Contributors to the Washington CPA Foundation make a difference in the lives of future CPAs. Read stories of people who were able to pursue their dream of becoming a CPA because of the Foundation's scholarship program.

The Joy of Giving Back

by Jessica Andrews, CPA | Nov 18, 2013

“What a way to end the day,” I thought as I sat in the back seat of my friend Stevie’s Honda.  He was giving me a ride home since my car had been towed.  I had spent a fun evening with my friends at a house party in Seattle’s U District.  I had not been able to find a parking spot earlier in the evening, so I decided to risk it by parking in a church lot.  Of course, that backfired and now I had to figure out how I was going to deal with this mess and still make it to my Accounting exam the next day.

Walking up the steps to my home, I waved thanks to Stevie.  I was annoyed and ready for bed as I picked up the mail left for me on the counter. But my mood quickly changed.  I had received a letter from the WSCPA.  “Congratulations, you have been awarded a $2,000 scholarship!”   A huge wave of relief crashed over me.  So excited, I woke up my roommates as I exclaimed, “I got it!  I got the scholarship!”   Two thousand dollars was a big deal!

I was a busy girl at the University of Washington.  While trying to ace my classes, I worked a part-time job, served as the president of Beta Alpha Psi and also as the student member of the UW's Accounting Development Board.  This award not only helped financially, but I also felt like I had supporters in the accounting profession cheering me on to do well and become a part of their professional community.   I was headed into my graduate year at the University of Washington and the money could not have come at a better time.  I was so grateful.

That was 2003.  Since then, I graduated cum laude with my Bachelor of Arts and Master's in Professional Accounting from the University of Washington; I passed the CPA exam in 2005.  Upon graduation, Ernst & Young selected me as one of four first year accountants in the nation to participate in the National Assurance Professional Practice at the headquarters in New York City.   That was one of the best years of my life.  But Washington was home and I knew I wanted to have a career in Seattle.  So, I moved back to Seattle with EY.  Currently, I work as a Senior Financial Analyst in Seattle for a high net worth family business where I manage estate planning and the family financial education.  I am also a member of the Washington Society of CPAs.

After settling into my career, I wanted to give back.  So, two years ago, I reached out to the WSCPA to ask them how I could help other accounting students become CPAs.  The WSCPA invited me to be on the scholarship selection board, where I get to read through scholarship applications and help choose 20 deserving recipients each year.  Last year, I was also nominated to serve as Trustee for the Washington CPA Foundation.  The Washington CPA Foundation is working to address three needs:  1) making accounting professions a reality for students across Washington State, 2) solving the national accounting PhD shortage, and 3) addressing our state’s financial literacy challenges.  It has been a privilege to give both my time and money to a foundation that gave so generously to me.

I know what it’s like to feel supported by those in the accounting profession while you are trying to succeed through school and achieve a CPA license.  In response, I am committed to continue to give back.  But it’s funny how I still feel like I am getting something out of this deal.  I get the joy of knowing I am making a big difference in some very well deserving accounting students’ lives.  And that’s just cool.

Jessica is a recipient of a Washington CPA Foundation scholarship. Please consider supporting the education of future CPAs by contributing to the Foundation today.

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