Accounting Associate Professor Interview

When we move from college to professional careers, we need a role model or a professional person who is trying to get into the field. Information interview is a very useful tool for us to obtain information and professional skills. By interviewing them, you can check whether you’re in the right direction or not. They can tell you their real life experiences to inspire you or to give you a better choice. Interviewing for information will certainly enrich your experience and insight.

The Contact

  • Name: Daniel Hsiao
  • Title/Position: Associate Professor of Accounting
  • Company: UMD
  • Industry: Higher Education

Questions about the Contact

Question 1: How did you get your job? What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?

An accounting professor position is typically recruited through a national search in USA; in other words, the search process selects all qualified candidates from the nation and goes through multiple rounds of interviews for the best fit candidate. There is no exception for me going through the entire experience, too.
To be standing out from a pool of other candidates, I have several years work experience as a financial analyst from a large investment bank, and was an IT manager in one of S&P 500 firms. In addition, my background with various international work experiences should contribute to a better job qualification.

Question 2: What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

I find that searching an effective way to stimulate various students’ learning motives and to cultivate them for active learning is considered a challenging task. We have very different types of students in the classes with individual path on effective learning, and we design a curriculum that is in a way meeting the demands and provide the organized knowledge to succeed this profession.

Question 3: What do find most enjoyable?

There are several points that are quite enjoyable from the job. One is when students finally understand some complex accounting concepts and are able to apply them to solve the problems and find the answers by their own. Another is when the moment students send you thank you emails and notes for their achievements at the end of semester. That is very rewarding.

Question 4: How many hours do you work in a typical week?

I tend to be working longer hours, approximately 60 hours in a week. I do not mind working longer hours to get various projects done, since we have flexibility to control our work time, to a certain extent.

Question 5: How would you describe the working atmosphere and the people with whom you work?

It is a very friendly working environment to work in a higher education institution.

Question 6: If your position was suddenly eliminated, what kinds of jobs would your skill transfer to?

Since holding both CPA and CISA licenses and years of work experience, I am not too concerned if I need to transfer to other position either in other research institutions or switch back to business practice.

Question 7: How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?

Grades and GPAs play the minimum level of entrance barrier to get into public accounting profession; in other words, recruiters will select accounting students to be potential candidates if they are considered to possess sufficient accounting knowledge.

Questions about Communications Practices and Writing

Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?

As a professor, we often do lots of academic writing to get our research outputs disseminate to the broad audience. We propose new concepts and present new research findings through academic writing to publish in various journals is a form to share the knowledge.

What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?

Most companies prefer the business writing to be concise and pinpoint the valuable points in some shorter paragraphs or pages instead of writing in a long article. In many cases, the format of business writing is also not similar with that of academic writing as the target audience is very different. I always encourage that our graduates need to put efforts on observation, reading, and exercise with more practice when they enter a new business work environment.

How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?

They are considered to be equally important in the accounting profession. Often time we need to interact with various levels of clients to seek for effective communication. We are also required to document our reports and present the analyses to demonstrate your final performance. Both of which require the communication skillset to be efficient and effective.

Questions seeking Advice for you

Question 1: Can you recommend any courses I should take before proceeding further with my job search?

I would recommend that everyone attend several sessions related on “Interview Skills Workshop” that will help gain multiple levels of interview skills and boost your confidence before going on actual interviews in reality.

Question 2: What educational preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?

I would recommend that “continuous education” and “on the job training” are very critical to succeed in the accounting profession. We are well aware that this profession has been changing rapidly over the recent years, and it is expected to continue a fast development to meet the business needs in the future.

Question 3: What professional journals and organizations should I be aware of?

The “Journal of Accountancy” and the “CPA Journal” are two practitioner journals that the accounting professional will receive immediate benefits to keep updated. In addition, you can consider joining the AICPA (for CPA track) and IMA (for CMA track) and perhaps American Accounting Association (AAA) earlier in the career as they should benefit to build the professional network opportunities.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Daniel is not only my professor but my friend. He is an expert in accounting field. So I decided to ask him more questions about how he succeeded. It was a great experience interviewing him. Because he was originally from Taiwan, and he made every effort to get his dream job now. And he knew a lot about the constraints and solutions related to the international students issues. He told me to consider joining the AICPA (for CPA track) and IMA (for CMA track) and perhaps American Accounting Association (AAA) earlier in the career as they should benefit to build the professional network opportunities. Now I have many plans instead of only one before and I feel more confident about my study and career.