I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and did not intend to become a CPA. None of my jobs has required the license, and I have never done individual tax returns or auditing.
My first job was as a settlement accountant with a regional bank. I made sure the right amount of money was transferred from Visa/MC and smaller credit card associations to the merchants who had accepted credit card payments. I later supervised all of the accountants who worked with multiple portfolios.
I then worked at two small companies as an Accounting Supervisor who managed Payables, Receivables, Purchasing, Payroll, Corporate Tax, Benefits, Fixed Assets, Inventory, and Cash Flow. At a large company, each of these functions would be a separate department staffed by multiple accountants. It was a good way to get a broad range of experience in a short timeframe.
After gaining about five years of work experience, I was hired as an Analyst in a very large company's Finance department and began handling Accounts Payable Close. This involves setting up automated journal entry processes in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. I also performed a lot of account reconciliations in that position. At this point, I began a four-year part-time MBA program, with night and weekend classes. My course of study was Finance/Accounting and General & Strategic Management.
Two years later, I was promoted to Senior Analyst and began to handle Unclaimed Property reporting, define new processes and participate in an ERP implementation. This involved cross-functional project management, working directly with the public and government agencies, and researching legal regulations. During this time, I graduated from business school and subsequently studied for and passed the CPA exam.
After five years as a Senior Analyst working with Accounts Payable, I became a Finance Consultant to the Customer Service department. This position exposed me to Operations, vendor management, building business cases, and creating/managing a large, complex budget.