BA Professional Accounting and Mathematics, 2002
Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska
Master of Professional Accountancy, 2003
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
International Accounting Standards Board
'Oh, so you're both good with numbers!' I'm an accountant and my twin sister is a math teacher and I can't tell you how many times I've heard that statement. Although the comment considerably understates the nature, diversity, and complexity of both accounting and mathematics, there is some truth behind it. The skill set that I developed in my math degree has been extremely useful as I have pursued a career as an accountant.
In my role as a project manager at the International Accounting Standards Board, I spend the majority of my time researching complex accounting issues and writing papers with my related analyses and proposed solutions. Without even realizing it, I find myself applying the same approach to my work as I would to a mathematical proof - laying out all of the known relevant information, fitting it together in a logical order, and ending up with an understandable solution to a complex problem.
My mathematical background also has been useful in studying academic research related to accounting. While I have seen some people's eyes glaze over when they flip through the pages of statistical analyses, I am able to approach the research with confidence and with a passion for understanding the mathematical tests performed as well as the accounting implications. My mathematical background has given me a great foundation should I decide to pursue a PhD in accounting.
I would highly recommend a math degree (or a double-major in math and another field) to anyone who is considering a career that requires problem-solving and logic skills. I came really close to not majoring in math. In fact, my first week of college I was so convinced that I wasn't going to pursue a math degree that I dropped out of Calculus III. However, thanks to the persistence of one of my math professors, I signed up for the course again the next year and the rest is history. Even though it was extremely challenging and I had to take summer classes in order to graduate in four years, it is a decision that I have never regretted.