Career Advice

Navigating My Diverse Accounting Path – by Abigail Dalessio ‘08

After an introductory accounting course my sophomore year at Gettysburg College, I knew accounting was a career I wanted. Soon after, I declared a double major in economics and management, the closest thing Gettysburg had to an accounting major and set my sights on a career in public accounting. I landed a spot in a “leadership conference” for a big four accounting firm the summer after my sophomore year and my performance there earned me a spot in their internship program the following summer. The internship experience was a valuable one and through it, I learned I had to continue my studies in order to not only be eligible for the CPA exam, but also to get the attention of other public accounting firms. What accounting firm wants an economics and management major?

Turns out after a post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting, ParenteBeard was that firm. I worked for almost four years in ParenteBeard’s audit practice until recently. I have transitioned into a different role within the firm. In this new role, I manage and schedule activities for our audit practice. My liberal arts degree has proven to be a strong base for both roles. Auditing proved to be more than just accounting; here at ParenteBeard, auditing is providing exceptional client service, team work and communication on top of the numbers. Four years at Gettysburg gave me the well-rounded education that I needed to be successful in public accounting. This also set me up for the position I now hold as Utilization Manager of the Audit Practice which involves communication across all levels of our firm and strategizing our people and clients, in addition to an analytical mind.

One of my Gettysburg professors asked me why I wanted to be an accountant, knowing that Gettysburg did not offer it as a major. She almost suggested I transfer. I was utterly stunned, for I chose Gettysburg for the liberal arts education as its invaluable teachings and the critical thinking skills honed in each class. I encourage those liberal arts students out there to seek whatever career interests them, despite what major is offered. Find the closest thing to it and make it worth your while, or even make your own major (that option was there when I was at Gettysburg)! So you may have to take some extra credits at some other schools, but it will be worth it.

Abigail Dalessio ’08 is Utilization Manager at ParenteBeard, a top 25 accounting, tax and business advisory firm headquartered in Center City Philadelphia.

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