Perception isn't always reality

Dec. 11, 2017  |  Stephanie Schmidt

When you tell someone you’re a CPA, what’s their response? Do they gasp in anticipation and excitement, or do their eyes gloss over as they slowly nod?

I can venture a guess.

Honestly, I had the same, glossy-eyed response before I knew much about the profession. Then, I began working with CPAs and managed the Young Professionals Group program at the MNCPA. I’ll tell you what -- CPAs are so far from the stereotype that sometimes plagues the profession. They’re analytical, strategic, problem solvers, visionaries and fun — yes, FUN!

So, why is there still a misperception out there of what an accountant or CPA is and does?

I don’t have the answer to that. What I do know is there’s a way to change that misperception: get out in front of people and show them what being a CPA is all about. Doing so not only opens people’s eyes up to reality, it also helps attract new talent to the profession.

And it all starts with high schools.

That’s why the MNCPA has a program called Talk to the Students, where we match member volunteers with high schools looking for someone to talk to their students about the CPA profession. If you’ve ever expressed a concern about filling the pipeline of professionals with the best and brightest talent, I challenge you to volunteer for this program and help bring about change.

The best part: You don’t have to have the most experience or be the most polished presenter. You just have to be passionate about what you do. The MNCPA will do the rest, including arm you with a PowerPoint presentation, talking points and some sweet MNCPA swag.

If you’re interested in pulling back the proverbial curtain on the profession, and opening the eyes and minds of students, contact the membership department at or 952-831-2707 to volunteer or learn more.

Perceptions don’t change overnight. But, by upping the profession’s visibility and pushing a consistent message to students, you can help refine how the workforce of tomorrow sees CPAs. 

Topics: Leadership

Stephanie Schmidt

Stephanie Schmidt is the MNCPA’s director of membership and marketing. For more than 10 years, she has expertly managed numerous member programs and events. Her skillset comes in handy when also planning sleepovers and birthday parties for her family. Stephanie has also earned the MNCPA’s unofficial title of office fashionista. Step into her office and you’ll see her knack for fashion, design and décor. She’s also a hugger, which you’ll appreciate if you’re ever trapped in a scary escape room with her. Stephanie can be reached at 952-885-5523 or

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