The appeal of public accounting

MARK VENTURINI, AUDIT STAFF

 

When did you join Hood & Strong?

I joined in June 2020.

Which department do you work in and what type of clients do you work with?

I work in the audit department. I’ve worked solely with nonprofit clients so far, which include foundations, schools and unions.

How is your team currently structured?

Generally, my team includes one lead, which is either a senior or a supervisor, and then one partner. I report to my direct lead, the senior or supervisor, and I reach out to them with any questions and provide them with updates regarding my progress.

I am usually on engagements for a week or two, and the teams are always changing. For instance, sometimes there’s another associate like myself, or there might be an additional manager or director on the engagement. It always varies per client.

You’ve been with Hood & Strong for a few months now; what do you like so far about working at the firm?

Hood & Strong is a close-knit community, and it feels like there’s an open-door policy that comes with that. While my main line of communication is through my lead, just recently the partner on my current engagement contacted me and told me to feel free to reach out to them directly with any questions. It was nice to hear that and to have that extra support.

How is the firm is finding ways to keep people engaged and connected during COVID-19?

We recently had an all-hands meeting on Zoom, which was a great way to “see” everyone. The firm has been very proactive in providing us with updates about when we might return to in-office work, and how the firm is preparing for our eventual return to the office when it’s safe to do so. These frequent communications allow us to gain a greater level of comfort.

Another little fun thing – we had a virtual fantasy football draft for the firm. To have some fun and stay connected with everyone is nice.

Since everyone is working virtually, what was the onboarding process like when you joined?

The director of HR did the initial onboard via Zoom, walking me through all the HR processes and benefits. After that, various team members from the firm contacted me either via email, Teams or the phone, and just reached out to welcome me to the firm and introduce themselves.

There was also a series of trainings I did through an RSM website for CaseWare, the system we use for engagements, and then other general monitoring and accounting tech knowledge that they wanted me to buff up on before getting started. The entire onboarding process was virtual, but it was all very smooth and I feel like I was able to easily make the transition as a new Hood & Strong team member.

When you were first starting your accounting career, why did you choose public accounting over industry?

I chose public accounting over industry because I felt it would allow me to gain a breadth of experience in a whole array of industries and with various clients. I feel like that’s a great way to build a solid foundation for the future of my career. I chose audit in particular because I enjoy working with both numbers and people. I felt like audit would allow me to interact closely with both internal teams and clients, and be able to understand the processes of both my own firm and those of our clients.

Why would you recommend a career in public accounting to someone who is just starting out?
I think a career in public accounting allows you to find out what interests you the most since you get to work with so many different clients and industries. Public accounting is a good foundation and allows you to do a lot of different things in the future, whether that’s making a move to industry or staying with public accounting.

Is there anything that surprised you when you first started at Hood & Strong?

It didn’t necessarily surprise me, but just overall, I noticed the level of professionalism and personability, from everyone I was meeting. It feels like all the people I work with have the drive to do great things, and that inspires me to continue and improve.

From what you’ve experienced so far at the firm, what kind of opportunities does Hood & Strong offer team members to grow and explore their different career options?

Hood & Strong team members are always willing to assist and offer guidance to foster your growth and improvement. The firm offers financial assistance for those studying for and taking the CPA exam, and they encourage team members to pass it to further their careers. Additionally, Hood & Strong offers full tuition support if you want to get a master’s in accounting, and I believe they offer partial MBA tuition assistance.

What does success look like for you?

For me, success is setting goals and achieving them. I believe the key to doing that is consistency. So basically performing at your personal best every day. Even more so, just trying to get a little bit better, every single day.

What advice would you give someone who’s looking to advance their career at Hood & Strong?

I would advise anyone looking to advance their careers to ask questions and be willing to learn. I feel like the more you can absorb and improve, especially in the beginning of your career at Hood & Strong, the more of a foundation you’ll have to build upon going forward.