In this episode, we learn why Norma is choosing a public accounting career and why Becky is choosing a private accounting career. The twins get reflective and mushy about their professors. Even though graduation is still a few weeks away, Becky and Norma's lives are already starting to take diverging paths as they make their summer plans.
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, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Accounting Twins podcast. My name is Becky.
[00:18] Norma: And I'm Norma.
[00:19] Becky: And we're so glad to have you back today. Recently, we have been posting on Twitter and LinkedIn about our podcast, and we've been getting such great feedback. We're so excited. We are really hoping this is reaching out to a ton of people, and people are excited to hear what we have to say and everything.
[00:34] Norma: Yes. I can't wait to see what people actually listen to the podcast, like, the demographics, because I know we're college students, so I think our ideal demographic would be to reach out to other college students. But it'd be interesting because I feel like a lot of feedback or comments that we've gotten have been from professionals who are already in the workforce, not people who are in college still.
[00:54] Becky: And that's also part of our ideal demographic. We want anybody who's interested to listen, and we want to know what's going on, and we would love to hear from people about what they think about our podcast and what they think about our career path and where we're heading.
[01:05] Norma: Yeah.
[01:06] Becky: Speaking of Twitter, did you see that tweet about the Marvel character who was an accountant and he also did stock photos?
[01:14] Norma: Yes, simulo. He was in Shanghi. The Legend of Ten Rings. He's an actor, and he's in a lot of new movies. I know he's in one with Ryan Reynolds coming up, but he used to work for I think it was either Deloitte or EY. And he tweeted a while ago that it was the anniversary of him getting fired from being a public accountant. And he said it was a blessing in disguise and one of the best things that's ever happened to him.
[01:41] Becky: I think that's crazy that he went from an accountant to a famous movie actor.
[01:45] Norma: Yeah, it's definitely interesting because I feel like most people just start off in the acting industry, but he was actually an accountant. Maybe if they make another movie of The Accountant with Ben Affleck, he'll be in it, because that would be experience in there.
[01:58] Becky: That would be so funny. I'm curious why he wanted to quit. Was he a CPA, do you know?
[02:06] Norma: I think he did tax.
[02:08] Becky: Got it. Honestly, to each their own. Granted, I'm not doing public. You are. So it's, of course, what everybody wants. But I think that's so interesting now that he's making Marvel movies and you are a Marvel guru, so it's kind of funny. That your favorite movie series. As someone who used to be an.
[02:26] Norma: Accountant and you are now an accountant. Yes. Don't get me started on Marvel. We could just go for an entire episode, and I wouldn't talk about accounting. I would just simply talk about Marvel. They're my favorite movies ever. We're seeing one in two weeks. We're actually seeing it during our dead day for college, where it's like the study day, where a bunch of our friends and I were going to go see the new Doctor Strange movie, marvel A Madness, I think.
[02:53] Becky: Sure I'm not the marvel Guru here. Yeah.
[02:55] Norma: But we're going to go see it as a steady break in a few weeks while we're studying for our finals, which I'm so excited about.
[03:02] Becky: I think that's so exciting. You're going to explain everything to me, though.
[03:06] Norma: I still have a lot to catch up on, like the Loki series.
[03:08] Becky: Before we watch that, I'm thinking back to this Marvel man and how he was like, I'm going to go from accounting to acting. But me, I'm thinking of, well, I chose private. I want to stay with it for a while, but even after then, what would I do after accounting? I don't think I could be an actor.
[03:27] Norma: I don't think you could either. I'm sorry. I love you, but that's a no for me.
[03:31] Becky: Oh, my goodness. I think I could be a fabulous actor. I can cry on command. That's very true.
[03:37] Norma: Maybe just stick to accounting.
[03:41] Becky: I'll do my private accounting, you do your public accounting.
[03:43] Norma: Yeah. That sounds great. So I don't think we've addressed this yet as to why we chose public versus private. So I think we should just go in and talk about what enticed me about working in the private or the public industry and why Becky chose the public industry, if you want to start or Becky private.
