Meet the New Young Emerging Professionals Committee Leadership

CalCPA members have recently come together to form a statewide CalCPA YEP Committee that’s brainstorming new initiatives that will be announced at a later date. We talked more with the committee leaders Antonio Ramirez (committee chair), Julia Walther (vice chair) and Ramon Rivera (secretary) to learn more about them, their perspective on the state of the profession, advice for other YEPs and what their hopes are for the newly formed committee.

 

Describe your career path and what your job entails.

AR: I earned my accounting degree from San Jose State University. Coming out of college, I was very green regarding any accounting experience outside the classroom. The highlights in my résumé included my involvement with the Latino Business Student Association and being the treasurer of my fraternity. I started working at Timpson Garcia a couple weeks after my graduation, and from the start I was able to work with various types of clients. That work environment really helped with my development, along with my growing involvement with CalCPA. My job entails leading teams on a variety of tax and audit engagements.

JW: At Santa Monica City College I took my first accounting class with Ridgway Knight. He was a great professor, and I knew it was a career I wanted to pursue, but Ridgway encouraged me to explore academically. I received my bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. The day after I graduated, I started at USC and received a master’s of business taxation. The program was wonderful and really prepared me for the profession. My first job after school was with Bartlett Pringle & Wolf, the largest CPA firm in Santa Barbara. Now I work at McGowan Guntermann, the oldest firm in Santa Barbara, have a small book of clients and assist the partner’s with various tax preparation and planning.

RR: I am studying for the CPA Exam while working in my firm’s financial reporting services department, also known as audit. We audit a variety of entities including not-for-profit, for profit, governmental and employee benefit plans. My role is first reviewer of audit work and my main responsibility is the preparation of financial statements. I plan to stay in public accounting, work toward audit manager and eventually become partner.

 

What do you think are the most pressing issues affecting the accounting profession today?

AR: One of the most pressing issues is how we adapt to the ever-changing technologies surrounding us. Just in my few years in the profession, I have seen how quickly change can happen. It’s not only important to take advantage of these technological advance to make our work more efficient, but also we must innovate and find other ways to continue providing the most value to our clients.

JW: I’m interested to see how technology will change our field. Accountants have a view of the world that suggests little to no change in terms of our jobs, but the next 10-15 years may very well shift that understanding. I suspect the culture of firms and soft skills will become increasingly important.

RR: The accounting profession is one of the most respected communities of professionals in the world. The high standard of excellence, accuracy and integrity is evident in the rigorous and quality work we produce. With that said, while the profession is still growing, many accountants get burned out quickly. It is important that one’s profession offer happiness along with a paycheck. Some firms have picked up on the need for employees to have a life outside accounting, but more evolvement is needed in addressing accountants’ personal well-being.

 

What advice would you give other young, emerging professionals? 

AR: Don’t be too hard on yourself about not having a set career plan from the start. Fortunately for us, there’s an abundance of career paths that we can take as accountants. Focus on developing your skills and building a good work ethic. You never stop learning in this profession. Eventually you will have that moment where everything clicks; it comes at a different time for each us.

JW: There’s no singular career path, and you’re the greatest influence in shaping your career. You choose when it’s best to complete your academic degrees, and you choose where you will remain an employee. Understanding yourself will help you know where you should be.

RR: Determination is destiny. Don’t give up. Treat every day as an opportunity to learn and grow—not only just in accounting or your profession, but also in becoming a versatile individual, one who is kind, disciplined, honest, skillful and full of hope.

 

What are your hopes/goals for the CalCPA YEP Committee?

AR: The initiatives we’ve selected revolve around student engagement, events and firm/organization engagement. We want to get rid of the phrase “I’ve never heard of CalCPA.” Making connections with peers that are facing similar challenges, such as prepping for the CPA Exam, or figuring out their career path, is really an invaluable resource. We want to make sure that every person coming into our profession is aware of this resource, and if they become aware of it during college, even better.

JW: I hope the committee provides a space for YEPs to feel a part of a wonderful profession where their opinions and concerns are heard.

RR: We have determined initiatives in three areas:

  • Student engagement: To engage students early on, in high school and college, and provide tools for the development of their financial literacy.
  • Enhanced events: Focus events to be more intimate and personal to facilitate comradery and meaningful connections. Hold events on rebranding/reinventing.
  • Organizations engagement: Improve and diversify communication with local organizations and connect with YEPs to increase involvement and attendance; reach both private sector and firms in local areas. Develop enhanced on boarding plan for new members and YEPs—which includes having firm ambassadors, creating YEP development plans and offer help in YEP’s personal advancement.