Career Series No. 1- Career In Accounting

Career Series No 1 Accountant Ally Fiesta

Hi guys! I’m so excited to publish the very first post in my new Gen Y Girl Career Series. Each post in this series will highlight a particular career field in an effort to gain some insight into what that job entails. Hopefully the series will help expose people to new job fields they never knew existed, and who knows…maybe someone who’s dead-set on one particular job will be like, ehhh…no thanks, not for me…after reading a firsthand account of that career.

So welcome to my first guest, Ally Fiesta.

What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?    

I always wanted to work in an office after watching a movie called Working Girl. I wanted to wear a suit, have a corner office, have a career, and have my own income.

What’s your current job?                    

Staff accountant. I started off as a receptionist, then did accounts payable, then payroll, then became an office manager for a small company, then a financial consultant then a general ledger bookkeeper THEN a staff accountant.

How did you land that position?                              

My parents owned an environmental company so I started off at their company helping the company’s Comptroller, and assisting all CPAs with audits.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Accounting has a monthly cycle, as a staff accountant. At the beginning of the month, I reconcile bank accounts. Then I review all expenses to make sure all monthly bills are paid per the pre-approved budget. Then I create financial statements. The rest of the time, I have different roles depending on what industry I’m in, like sales tax or vendor statement reconciliation- basically, any activity I can assist with to ensure that money isn’t being wasted.

What do you love most about it?              

I love the schedule. I know when I can go on vacation and I know when to expect paperwork. I like knowing my deadlines and being able to pinpoint accounting errors.

What do you hate most about it? 

I can only go so far in this career field without a college degree. I need to get more college hours to get my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, so that I can make money (even though I already know the process). This license is the key to owning your own accounting business.

What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work?

I worked for an entertainment company and it was awesome because we would have monthly patio parties, and we would host contests. I won a MacBook Air once! The type of company I worked for really helped make my actual work pleasant. This entertainment company had a fun attitude, and because of that, it was hard for me to leave them. But I did want a promotion, and their policy required a 4-year degree for me to move up, so I left after 5 years.

What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job? 

You definitely have to be detailed oriented, have strong math skills, and have a great memory (to memorize tons of accounting laws). You also have to know how to build rapport with others. I work with clients who are trusting me with their financial information, so building rapport with them is important. You also have to be skilled in Excel spreadsheets.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career? 

Do internships! Every summer I would spend at least a whole month working for a CPA, and this helped me learn the vocabulary and the Excel skills that I needed. I took Excel in both high school and college, but NONE of those classes covered what accountants really do with those spreadsheets. Being an intern really gave me the edge that I needed. Even though I didn’t have a 4-year degree, companies really wanted me because of the experience I had.

Ally’s now transitioning into a full-time blogger. To hear her story, keep reading…

My decision to transition into a full-time blogger was made after 10 years of blogging. I’ve owned HydroSupraLicked.com for 11 years. I started off interviewing musicians (mostly DJs), but now the site’s evolved into a lifestyle blog where I promote music, dance, and beauty- the really beautiful things in life.

I never thought I could make any money from this. Definitely not the amount of money I could make as an accountant. However, I’m currently a Director of Community for atriumobscurum.com. I also work helping other crews in Dallas with their social media accounts focusing on engagement and event ticket sales. I’ve also done street promotions for multiple crews since 2002. As a Director of Community, I’m the first person that contacts anyone interested in events, and I answer all questions via the site’s social media accounts. I also curate images, music links, and any contests that we may be hosting. I also reach out to artists to set up interviews/any other types of promotional opportunities for upcoming events.

In addition to all of that, I’m also a photographer. In the beginning, I had a hard time deciding how to charge for my services, and it also took me a while to understand how social media works. Over the past 5 years, I’ve read multiple books about social media marketing. I’ve taken courses online,  listened to podcasts (huge shout out to SmartPassive Income and AskPat), and I’m currently taking a course called Become a Freelance Social Media Manager from udemy.com.

Promoting events has been my part-time hobby since 1999. I love music, but I was alway too scared to lose my income. Now that I understand the world of blogging a bit better, and have made some key connections in the industry, I now have the ability to make the move. I love that I won’t have to be tied to a single location and that I won’t have to clock in and out of an office every day 🙂

I hope to read about other people’s jobs in the upcoming weeks. I’ll be traveling in South America for two months this summer to document some of their best travel spots, so it’ll be nice to read about what others are doing!

Ally Fiesta

Connect with Ally on any of her social media accounts:

Thanks for checking out Week #1 of my new Career Series. If any of you would like to participate, fill out the contact form HERE and let me know why you’d like to be a part of this adventure!