[04:01] Becky: Sorry, I'm doing private, and honestly, I just kind of had the quarterlife crisis earlier this semester. I had accepted an offer from a public accounting firm I was going to start in the fall, and then I just realized that it's my dream and my goal to have a very big family and be very family oriented, and I want to have a family at a young age. And I just don't know if achieving my CPA and working 60 to 80 hours a week during the busy season was going to be able to help me achieve those goals of mine. And for some people, it works. Some people have the drive and the desire to do those. I just don't know if I do. I want a nine to five job, and it's not like I want to sit at a desk all day just doing paperwork. Like, I want it to be exciting and I want to travel, but I also don't want to be stressed about my job and take it outside of work with me and let it affect how I am. And for me, I've always really liked doing general ledgers, debits and credits, all of those things. So I'm thinking, why not just do it for a company? And maybe I could join their internal audit team. I am doing a rotational program where I am working so I get to see the different departments I could work.
[05:10] Norma: In, which is so exciting to me.
[05:11] Becky: Because then I can find what works best for me, but also what the company thinks I work best in. So I can really find my niche. Public accounting, to me, is just not something that I desire. I mean, granted, some people don't desire private accounting, and that's just to each their own. There's no judgment there. So to me, private accounting is what really enticed me. And I also don't want to get my CPA. Like I said, I want to be very family oriented. So maybe ten years down the road, I'm not a CPA. I'm doing something where I'm overlooking new hires and everything because I love working with people, and I love helping people achieve their goals and their dreams. So I'm just thinking, maybe don't get the CPA because I don't want to stress myself out in the present when I may not be using it in the future.
[05:59] Norma: So where Becky decided to go from public to private, I actually had an internship going into my freshman and sophomore year of college where I did private accounting, where I did accounts payable and stuff. And although it was a great experience and I really learned about accounting then, I really just didn't necessarily enjoy the work. It was very mundane for me. I just didn't like how everything was so repetitive. And I get it. I was doing a bunch of basically doing an interns work. I wasn't necessarily doing all the potential that an accounts payable person could do, but I just did not enjoy it. It was too repetitive. I finished my work so much, or I finished my work super early, so I just didn't enjoy it. And then, funny thing, when we started off in the accounting major, I realized that I wanted to do public accounting. And then I did a few weeks before we had our internship this past summer, I was like, I don't want to do public accounting. I would rather do private again. And then during our internship, I talked to someone, one of my coworkers, and he really made me actually want to do public accounting again and really encouraged me to do my CPA. And he said, even if you don't want to keep going and doing the CPA profession and auditing, then you at least still have your CPA, which gives you a level up against other people if you're applying just for a private job. So I was like, okay, I might as well do it. And then I just realized I love to learn. Like, I actually enjoy school, so I wouldn't mind going to grad school for another year and studying for my CPAs, even though it's a lot of money, but I really enjoy it, so I don't mind going back to school for another year even though I'm burnt out right now. And then I just realized, yes, sometimes I don't like how in public accounting everything is. Nothing is the same, but it's so much better than doing the same exact thing. Every day.
[07:53] Becky: Want to touch back on the whole fact that Norma's going public. I am going private. We have had the same friends, we've had the same major, we're in the same sorority, we have the same ideas and niches and all that stuff. And then all of a sudden we're like, okay, let's just take different paths. Now we're each going to take our own yellow brick road. Which is so funny to me just because actually, when we first started, as Norma said, she did a private internship and all I wanted to do was go to grad school, get my CPA, work for a public accounting firm, and now it's completely 180. It's just comedic to me because we've completely switched around and this is the first time that we're doing something that's not the same. So we're having different experiences so we can talk to each other and learn different things that we are doing throughout our jobs.
[08:42] Norma: Yeah, it's going to be exciting when she starts her job in July, and then I'm starting to study for my CPA exams just to see the difference within the jobs. We're going to obviously talk about it then. But even just to see just day to day lives when we're texting each other just the difference in our routine, I think that's just going to be so interesting to note.
[09:00] Becky: Well, you're going to be in grad school, and I'm just going to be working a job, and I get to have fun after work and on the weekends. And you're just going to be sitting at home graveling against the computer, learning more stuff, and I'm not going to be graded anymore, which I'm so excited about.
