Become A CPA

Become A CPA

The Joy of Giving Back

by Jessica Andrews, CPA | Nov 14, 2013
"Congratulations, you have been awarded a $2,000 scholarship!" A huge wave of relief crashed over me. As a senior in college, two thousand dollars was a big deal! 

I was a busy girl at the University of Washington. While trying to ace my classes, I sold wedding dresses for a part-time job, served as the president of Beta Alpha Psi and as the student member of the UW's Accounting Development, and still managed to have a social life. This award not only helped financially, but I also felt as if 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 Masters 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 throughout 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 the Seattle area. So, I moved back to Seattle with EY. Currently, I am the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Aegis Living. I am also a member of the Washington Society of CPAs. Looking back, I am thankful I chose to study accounting. Because I understand the numbers, I am able to understand a business and that has truly helped me advance my career. 

After settling into my career, I wanted to give back. Five 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 Committee where I review scholarship applications and help choose 20 deserving recipients each year. Three years ago, I was also nominated to serve as Trustee for the Washington CPA Foundation. The Washington CPA Foundation is working to address two needs: 1) making accounting professions a reality for students across Washington State, and 2) addressing our state's financial literacy challenges. It has been a privilege to contribute both my time and finances to a Foundation that gave 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 earn a CPA license. So, I will continually give back. But it's funny how I still feel as if 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! 

About the Washington CPA Foundation: Scholarships make a significant difference in students' lives, so much so that many would not be able to attend college without these gifts. That is why the WSCPA strongly supports and works very closely with the Washington CPA Foundation. 

The Foundation contributes around $50,000/year to accounting students across the state thanks to donations from generous WSCPA members and CPA firms. Foundation scholarships, at $3,000 - $4,000 each, make quite an impact on the recipients' upcoming school year. Students apply for the scholarships through the WSCPA student website, and recipients are selected by the WSCPA Scholarship Committee. Last year, 17 outstanding students from 10 different universities received scholarships. Jessica Andrews received a Foundation scholarship in 2003 and now serves on the committee to choose the next scholarship winners!

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