When Schellman & Co. Senior Manager Danny Manimbo decided to pursue accounting as a career, he also received some life-changing advice from one of his professors on the benefits of earning his CPA. Below, Danny shares advice with students considering their CPA in an article originally published on "This Way to CPA", a website targeted at college students considering a career in accounting.
Even if Danny Manimbo didn’t pursue a career in accounting, he’d still be happy with all the business knowledge he gained by earning his CPA credential.
“I decided to do accounting because I couldn’t sing or dance,” joked Danny Manimbo, Senior Manager at Schellman & Company, LLC.
When Danny first arrived at the University of Miami, he was an International Finance and Marketing major with a minor in Accounting. This changed when one of his professors convinced him to pursue accounting as a career. “My professor asked, ‘What are you doing with an accounting minor? You have the ability and skillset to be a CPA and do well at it.’ He convinced me that it would open more doors. I was fortunate enough to have good advice from him and the encouragement to go after it.”
“I graduated in 2009 during the recession when finding a job was tough, and it helped to have a degree in accounting.”
Danny quickly discovered that his professor was right - his accounting degree gave him an edge in the business world. “I graduated in 2009 during the recession when finding a job was tough, and it helped to have a degree in accounting.”
When it comes to taking the CPA Exam, Danny recommends scheduling your first test before studying as it’ll motivate you to get the ball rolling. From there, plan your study schedule, so you’re spending an adequate amount of time preparing for each topic leading up to the exam. If you need to cover four topics for the test, and it is four weeks away, commit yourself to study one topic each week. He also recommends doing something to prepare every single day and making the best use of your “free” time.
Danny says the biggest issue for a lot of people is losing motivation. “When you take the first exam, there are still three left. If you lose momentum, you start to fall off. You have to say no to a lot of social events, but the sacrifice is worth it. The exam is expensive, and you want to make the best use of your finances.”
When Danny officially passed everything, he was instantly relieved. He celebrated his success with his wife because she saw how much time and effort he put into it. “It was special to celebrate with her and any other friends who were in the same boat with taking the exam.”
Danny’s first job out of college was at a small bankruptcy firm doing forensic accounting. Eventually, he wanted additional training and experiences in his career, so he pursued a job at Grant Thornton, where he got exposed to the information technology (IT) field. He enjoyed the work and recognized a need, and shortly after that joined Schellman & Company, an organization that focuses on data security and data privacy audits serving clients in the IT field, where he’s been for the past six years.
“Partnership is the next step for me, career-wise. It’s a great company..."
Schellman was a 50-person company when he started, and now they’ve grown to 200 employees. “Partnership is the next step for me, career-wise. It’s a great company; I love being at a smaller organization. It’s an attractive atmosphere. We can do fun things that other bigger companies can’t do, like go on an annual retreat to Cancun. We’re also all virtual employees. I work from home, or I travel.”
Danny’s advice to students considering their CPA?
- “It’s a great idea to take the exam. It opens so many doors professionally; you meet so many people, you’re exposed to so much more. Just because you pursue CPA does not mean that you strictly pursue accounting as a career - there’s so much more than that. You can own your own business or work in any industry. From a personal finance perspective, having a CPA license will set you up for success. Even if I weren’t in accounting, I’d still be happy because of what I learned.”
- “Make sure that you’re staying on top of technology trends. While it won’t always directly impact your day-to-day, it’s still good to stay on top of it. Blockchain will eventually start to impact how we perform financial audits. Get exposed early and continue to learn.”
- “Take advantage of the online mentorship benefit provided to AICPA Student Members. Whether your linking with any level of experienced CPA, having the ability to connect with that person is great. I found mentors when I attended the University of Miami, and it helped me with the start of my career.”
Learn more about the AICPA Online Mentoring Program offered to AICPA Student Affiliate Members.
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