[09:16] Norma: Yeah, it will be interesting. I'm excited to see where it goes. So while we're on, I know Rebecca was talking about grad school for a second. We're going to talk about undergraduate school right now because we're in our last semester. As you know, we graduate in a few weeks. We're in our Capstone class right now, and it's about financial analyst and estimations and analysis. I don't know what to say. This class is difficult.
[09:39] Becky: It's the hardest class I have ever taken because it's just taking everything you've learned and putting it into one with extra analysis. And right now, we are doing a project where we are forecasting a company's revenue streams and all of those things. And our professor goes, it's all up to your interpretation and your estimation. There is no wrong answer, which is so hard when you're trying to create a forecast and you don't know what to do. Especially because our industry is the airline industry, and obviously with the Pandemic, there's.
[10:13] Norma: So much going on.
[10:13] Becky: So everything is super unsteady. And so we're just struggling with our project. I was doing a DCF and a rope calculation, and they're supposed to equal each other. I was over $400 million off and Norma had to help me. And it took us half an hour to get it back together, and it was the hardest thing ever. I almost cried when she finished or when we were working on it and we figured it out. I screamed in a sorority house, gave her a hug. It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and it was just a happy day.
[10:43] Norma: It's just so this project, this entire semester has just been so difficult because no matter what we do, none of our analysis or forecasts are ever going to be right because it's all due to cobid. So, for example, we're doing, like, 2020 financial statements, and that was the **** year of COVID, where everything was affected. Like, every industry was affected by COVID, and especially the airline industry directly affected because no one wanted to travel there or stay at home orders. So it's just so difficult to do these analyses where we don't have I wouldn't say good data, but we don't have data that accurately depicts what's going on in the regular world. So, like, we're using 2019 numbers to do our analysis, but then we still have to use 2020 numbers, and our analysis is not going well. I can't wait for this class in this project to be over. It's just the bane of my existence at this point in time. I'm losing hair from all the stress from this class.
[11:44] Becky: I wouldn't say I've given up on the class, but at the same time, I'm not going to lose sleep over a class when we graduate in 25 days, I believe I'm not going to lose sleep over it, but I'm still going to try as hard as I can, and I'm going to study for my exam that's next Monday. And then I have no more exams. And then I'm going to celebrate because this class has given me so many different emotions and so many types of tiers this semester.
[12:14] Norma: Yeah, it'll be great. It's April 19. We're going to be over soon.
[12:20] Becky: You know what yesterday was?
[12:22] Norma: Taxes were due. No, we.
[12:26] Becky: Usually the 17th. But because the 17th was a Sunday, it was the 18th.
[12:30] Norma: Okay.
[12:31] Becky: I cannot wait to get my tax return back and have so much money.
[12:38] Norma: Yeah, it's going to be a fatty tax return. And usually when I get my tax returns, I'm just like I'll treat myself to something nice going on a trip. But this summer, I have nothing planned, like no trips or anything. I'm just booked with internships. So I'm just going to save it for grad school because I need the money.
[12:54] Becky: On the other hand, I am traveling. My roommate and I are going to go to Disney World for four days, and then I'm going to Europe for a week and a half with my best friend. So I need as much money as I can get.
[13:08] Norma: When we were filling out those tax returns, it was kind of funny because I actually knew what I was doing. Like, I think it was three years ago, I was filling out my tax returns. I was kind of just going through the motions, getting help from my dad. But because we took a tax class last semester, I actually knew what was going on, and I didn't need my dad's help at all. And I just felt very accomplished with my life. And this goes back to what Becky and I said. I think it was last week. You need to have an accounting class or tax class in the Stem programs for high school people so they actually know what to do.
[13:42] Becky: And you need to have a good tax teacher. We had the greatest tax teacher ever. She is not only a fabulous human being, but she is a fabulous professor, and she made that class so enjoyable. Our friends and I, we call ourselves the Professors Fan Club, and we enjoyed learning in that class. And like Norma said, we were doing our taxes and we knew what was going on, which was so weird because.
[14:06] Norma: There'S real life application to accounting.
[14:08] Becky: I didn't know if you knew that.
[14:10] Norma: Yes, and as much as I loved her tax class, I will never do taxes beyond my own because it's so frustrating and there's so many different laws that are always changing. So definitely the audit path is the track for me. Taxes, not my fans. Oh, my gosh.
