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Accounting Alums Give Students Career Tips

Financial Professionals Share Industry Trends at Forum

Illustration by Ferney Lopez

By Jill Gambon

Speaking to more than 100 Manning School of Business students, Robert Busch, a partner at public accounting firm Moody, Famigletti & Andronico showed his business card to the crowd and asked if they noticed anything unusual. 

“There’s no title on it,” was the response.

The reason, Busch explained, is that his Tewksbury-based firm works as a team, unbound by the strictures of hierarchy.

“We are a flat organization. That makes us unique,” he said.

The structure, size and culture of an organization are some of the things students will have to consider as they enter the workforce. At small firms, for instance, new accountants get to work on all aspects of their clients’ business, while those joining global accounting firms are more likely to have Fortune 500 clients but play a narrower role, Busch said.

Busch, 1993 accounting graduate, was a guest speaker at the Accounting Forum, an event where students learn about career options from accounting professionals.  It was sponsored by the Accounting Department.

“The Accounting Forum's goal is to help students understand the opportunities in the field.  It is also a chance to network with firms that represent both public accounting and industry,” said Lisa Andrusaitis, an instructor in the Accounting Department.

Busch answered students’ questions about the amount of travel involved in his job, his expectations for new hires and whether it’s best to take the CPA exam right after graduating or put it off while getting work experience. 

“Get the monkey off your back and get the CPA exam done right away,” Busch advised.

Busch was joined by his colleague Brian Lesniak, a senior auditor at the firm who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMass Lowell in 2009 and an MBA in 2012. 

Matthew Finn, chief financial officer at Bradford Networks, urged students to track trends in industries in which they are interested. Finn earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMass Lowell in 1997 and got a job with Ernst & Young working with numerous technology start-ups. He joined Bradford Networks in 2006 and now oversees such departments as marketing, sales and information technology for the venture-backed developer of network security technology.

The job market for accounting graduates is healthy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Both Busch and Finn said that a key growth area in the accounting profession is in revenue recognition, or determining the conditions under which income can be considered revenue. Demand for revenue recognition skills is especially strong in the software and cloud computing industries, they said.

“Revenue recognition is a hot topic right now. There are a lot of jobs in this area that you didn’t see 10 years ago,” said Finn, who is currently enrolled in the Manning School’s online MBA program.  

“Revenue recognition is a good career choice because not many people can do it,” said Busch. 

Both Finn and Busch told the students that UMass Lowell prepared them well for the job market.  

“You are in the right spot,” said Finn. “You are building your foundation.”