Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop (ASLW), an annual conference funded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Foundation. The conference was located in Denver, Colorado, and held on May 15-17. Its main purpose is to educate, promote, and encourage minorities to achieve the CPA designation by hosting various presentations from experts in the accounting field and networking opportunities with mentors.
The seminars covered a wide array of topics, including an overview of the CPA exam, the importance of diversity in the workplace, and the ever-changing nature of accounting. Contrary to popular belief, the profession is not static. This conference provided further proof that the accounting profession is composed of a vibrant community of passionate individuals and leaders, inspiring the next generation of students to succeed in the classroom and the workplace.
For many of my peers, the ASLW was a reaffirmation of their decision to pursue a career in accounting. Aundrea from Alabama A&M felt a stamp of approval from practicing CPAs, which gave her confidence in her decisions and motivation to strive for her goals. Farely from New York walked away with a deeper understanding of the value of our profession. Julian from Arizona State University took a special joy in networking and formed strong bonds with both professionals and other students. He is one of many taking the first leap forward in securing the future of accounting, a future that is bright and ready for change.
The most important takeaway for me was the sense of community that we managed to build in just three days. The journey to achieve the CPA designation is a long one, and hearing the stories of professionals who not just survived, but thrived, has renewed my own motivation and passion to achieve success. Meeting peers that are currently experiencing similar challenges, whether it is trouble with a particular CPA exam section or the stress of choosing the right specialization, made me realize that I am not undertaking this journey alone. There are individuals everywhere, from all walks of life, taking the path that I’m on right now. We can draw strength from each other to overcome any hurdles that come our way. I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to learn so much from this amazing ASLW experience and look forward to applying the knowledge I’ve gained in my career!
Richard Herrera is a two-time Washington CPA Foundation Scholarship winner attending the University of Washington as a senior. He is the recipient of the Clark Nuber Accounting Scholarship for 2019. Richard is currently employed as a Junior Associate with The Myers Associates, P.C located in Seattle.