[14:26] Becky: The worst part was rental activities. Is your home a rental? Is it less than 14 days? More than 14 days? Do you never live in it?
[14:33] Norma: Oh, my gosh, that or if you.
[14:35] Becky: Were like an S Corp. No, that stuff was terrible. I hated that part.
[14:42] Norma: Yes, like I said, tax is not for me. I will do my personal taxes. I will never do anything else. I told my dad I'll do his.
[14:48] Becky: Taxes, but that's it. Every time I tell someone I'm an accountant, they're like, oh, do my taxes for me. And I go, I think you think I know more than I actually do. I'll just do it online with an automated software. Which you could do in your own time.
[15:02] Norma: Yeah, I think the difference between audit and tax, I feel like tax, there's just way too many variables, like, so many different ways that something could be done. And yes, for audit, no job is the same, but at least you kind of still follow the same framework when you're doing the reconciliation and talking with the clients. But for taxes, there's so many variables. I think my mind would implode if I did tax. Kudos to people who are actual tax professionals, because I cannot do that. I applaud you.
[15:35] Becky: And also, when we did our tax costs, we were doing on paper taxes. We had all of the forms, the 1099, all of those things. But when you go to do your taxes online with the software, you're just punching in numbers. You're punching and crunching, but on paper, it was so much more difficult. I round wrong. If you round wrong, sometimes you get wrong numbers. Also, why does the government know how much we owe in taxes, but they won't tell us? You just want me to fail.
[16:05] Norma: Yeah. I remember a few years ago when we had just declared our accounting majors, our dad made us meet with our grandfather's, Tax. I don't really know, but we met with him, and the entire time he had pictures and diagrams up on his walls about the different tax laws and different tax forms. And I just stood there in awe, and I was like, I knew nothing about Tax at the time, but I'm like, this is so overwhelming right now. There are so many different forms. I don't understand how tax preparers remember.
[16:38] Becky: All of the tax forms.
[16:40] Norma: There's so many.
[16:41] Becky: I can barely remember them because all accountants are geniuses. We have special brain cells, which makes us cooler than a lot of people, but everybody else is cool. We just have different brain cells that are cooler. One of my first memories, I remember walking into Eller, I think it was freshman year. It was freshman year because sophomore year we were home because of covet. Freshman year, I walked in to Eller and I saw these kids coming out of a classroom, and it was April.
[17:07] Norma: 17, it was Tax Stay, and the.
[17:10] Becky: Professor had brought all of her students green cookies with dollar signs on them. And I was like, that's a great professor right there, feeding your students as they are on the brink of tears because of school.
[17:21] Norma: Why have I never heard this before? I wish we were taking our Tax class now, though. That would be so interesting because I feel like a professor would have helped us, not helped us with our taxes, but would have answered our questions about our personal taxes.
[17:34] Becky: I loved our professor. I just think professors can make or break how you feel about a class. And luckily, Norman and I have been grateful to have very fabulous professors. We still keep in contact with some of our freshmen and sophomore year professors, and they help us not only just with accounting, but how to be an accountant and what paths we want to take in all that stuff.
[17:58] Norma: Oh, yeah, one of our professors, I love her with all of my heart. I know I'm going to have actually, I'm not going to have her again next year for graduate school, but I'm lucky to at least have her around for another year. Like, I want to meet with her in the next few weeks before we graduate, just to update her on our lives because I haven't seen her in a few weeks. And I know that next year I won't see her as much because I'll be so busy. But it's just great to have another resource as someone to talk to about my personal life, my professional life. She gives me greatest advice.
[18:28] Becky: And our career advisor is also extremely fabulous. I don't know if I've ever met somebody who is as knowledgeable as her about different accounting firms, different industries to work in, how to interview, fabulous interview tips. I think Eller is fabulous for how dedicated their staff is to helping their students. Yes.
[18:49] Norma: I don't know if I talked about this, but when Rebecca and I were looking at what colleges we wanted to go to, I was so keen about not living in the state of Arizona. I looked at the University of Idaho, I looked at Washington State University, and I really just did not want to be in Arizona. But I was talking with my dad about this the other night. We were talking about why I decided to go to U of A and it literally just did not make sense to go out of state for college when the other College of Management is one of the top business colleges in the nation. So as much as I'm upset that I wasn't able to move out of state, it was probably the best decision to stay at Eller because I have grown as a person and a professional so much. I could recommend to everyone to go to Eller because the professors are amazing and I've learned so much and I love the staff.
