Accounting Interview: Tips on the Field from Steven Harrast

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For this assignment, I have chosen to interview Steven Harrast to write an article on the field of accounting. The articles purpose is to help students gain insight in career path choices, educational preparations available and what is new in the accounting frontier. An article such as this one could perhaps be found in Student Accountant magazine. Crystal Psaris

ENG 201-Assignment 1
2/1/2013
Professor Jeremiah

Accounting: Tips on the field from Steven Harrast
Introduction
On January 24th 2013 I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Steven Harrast. The interview took place in his office at the Business Administration Building of Central Michigan University, which is in Grawn Hall. The main focus of the interview was to gain a better understanding of the accounting field. I had chosen Harrast for his input on the accounting field because of the multiple credentials he has. Harrast graduated with an accounting degree from Brigham Young University, in Utah. Brigham Young accounting program is ranked in the top three among university accounting program nation wide. Afterwards, Harrast received a PhD at the University of Memphis. Not limited to his education, Harrast has also published many journals, articles, teaching material supplements, and conference proceedings all in which are associated with accounting. Currently, Harrast is still very active in the accounting field due to the fact that he is a professor teaching accounting at the 300 level. I believe Harrast was a good candidate for this interview because of his extensive background in the accounting field and I trust he will be able to share an ample amount of useful information in the accounting field. Harrast was also a former professor of mine, where I was lucky enough to witness first hand his intelligence in the subject of accounting. From Harrasts interview, information on the field of accounting will help students gain insight in career path choices, educational preparations available and what’s new in the accounting frontier.

Defining Accounting Careers
The American Accounting Association defines accounting as, "the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgments and decisions by users of the information"(4). In the interview, Harrast explains that one of the benefits he has gained from being an accountant is that there are many possible career paths. A few examples of the career paths are a public accountant, taxation, and education.

Public accounting “involves accountability - public accountants are a great example of professionals who are accountable to multiple audiences, often with competing or conflicting agendas” (Cox 95). In public accounting, managers are also concerned with work quality but also efficiency. Taxation accounting involves understanding federal and government tax rules and regulations to report for wide spread of circumstance including individual incomes taxes to billion dollar corporations taxes. U.S. News & World Report cited “tax accounting as one of the top 20 careers with plenty of future growth potential”(2). Tax accounting is considered on the “HOT” track for careers according to Howard Kutcher in the CPA Journal. Education as a professor is also an option, which is overlooked by many students. To become a professor most universities require a doctorate degree in accounting. According to John Thornton, “There are three primary responsibilities that accompany most accounting faculty positions. These responsibilities are teaching, research, and service to the community” (Thornton 26).

Preparing for the Career
What Courses could students could take that would be especially beneficial for accounting majors? Harrast made a big emphasis on understanding SAP. The abbreviation stands for Systems, Applications, and Products in data processing. SAP is on of the worlds most sophisticated software products used for financial processing and...
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