Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

When I take my students to places like Thailand and Singapore, they have to leave their American conventions behind. They see what a great impact culture has on the way business is done. You can read about what it's like, but the look on people's faces when they realize they're in a foreign country is amazing.

I'm the first person in my Latino family to go to college--that includes aunts, uncles and cousins. My uncle got me interested in accounting. He said his tax accountant charged him $50 for 30 minutes of work. I did the math and figured that sounded like a good living. At first, I didn't understand the opportunities the certification created or the lifestyle it would afford me. I had a misconception that CPAs were bookkeepers and did tax returns.

My classmates opened up a new world to me--auditors tend to have great people skills, so they were all very bright and very diverse. They exposed me to so many new things--going out to nice restaurants and plays and traveling. Before I started working, the farthest I had been out of L.A: was Las Vegas. While working, I routinely took one or two months of vacation each summer and traveled across the United States, Mexico and Europe.

As an auditor, I was exposed to a variety of businesses with different management styles and people. I began supervising audits at the age of 23. It was a great experience. I worked with a group of bright, highly motivated and very social people. They opened up a new world to me. But computers were changing the business landscape and I wanted to know more about them, so I decided to pursue my MBA at the University of Southern California. I taught at a local community college to earn a little spending money. During my second year, a professor at USC had a family emergency and had to go on leave. One of my professors recommended me, and I was hired to teach two accounting courses. And I've been at USC ever since--for 21 years.

I also do forensic accounting/ expert witness work. …

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