How I Chose My Career in Auditing #MyCareerStoryMonday

Name: Kristen Burtt

Class Year: 2018

Major: Accounting

Minor: Computer Information Systems (CIS)

Position:  Past Assurance Intern; Future Assurance Associate

Company: RSM US, LLP

Let’s walk through Kristen’s career path, which will only continue to grow in her post-college years. Kristen has always been career-driven. She stated that, “as soon as I turned 16, I was on the lookout for jobs in my town. I ended up acting as administrative assistants for both a local Real Estate Company in addition to a local Construction Company. From these positions, I was able to develop my communication skills from  reporting to my bosses, as well as to listening and attending to clients’ needs. The next step was exploring an industry that was more relevant to my major than what I previously worked in—so I began an internship as an Underwriting Intern at an insurance company that was local to me. From here, I was able to gain more knowledge in an industry I wasn’t familiar with—and I continued this as an Internal Audit Intern at Travelers in Hartford. After my experience in internal audit, I appreciated the way in which internal and external auditors both worked together, which pushed me to become interested in being an Audit Resource Management Intern at Grant Thornton. I applied, and was accepted, to their program during the school year of my Junior Year. Then, the summer after that I landed an Assurance internship at RSM.”

Kristen’s passion for numbers isn’t a recent discovery. She laughingly said that, “ever since I was a kid, numbers just clicked for me. I was always someone who appreciated organization and structure, and accounting gave me just that. With all the underlying regulations and standards, accounting allows me to channel my detail-oriented skills into a career that appreciated the order that I craved. Furthermore, I fell into the world of auditing because I appreciated the value it adds to the quality of financial statements that a company produces and the reliance that shareholders place upon these financial statements further support this.”

Kristen has thoroughly enjoyed her past career experiences. She expressed that, “what I find most rewarding about beginning a career in assurance is the added-value that I consider that my work provides to shareholders of the publicly held companies that I audit. Additionally, what I find rewarding is the variation that my job provides in reference to the variety of industries it caters to. This summer alone at RSM, I was able to work on clients in the life sciences, financial services, not-for-profit, and entertainment industry. Although the work was generally the same throughout, I found that with each industry I was able to see how differences in their day-to-day operations influenced what I was auditing.

However, there are some difficult aspects of the auditing role. Kristen explained that, “the aspects that I find most challenging about my job is the changing regulations that can drastically affect what we do within this profession. Although the order and structure of the profession is what originally drew me to it, there are certain regulations that, if changed, such as the recent revenue recognition standard, could drastically change what has previously been done.”

Kristen is currently one of our Career Colleagues, and one of her favorite things to do is advise students about how to determine if their major is right for them. When it comes to accounting, she said, “my advice to someone preparing to enter the World of Accounting is to make sure you take the time to weigh your options. Similar to those in other industries, there are a lot of companies who fall within the same market. Especially in accounting, there are many firms out there; and though some may be more familiar than others, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right fit for you. Take the time to hear each firm out—see where you feel the most comfortable with. Similar to when you were picking out where to go to college, you should be able to get that feeling that that company is where you feel you belong—as corny as it sounds, it’s true.”

As for Bentley-specific courses that can help students get a leg-up in the career search, Kristen discussed her favorite CIS class. She explained that,”to appeal to my CIS Minor, I would recommend taking Information Security and Computer Forensics that’s typically offered by Professor Cram. It’s one of the required courses for ISAC majors, and by being an Accounting major and a CIS minor, it’s kind of the same thing. It allowed me to see the importance of securing our financial information and I believed tied in well with the rise of information technology today and its connection to financial services—such as newly developed cryptocurrency.”

We all know that the professors and staff here at Bentley are second to none—without their passion and expertise, Bentley wouldn’t be the same. In order to showcase this, we have begun asking #MyCareerStoryMonday interviewees to name someone who has been particularly helpful or impactful throughout their career search, or Bentley Life in general. Here is what Kristen says: “ Throughout my career here at Bentley, Professor Kelly of the accounting department has made a huge influence. GB 112 or 212 is a make-or-break course for all freshman at Bentley—you realized if you love it or you hate it. For me, I loved it and I credit that entirely to the way in which Professor Kelly taught her class. As a parent herself, she was able to understand the large adjustment we were making to living on campus, but was able to provide a relaxing, yet stimulating environment for which to foster our knowledge of finance and accounting. I was fortunate to have her for 212 as well, and used her as a resource to see what paths I should take in the world of accounting.”

If you’re interested in pursuing a career with RSM, or you’d like to learn more about their career opportunities click here. More specifically, if you are interested in pursuing a career in assurance or auditing, stop by Career Services for more information, or even come by during Sophomore Drop-ins’ (Mon-Fri 1-2:30) to talk to Kristen herself! Also, be sure to connect with Kristen on LinkedIn if you want to learn more about RSM from her!

By Caroline Gervais
Caroline Gervais CareerEdge Colleague Caroline Gervais