Four members of the Center for the Public Trust Student Chapters joined CPT President Alfonzo Alexander to give Regional Meeting attendees some insights into what students in “Generation Z” (the demographic group born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, which now composes 25 percent of the U.S. population) think about entering the accounting profession.

“How do you learn?” Mr. Alexander asked the candidates:

“I like more traditional learning. You learn better in the classroom,” replied Dakota Cannoy of Marshall University, in Huntington, WV.

“I prefer hardcopy textbooks with an electronic addition to my study habits. On-line courses are not very friendly for asking a lot of questions,” MaKayleigh Lackey of Lipscomb University, in Nashville, TN, responded.

“I do not like on-line courses. I know they can be beneficial for those students without time, but you can learn from peers’ asking questions,” Fernando Cervantes Alatorre of the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, UT, stated.

“I am taking two on-line courses this summer because no face-to-face were offered. You have to be extremely motivated to take a course on-line,” Amber Elston of East Central University, in Ada, OK, observed.

Asked about public accounting as a future career, two of the four students said they had heard public accounting “really burns you out.” Mr. Alexander also asked about their expectations related to technology. Ms. Lackey reported her school is now requiring all business majors to take data analytics. Mr. Cannoy said technology is available in on-line courses.

Mr. Alexander asked if the students could recommend a way to encourage their peers to become interested in a career in accounting. “Professors and conferences,” Mr. Cervantes replied, “I think they can make a change in what you are studying in college. They can transfer their passion to you.” Ms. Elston reported that she did not know what accounting was when she started college. “My professor told me that anything I could do with a business degree, I could do with an accounting degree – but not visa versa,” she recalled. Ms. Lackey and Mr. Cannoy both recommended having representatives of the profession participate in conferences for high school students. Ms. Lackey recalled seeing KPMG at a conference she attended.

The CPT now has more than 40 Student Chapters across the country. Its Student CPT Leadership Conference was held in Washington, DC, in June, in conjunction with NASBA’s Eastern Regional Meeting. Sixty-one students were in attendance.

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