:00] Exactly. That's what I've been doing. I've actually- in the past two days is when we've done most of our analysis, I guess you would say; most of our analysis on the biggest differentiations. And I've gotten really good at it. I only had to ask for help a few times, and it wasn't my fault. It's because one of the data centers that we use stopped working for everybody in the entire revenue department. So, it wasn't my fault that I couldn't figure it out. It was literally the data center.
Becky: [00:07:25] Every day is different. I typically don't do the same tasks every single day. Once I finish a majority of this average selling price gross margin project I do, I typically have a meeting every morning that I always do in between my tasks, and it's integration touch monitoring. So, pretty much, we just meet with a bunch of other people in the revenue department to make sure that everything going from different platforms is going through correctly, you know. And then, I'll do some more work, have some lunch. My boss and I have one-on-ones every two days, which is so great. I think Norma has mentioned before that it's great to have a relationship with your professors. It's equally as important to have a relationship with your boss. Yeah?
Norma: [00:08:11] Yeah. So, like, are these- what are these one-on-ones about? Because I'm assuming you meet with her to figure out how to do your job or if you have any questions. But like, I'm assuming these are different and not always related to work or to specific tasks.
Becky: [00:08:25] Yeah. Honestly, sometimes, it's just checking in. How are you doing? How's the rotation? How is your life? And we just like, catch up, like, "Oh, I had so much fun this weekend. I went to the movies." She'll tell me about what she did with her family. And then, that's if it's a little slower for me and there's nothing I really need assistance with because I've got everything down. But other times, when I have been working on this ASP-GM task, we spend 30 minutes and we go through a ton of questions that I have, and that's our designated Q&A time, and it's more of so I'll highlight an entry that I need assistance with, and she will help me; kind of like office hours, if that makes sense.
Norma: [00:09:06] Oh, okay. Yeah, that makes sense because like I go into office hours for my professor sometimes just to bug them and say hi because I miss them because they were the ones from last semester, or I go in because I actually need help. So, it's like either or.
Becky: [00:09:20] Exactly. It's like I- I bug her and I say, "Hi, what's up?" Or if we- if I need something, I need it. So, pretty much my day consists of me doing this ASP-GM and then just asking around for tasks and being great and showing off my smart knowledge. Yeah, that's a day in my life. I'm going to make a TikTok about it soon, so, that will be great. You can see what I do. Yeah. What about you, Norma? What's new with life?
Norma: [00:09:45] My life is boring. I'm really not enjoying it right now because I'm up 8 to 10 at, like, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day doing schoolwork, or studying for my CPA exams, or working. And I have no enjoyment in my life. I'm not even going to lie; like it's boring. All I do is study, and I understand... Like I want to take my CPA exam in March to- so then I can have the rest of the semester to like, enjoy myself. But it's really hard performing 12-14 hours, days of just studying; like I do not have time to myself unless it's half an hour before I go to bed. Otherwise, I'm just working nonstop and it sucks. Like, I'm at rock bottom right now. I'm not even going to lie. Like I'm like, Why am I doing this profession? I'm so miserable right now. Luckily, I know that I will be excited in a year from now to actually work, but I'm miserable right now. Absolutely frickin miserable.
Becky: [00:10:44] I mean, yeah, I FaceTime her, and she's always, always studying. The only time that we really talk in FaceTime is- our favorite TikTok-ers post a video every day or on like 6, or 7. We watch it together. We go, "It's time!" Watch it, hang up. That's it.
Norma: [00:10:59] Yeah. It's like- and this semester is so much harder than last with my classes. Like my audit simulation class, I really, really need to pay attention to because audit simulation is going to be helpful. Accounting theories... I hate vague answers, and accounting theories is like determining the answers for yourself a lot. But, I don't know, theories I hate. I just can't do it [CROSSTALK]
Becky: [00:11:21] -explain your accounting theories class. Now, I'm - Now, I'm intrigued. If it's only vague answers, like, what are you learning?
Norma: [00:11:28] Well, it's not vague answers, but it's like, I honestly am not going like... I don't even know what this class is about. It's just about accounting theories and like... You know what? I'm not even going to try to describe it because I just cannot pay attention in that class right now. It's just so difficult for me to pay attention, and I don't even know what it's about. So, I'm going to literally reteach myself what this class is- like, read the syllabus, reteach myself what it's supposed to be about, and then, this last week of work, because I didn't do crap, learn like ... I didn't- I couldn't- could not, like, just retain any of the information. It was so difficult!
Becky: [00:12:02] Now, I'm just theorizing what accounting theories could be about.
Norma: [00:12:07] And then, what's an- oh, my business law class I do find really interesting. We're just like, basically just learning law and applying law concepts to real-life events. Like we talked about the Buffalo Bill Games where the guy had went into cardiac arrest; could him, the person who tackled him, the NFL, the teams be held liable for this serious injury? So, it's like applying laws and statutes to real-time things. And I find it really interesting because that's like, you're going to have accounting principles, got to apply it to an audit to see if are these principles being worked... Or are these principles and standards being applied correctly? Is there anything like fraud going on? Are they making any mistakes? So, I'm really excited for business law. And then, my ethics class, I love. I love my professor so much. She's amazing. We're just learning about ethics, and it's really cool because I ... like when we're learning-
Norma: [00:13:07] When I say we're learning about ethics, we're learning about the different types of like ethical... I don't even know what they're called, but like utilitarianism. Ethical egoism, universalism; like all that shindig. So, it's really cool. We get to write, like, ethic journals about our opinions. So, like I described, in the first journal, what I think ethics is. Mine is like does the cost outweigh the benefit? Will this hurt someone? I don't like lying. So, those are my ethical things. And then, we were talking about ethics in the nation and stuff. So, yeah, this semester is just going to be difficult. Like I'm not enjoying my life right now. Like, I'm very miserable right now. Horrible. Like, worse than last semester. And audit studying is not going well.
