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Celebrating the Teachers Behind the Accountants

World Teachers' Day

Every year on October 5, people come together to celebrate World Teachers’ Day and the powerful difference teachers make. There are many accountants across the globe who wouldn’t be in the positions they’re in now without the influence of a teacher.

To celebrate, we put out a call for responses on social media asking how a teacher impacted a decision to pursue accounting. Here’s what we heard:

Lori Liddell, CPA, ABV, CFE

“To encourage us to stay motivated on our journey to becoming CPAs, Professor Virgil Carr would end his morning greeting by saying, ‘But once you pass that exam, you be sure to let me know and I will greet you as, ‘my fellow accountant’ and will even buy you lunch.’ Telling Professor Carr I had passed the exam and was officially an “accountant” is one of my fondest memories. Although he passed away in 2011 before I ever had the opportunity to take him up on that lunch he owed me, I work each day to make sure others also know the importance of becoming CPAs as well—just as he taught me. So today, on World Teachers’ Day, I salute you, Professor Virgil Carr, and all the other teachers who are encouraging would-be CPAs to continue to the end goal of becoming CPAs.”

Tatiana Tsoir, CPA, MBA

“I've always been fortunate with teachers I encountered, and I can say with confidence that a real teacher doesn’t just teach, he/she inspires. I was inspired to be the accountant I am today at Hunter College, by Stephani Mason and Avi Liveson. And now I'm back at Hunter, teaching Tax and hoping to do the same for others.”

John Bratton Fennell, CPA, CGMA

Professor John Herin at the University of South Carolina helped me have confidence that I had a real talent to be a CPA. That helped me have the confidence to take the CPA exam at 21 and pass most of it at that time without really studying specifically for the exam. Once I was eligible, I sat for it. I passed law and auditing upon my second sitting when I started graduate school. Confidence has so much to do with how well you do in life.”

Debbie Callaghan, CPA

“My very first class of my college career (business major) was Introduction to Accounting. My professor, Alan Cohen, was the antithesis of a boring accountant. He was full of energy, bouncing around the room as he taught. He opened my eyes to a whole new world. I soon added accounting as a second major and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ithaca College in 1986. Thanks in part to his tutelage senior year, I went on to pass ’the exam‘ the same month I graduated!”

Marylee Evangelista, CPA

“I was only allowed one elective in high school and that was in my senior year. As luck would have it, there were only two choices that would fit into my academic schedule, sewing or accounting. I asked my father what accounting was, and he told me they would teach me how to balance my checkbook. I didn't care for sewing, so I went with accounting. My teacher, Ernie Vajda, helped me see how interesting this field could be. I decided soon after starting his class to make this my major in college! As they say, ’the rest is history.’ I have been in public practice since graduating college and have been a partner in a CPA firm since I was 31.”

The AICPA Academic and Student Engagement team develops programs to help students and influencers understand the value of CPA licensure and explore the opportunities within the accounting profession. The team supports high school accounting teachers through Start Here, Go Places, by providing them with engaging content, classroom activities and professional development content. Learn more online here.

Liz Rock, Associate Manager – Enterprise Social Media, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Flowers courtesy of Shutterstock


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