Bronco Spotlight: Paul Roosa
Private Company Services Assurance Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers
As an experienced associate, my job is to provide detail testing, expand digital upskilling, and own your development. There is a culture of real-time development where you are receiving developmental coaching in the moment. An experienced associate should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be able to identify the opportunities in which they'd like to grow. An experienced associate is also responsible for contributing to the development of those that are new to the firm. An experienced associate focuses on strengthening their technical accounting and auditing skills through the performance of detail testing. This testing occurs by reviewing financial statement transaction data, selecting a sample of transaction data to gather supporting documentation for those transactions. The experienced associate will prepare a 'workpaper' that will summarize the findings and submit them for review by the senior engagement team members. The leading financial statement line items where an experienced associate will perform testing are revenue, inventory, accruals, pensions, and journal entries. Formal training sessions and on the job training is a significant component of this role. A growing area of teaching and learning is the use of AI(artificial intelligence) and data analytics. The experienced associate is driving the change at the testing level. The new techniques, like sampling the whole population and tools, e.g. data wrangling software, data visualizations, and robotic process automation (RPA), are various forms this change is taking shape. This investment in digital upskilling is to provide efficiencies and higher quality work while preparing the accountant for the workforce of the future. All in line with the mission to build trust in society and solve important problems.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the work I do is knowing that users of the financial statements are relying on the work we do to make investment decisions. That all the small little details that come with an audit can build into a trusting relationship with the information that is asserted in the financial statements. The most challenging part of the job is trying to hit a moving target. The accounting and financial industry are always pushing forward and implementing new ideas. Regulation is reshaping how we work, laws are having us start over, and businesses are constantly evolving how they operate. While this is also exciting and beneficial for the future, it means no one audit is the same and the processes and techniques we've used one year become quickly obsolete. It is a constant and consistent knowledge journey.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
The resources that helped me prepare for my career were all the student organizations I joined. I was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Student Leadership Advisory Board and Delta Sigma Pi. While I learned a tremendous amount from my classes, academics tend to operate outside the practical world. The organization allowed me to take what I've learned in class and try new ideas out, see the results and iterate. Taking an exam and completing work is crucial but being able to work in a team on a difficult problem will bring you more success after college. For example, in Delta Sigma Pi I was looking to implement a new communication platform, Slack. I worked with our head of technology to run a pilot program with the executive board over summer. With some push back, we discussed the pros and cons and decided to do a trial run with the whole organization at the start of the semester. The trial run included a campaign to educate and inform which lead to the full adoption of slack a month later. It is still fully embraced today by the organization over two years later.
What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college?
To pursue a career like mine while in school, make sure you earn enough applicable credits, 150, to test for and obtain your Certified Public Accountant license. Refer to the state board of accountancy's licensing requirements for the state you would like to be licensed in. Also, look for the leadership events the firms hold every year. Be inviting to these events allows you to network outside of the classroom, making yourself known early in the recruitment process. These events can lead to internships, which can lead to full-time offers. PwC holds an event 'Elevate' where you can meet the firm and the people who work here. Look on Handshake and the firm's website for specific details.