Becky: [00:13:56] I think you're so hard on yourself, sometimes. Like you're a third of the way through.
Norma: [00:14:02] I know. I'm like- I'm about to end unit two of six on audit studying, but it's just really frustrating because all I do is study, and I don't get a break, but like, I'm trying to push through so I can finish sooner rather than later. But just like- I just like- when I say I don't think I'm going to pass it... Oh, yeah! The reason I don't think I'm going to pass it. I am not a fan of how the audit exam... Is there is one right answer because we all know that audit encompasses professional skepticism and professional judgment. So, there is no correct answer unless it's like a definition or something. But when they say like, what's the most appropriate procedure or test of controls or stuff to practice, there's multiple correct answers.
Norma: [00:14:46] I think the audit exam needs to be changed to where, yeah, there could be one truly correct answer, but in some cases, when there's two questions or answers that are somewhat correct, partial credit [CROSSTALK] like my friend is taking an audit exam on Saturday and she's like, "Every time I take a practice quiz or practice exam, like, there's always a question, like many, many questions where there's two reasonable answers. And if I get it wrong, I know what the right answer is right after. It's not like I didn't know that information." So, I think we need to reevaluate how we're doing the audit exam, because obviously not all answers are going to be correct because there's so much professional judgment in auditing
Becky: [00:15:26] That makes so much sense. And like you said, like there may be one answer that's best for the problem, but there's also a second one that's very close. And if you're able to explain and provide support to why you think your second choice is also as good as the first, then that should also be given credit because, like you said, professional skepticism. There is no right answer. You literally have to do what you want and give your support behind it.
Norma: [00:15:54] Yeah, So, I'm just like really miserable and frustrated right now. Like, like, I'm not doing well. Like, I know I need to be taking breaks because I need to, but also I just want to- I want to get this over with. Like, I don't- I don't want to be doing this and studying for another like 8-12 months. I'm just not enjoying life. Like, I don't do anything fun. And I know, it's like people say, like, you need a break. Go do this, go do this ... But I just want to be done. I would rather get it done sooner rather than later, and this frickin sucks. My life sucks. Ugh! Sorry. I'm being very pessimistic right now. I'm just like- like I don't have any time to myself. I don't enjoy [CROSSTALK]
Becky: [00:16:34] I wish you would take time to yourself because you tell people that they should, but then you don't follow your own advice.
Norma: [00:16:39] Yeah, but, like, my goal is to get this done sooner rather than later.
Becky: [00:16:43] So is theirs-
Norma: [00:16:44] If I was there to take my audit... Well, like, my goal is to take the audit exam within two, two-and-a-half months because studying for four months, like I just lost a lot of information. But like, with such a busy school and work schedule in the CPA sitting schedule, it's just horrible. And like, like school is going to be so much harder. And I'm telling myself I don't not give two flying flips if I get all B's this year because I need to focus on CPA studying.
Norma: [00:17:09] But like another point that I wanted to bring up, it's very difficult for me to get B's in class because, one, I don't know how to study for a B, all I know how to study for is an A, as shown as my 90% on the BEC exam. Also, like I feel it's so disrespectful, and when I get bad grades in classes- because if I respect a professor, I want to do well in their classes, and I respect all of my professors this semester. And as always... but like I got to prioritize everything in my life and that sounds horrible. Frickin... I'm prioritizing getting a B, which also sucks that I'm paying 25-freaking-thousand dollars for grad school when I'm trying- when I'm not even doing- like performing to the best of my abilities because I have other things to do. Grr.
Becky: [00:17:53] Yeah, we, I mean, we discussed this a few episodes ago, that there are so many things that need to change within the audit and the accounting career to make it more appealing to others.
Norma: [00:18:04] Yeah. And the way that I'm just looking at this right now, I know I'm describing accounting, and it's not sounding appealing, and I know it will be appealing to me after I'm done with my CPA exams, and I'm working. But this studying frickin sucks. Like, look, whatever. I get it. Everyone has- Like, if you want to be a lawyer, you have exams, all that snap, but like, you don't see you needing requirements to take the LSAT like 150-hour requirements, but you do for accounting, and it's bull because I'm paying for an education just to get a degree. I'm not paying for an education to actually learn.
Norma: [00:18:45] Like, I would not be doing this master's program if it weren't for the 150-hour requirement, and I'm going into debt for it. I will be paying for 10 frickin years. Just not doing well on anything. Just very frustrated. Sorry, I speak in accents whenever I just don't want to do anything and not in touch with reality. So, I'm just talking in a British accent.
Norma: [00:19:05] Oh my gosh. Fun fact. When I was younger, I had so many speech impediments. I was in speech therapy until eighth grade. People thought I was British. I couldn't say anything.
Becky: [00:19:13] She called me Wa-Becca-
Norma: [00:19:15] Or like, there's a video for my grandpa's birthday. I'm like, "Happy birthday, Gwampa!" I can see that video in my mind right now.
Becky: [00:19:22] Oh, the bangs.
Norma: [00:19:24] Not the bangs! Okay, everyone, I think we're going to call it quits for this episode. I'm fuming right now, and I have to go back to work and studying. So, thanks for listening.
Becky: [00:19:35] I hope you have an extremely fabulous week. So, thank you guys for listening. We hope you enjoyed. We'll catch you next time on the Accounting Twins Podcast.
Norma: [00:19:43] Bye, Twinsies! [INAUDIBLE]