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51 Comments

  1. kristen

    April 20, 2015 at 10:00 am

    What a cool series idea! I love this! I wish this would have been around when I was younger and trying to figure out life!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Thanks, Kristen!! I just figured that one of the best ways to figure out if you might like a certain job is probably to hear about that job first-hand from someone who’s actually doing it. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you’ll swing by next Monday for post #2! Have a great week!

  2. Cori

    April 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

    i love this idea for a new series! I think my favorite part of this job would be the schedule and monthly flow.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Thanks, Cori! Right?? Gotta love flexible schedules!! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!! Have a great week 🙂

  3. Ashleigh

    April 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    This is a great series, thank you for sharing. I will pass along to those I know will benefit from it!!

  4. Cheyenne

    April 20, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Brooke @ Silver LIning

    April 20, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    What a fun series! I’d love to do something like this!

  6. Lauren

    April 20, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This is a great series!! I loved getting to know what accountants do 🙂 If you ever need a career profile for a community manager, let me know!

  7. Ally

    April 20, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    That’s awesome you liked to Excel for dummies but seriously, that would be a great book to start off learning. Thank you again and loving your site!

  8. Angie

    April 20, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    This is a great series! It was interesting to hear her say strong memorization skills. It makes sense, but I never thought of that with accounting!

  9. Sheryl

    April 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Great series. It is so cool to hear how and why people chose their particular professions.

  10. Chelsea

    April 21, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Love this career series so much!!! I can’t wait to see what the other posts will entail. It’s interesting to read about how people transitioned into blogging!!

  11. Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books

    April 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

    This series is perfect, Kayla! Lots of valuable insight although I’m not an accountant myself.

    Looking forward to seeing the next instalments from this series – I would personally love to see something on the marketing/advertising industry. 🙂

    Brilliant stuff, Kayla! 😀

  12. Megan

    April 21, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Love your new blog series idea, looking forward to following along 🙂

  13. Marissa

    April 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Great read! Looks like an awesome series:)

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  20. Tim

    May 26, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    This is interesting to me because I started my career as an accountant and took an extremely different career path and had a completely different experience.

    I graduated with an MBA in accounting and got a job as a “staff accountant” right out of school and became a senior not long after. Although what is described here as a staff accountant and what my position was couldn’t be more different. I was a staff accountant at a public accounting firm, which meant that I worked on the audit team for private and publicly traded companies. There was no monthly cycle, just yearly. The cycle went as follows:

    January through March were 70-80 hour work weeks, with little break as the firm had to service 90% of there clients in that time frame to meet regulatory deadlines. Since I wasn’t in the tax department, my busy season ended in mid March (although many people would have you believe it ends April 15th).

    The last two weeks of April are basically dead time, go on vacation. The summer is spent acquiring new clients and preparing your workbooks for the next busy season. There are also a few fiscal year end audits thrown in as well (clients with year end of June 30).

    The fall is spent doing interim work, which is essentially client setup, engagement letters, compliance, etc. as well as “mini audits” where you essentially audit the first 9 months of the companies operations for that year. It helps you recognize any issues that might arise for your clients, as well as makes your testing during busy season a lot less cumbersome (your only auditing October through December in crunch time instead of the entire audit, this saves time and money and increases efficiency).

    To do this kind of work you have to be extremely organized, be able to research, cite and defend your position within FASB codification standards. Client relations are huge because they are trusting you with sensitive information. There are continuing education requirements that must be fulfilled every year (a lot of this is done over the summer when there is relative downtime).

    It’s an extremely tedious job, and the annual cycles get repetitive after awhile.

    Would I do it again? Probably, I got to see the complete inner workings of more companies in three years than you could ever dream of seeing in any other profession. It provides a unique perspective, insights into best practices and a network of extremely intelligent people. Like the saying goes, “you want to see what a company is about, look at how they spend their money”. That being said, it’s an extremely miserable job and there’s an very high turnover rate for a reason.

    …… Anyway, my point is this, taking advice about your career from others is good, but get a variety of opinions. If you base your decisions on one persons advice your are narrowing your focus and setting yourself up for failure. What this poster described would’ve made me never choose accounting as a profession. However, what I just described would probably make this poster have never chosen accounting. It’s a matter of preference, but understand that “accounting” is WAY more than just what I described or what the original poster described. Talk to a tax accountant, he’ll have a different story, talk to people in big firms, small firms, private companies, government, etc. If you think accounting (or any job for that matter) might be for you, do this research, it will pay off in the long run. Would you rather spend a few weeks doing research only to discover that a job isn’t for you, or would you rather spend years going through school and training to come to the same conclusion?

    I like the premise behind this series, but single blog posts are not going to give you the juicy details you need to make a real educated decision, although it is a good start.

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