YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An accounting degree can prepare students for careers in many industries and an event earlier this month at Youngstown State University introduced students to those working in some of them.
Jeremy Schwartz, director of the Larricia School of Accounting and Finance in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University, says the event marked the 27th Accounting Practitioner Day.
It brings accounting practitioners to campus to meet with students.
“This is so important,” said Kelly Wilkinson, dean of the business administration college.
The day offers the chance for students to engage with people who work in the accounting field.
“This is an opportunity for you, as students, to talk to the practitioners here and have those conversations and build those relationships,” the dean said.
Representatives from several accounting firms, companies and organizations attended the Nov. 3 event to inform students about careers in the profession, answer questions and recruit future interns and employees.
YSU economics professor Joseph Palardy delivered the keynote presentation on ChatGPT and its effects on the accounting profession. Other sessions focused on opportunities in accounting, data analytics, certifications and fraud and forensics.
At one of the early sessions, Sienna Summers from Pittsburgh, a third-year accounting major, talked with Doug Johnson, a profitability specialist at FNB.
Summers plans a career as a certified public accountant.
“I really like working with numbers and the solving problems part of it,” Summers said. “I enjoy just getting a whole data sheet and being, like, this is what we need to look at and finding the best way to allocate whatever funds they have.”
Johnson says FNB participated in Accounting Practitioner Day to inform and educate students about the different opportunities in the profession.
He doesn’t work in a traditional accounting role.
“But what I do at the core is cost accounting which helps do analytics for the bank,” Johnson said.
“It’s a different opportunity some people might not
be aware of and I like to let them know what’s out there.”
Recruiting students isn’t the main objective of FNB participation, he says, but “if it happens, that’s great.”
Jon Chahine of Canfield is majoring in finance management. He plans a career as a wealth management adviser at Morgan Stanley but attended
the Nov. 3 event to learn about the other careers available.
Gianna Hlebovy and Noah Craciun are both recent YSU graduates now working in the accounting field. Hlebovy is a talent acquisition specialist at DG Perry and Craciun is a tax accountant at Ernst & Young in Cleveland.
Both believe their education at YSU prepared them well for their respective careers and they attended the practitioners’ gathering to recruit future graduates.
“I’ve been actively recruiting interns for our firm for tax season 2024,” Hlebovy said. “I’ve been to quite a few schools, YSU being one of them. We have five YSU students interning at our Canfield office.”
It can be challenging to recruit students, she said. But of the schools she’s visited, YSU is the easiest from which to recruit.
YSU has the best outreach and also had the most students interested in interning, Hlebovy said.
A national decline in accounting graduates affects recruiting efforts and Craciun said Ernst & Young is expanding the pool of universities where it recruits.
“We have been actively recruiting at YSU recently,” said Craciun. “I think we have five or six people who are going to be either starting as interns or full time from YSU within the next couple of years.”
YSU is one of the main universities where the firm is recruiting, he said.
“Mainly because we’ve had so many great candidates come out of YSU,” Craciun said. “The firm has target universities and they’re expanding their target universities. YSU has been one of the main ones in the area we’re recruiting from.”
Pictured at top: Ashley Thompson, a Youngstown State University accounting major; Nicole DeCenso, a change management specialist at FNB; Rozelynn White, a YSU finance manager; and Bruce Flyak, partner at DG Perry, participated in the Accounting Practitioner Day, Nov. 3 at YSU.