Scott Polczynski is a Master of Accountancy student in the class of 2015 at Southern Illinois University. His focus during the course of his studies is in Auditing and Information Systems. Prior to his Masters, Scott earned his bachelor's in accounting from SIU as well graduating in 2014. We recently caught up with him to discuss all things SIU Accounting and inquire about what his plans are for the future. Here's the interview:
What influenced you to pursue a major/career in accounting?
I first became interested in accounting as a junior in high school. That is when I took my first accounting class, and I realized accounting was what I wanted to do for a career. Not only did the concepts make sense to me, but having a degree in accounting offers so many benefits. There is job security, it is an ever-growing field, and it provides flexibility. å
Why should other students major in accounting?
I believe other students should major in accounting because of everything it can offer. Accounting is the language of business. With a fundamental knowledge of accounting, anything is possible. There are so many careers to choose from such as public accounting, industry accounting, internal auditing, forensic accounting, and so much more. The possibilities are endless with a degree in accounting.
What has your experience in accounting been like at Southern Illinois University?
Coming to Southern Illinois University and majoring in accounting has been the best choice that I have ever made. As an accounting student, I have been able to take advantage of several different opportunities. I have served as the President of the Accounting Society, the Vice-President of Beta Alpha, the Student Ambassador for the Illinois CPA Society, and the Graduate Assistant in the Business Placement Center. However, my best experience while here at SIU has been the opportunity to be the Student Coordinator for the SIU Accounting Challenge. The Accounting Challenge is an annual event where approximately 300 local high school and community college students come to campus to learn about the accounting program at SIU, take an accounting exam for the chance to earn scholarships, and participate in team building activities. I participated in the Accounting Challenge as a high school student, and it was a contributing factor to my decision to attend SIU. Being the Student Coordinator for the past four years has truly been an amazing experience because I get to see firsthand the effect that it has on the SIU community.
Have you participated in any internships? If so, how many and how were they?
Since starting college, I have had an internship every summer. My first internship was with Delta Companies, Inc. in Cape Girardeau, MO. Delta Companies is a leader within infrastructure construction and maintenance. This was my first true taste of accounting, and it gave me valuable real-life experience that I’ve been able to utilize as an accounting student. As an intern, I helped with processing monthly financial statements and working on specific projects for the CFO relating to company spending, expenses, and revenues.
My second internship was with Advanced Technology Services, Inc. in Peoria, IL. (ATS) improves productivity and profitability for many of the world's most respected manufacturers through a portfolio of services of production equipment maintenance, industrial parts services and innovative IT solutions. As an accounting intern, I was able to build upon the knowledge that I obtained from my first internship. I was heavily involved in the day to day functions within accounting such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and analysis.
My third and final internship was with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in St. Louis, MO as an assurance intern. This internship was completely different than my previous two internships. I was able to learn about auditing and the world of public accounting through conducting cash receipts testing, control walkthroughs, and several other procedures. I was engaged on six different clients throughout a time span of seven weeks.
Interesting fact you have learned about accounting?
The most interesting fact that I have learned about accounting is that it is always changing. I am always learning something new whether it is through class, working, or research. The constant learning makes sure that I am always prepared and on my toes.
What are your future career plans and aspirations?
Upon the completion of my internship with PwC, I accepted a full-time offer as an assurance associate starting in the fall of 2015 after I graduate with my Masters of Accountancy in May 2015. I am extremely excited to begin my career at such an amazing firm. I am currently studying for the CPA exam, and I plan to have it completed by May of 2015 as well.
Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to stress the importance of getting involved to not only accounting students, but any college student in general. Student organizations are a great way to get involved and learn more about your chosen field. Not to mention, it makes you stand out! I have taken advantage of several opportunities to get involved within the School of Accountancy and the College of Business, and I feel that I have made the most out of my college experience. Seize any opportunity that presents itself, work hard, have fun, and you will be successful!