[19:44] Becky: I'm an elder girl in and out. You'll never get me out of Eller. Once an Eller girl, always an elder girl. It's crazy that we're graduating and like I said, 25 days.
[19:57] Norma: Yeah, we just started planning our grad party. That is, in a few weeks. We're starting to send out our grad invites. We just got our grad photos back. It's just so insane that a month from now, I mean, I'll have grad school, but Becky is not going to be in college anymore. We're going to be done. It's so insane how in a month.
[20:16] Becky: Things are going to be so different.
[20:18] Norma: Thank goodness.
[20:19] Becky: I don't know if I could ever survive school again. I'm so excited to begin my professional career and just meet other people who have the same desires and goals that I do. Obviously they do if they are in business school, but seeing people who work.
[20:32] Norma: In the same company as you, so.
[20:34] Becky: They have the same ideals and they have the same passions. And I cannot wait to be an adult, except I have so many bills to pay. I'm about to sign a lease on an apartment with some friends. It's just crazy to me. All of the big girl steps I'm taking. Looking for an apartment has been stressful.
[20:52] Norma: I need renters insurance.
[20:53] Becky: I have to begin looking at different car insurance to look at. I have so many bills to pay. And it's all about Becky becoming a big girl.
[21:03] Norma: Yeah. Just wait for the beginning of July when Becky's stressing out about moving. I can't wait to hear all about it. It's going to be great.
[21:11] Becky: Oh, my gosh, having to pack my room is going to be so bad. I am the type of person I'm super clean, but you know how people have beds that are raised off the ground and they just throw everything under there?
[21:21] Norma: That's my bed.
[21:22] Becky: I found a haircut there the other day. I found a bag of chips that wasn't open. I'm terrified to move out and have.
[21:29] Norma: To do all this packing.
[21:30] Becky: And I have a lot of clothes, but I wear, like, the same three outfits every week. So I'm going to my closet, and I'm going to give Norma and some of my friends some of my clothes, which means that I spent money on clothes I never wore. But it's okay. I'm fine. We're fine. It's all fine. And then Norma is moving into an apartment. Excuse me. Norma is moving into a house herself with some friends. It's just four years ago, I was living at home in high school, doing high school graduation, 18, asking my parents if I could stay out past midnight for half an hour. And four years later, I'm a big girl, and I'm filing my own tax returns. I will be paying every single bill on my own and just becoming an adult.
[22:17] Norma: Yeah. Where Becky is. Not necessarily. I mean, she's excited to move, but not the moving process. I am so incredibly excited to be moving. So I don't know if I mention this or not, but so I was on my Sororities executive board for two years, and along with that, I had to live in our sorority house. So I willingly lived in my sophomore year and then junior and senior year, I had to live in as. It's a requirement if you're on the executive board. As much as I loved it, I am so ready to get out of living with 50 people next year. I'm so excited just to be living with four other roommates. I have my own personal space. I have at my own shower. I have my own walk in closet. I am so excited to have my own space next year.
[23:02] Becky: And you guys are having a dog? Yes. His name is Dude.
[23:05] Norma: I'm so excited.
[23:07] Becky: I want to get a dog so bad, but I think I just need to be more settled in life because I could move around for my job if I wanted to, and I just want to make sure that I'm able to enjoy a little bit of time and then get a dog. But I think I want to adopt many dogs, and I also want to have so many kids. Well, I have so many things to think about before I'm 30. After that's, like, seven years away, we're.
[23:35] Norma: Going into uncharted territory. I think we should end here. Becky, I don't think we need to go into a midlife crisis talking about what you're going to be doing when you're 30.
[23:42] Becky: I've already had a midlife crisis. I can't do another one.
[23:46] Norma: Well, that's it for this week of the Accounting Swims podcast. Thank you so much for listening in and we're so excited to see you return next week audio.
[23:55] Becky: Hi. This has been a production of the Accounting Podcast network.