Brown Edward’s Office Visit for Accounting Majors

By William Masselli ~ Editor in Chief

Dr. Francis H. Bush is chair of the University of Lynchburg’s Accounting Department and was in charge of organizing the Brown Edward’s Office Visit. Photo retrieved from H. Francis Bush, PhD, CPA – University of Lynchburg on Oct. 31, 2021. 

The University of Lynchburg’s Accounting Department scheduled an office visit with Brown Edwards to give its students a chance to see accounting concepts occurring in action. 

Madeline Corbett, a double major in business and accounting, talked about the benefits of students attending this visit, stating, “Before the Brown Edwards’ visit, I mainly looked at accounting mostly through books, but this gave me an opportunity to view accounting happening in the real world.” 

Kevin Arrington, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Lynchburg, said, “Brown Edwards (BE) is one of the largest regional accounting firms in the Lynchburg area, and a visit to BE offers students the opportunity to see the workplace and, most importantly, ask questions to the staff accountants and managers/partners. Public accounting is a desirable first job for accounting graduates, and conversations at site visits can lead to internship and/or employment opportunities.”

Arrington continued, “As accounting faculty, we always hope for a good turnout for workplace visits. I often tell students that choices about their initial career paths should begin long before their last year at university, and conversations with professionals in students’ areas of interest are valuable, especially if students get to speak with UL alumni.” 

Arrington concluded by saying that students should view this opportunity as “an opportunity to ask good questions of current professionals and also as a first step for an internship.”

Dr. Francis H. Bush, chair of the accounting department and organizer of the office visit, talked about the three advantages that accounting majors obtained by attending this office visit, stating, “First, most students do not have an opportunity to gain any significant insight into the nature of the tasks of the professionals. Classroom education generally provides the tools and skills of the profession.  Without on the ground experience, students do not have the opportunity to test their skills.  It would be like using a simulation to understand how to swing a bat or golf club.  Until you actually get in the game on the field or on the course do you understand how to apply your tools and skills.”

Bush continued, “Second, the accounting profession does not enjoy a high level of visibility.  Perhaps, unfortunately, the major awareness of the accounting profession occurs after a major business failure such as Enron.  The associates took time to explain and share their work experiences and answer questions regarding individual concerns.  A unique feature of BrownEdward is its willingness to work to develop an associate and to integrate the associate’s skills and need, such as an eighty percent employment contract.  Students were told about additional skills, such as marketing, communication, and psychology that would enhance their performance on the job.  Being an accountant is not like going to class, but it requires one to be thoroughly competent in the skills and tools of the profession.” 

Bush concluded, “Third, participating in office visits with potential employers provides students advantages.  Some of the topics discussed included how to apply for a position, what is important in the interview process, and how expectations are integrated into the associates’ tasks and responsibilities.”

As the department’s accounting students leave the real world and re-enter the classroom, Bush shared a message to all accounting students at the University of Lynchburg, stating, “The horse goes before the cart.  Education is the horse.  Education provides the necessary skills and tools to start one’s professional career (including the ability to learn).  Education, like the horse, is required for success.  Professional activities are the cart.  They allow one to perform and provide services – in the case of accounting, financial and operational information for decision-making.  Without the cart, the horse can only transport a smaller amount of goods or individuals.” 

If you are interested in attending an office visit in the field of accounting or any other field you may be majoring in, contact the Career and Professionalism Center at Careerandprofessionalismcentergg@lynchburg.edu

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