Meet the Firms 2022 Presents Great Moments of Learning

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, The School of Business held its annual Meet the Firms event in virtual format. The choice for this format was selected to enable representatives from a variety of firms to attend optimally. The firms that participated in this year’s event were:

  • Ernst & Young, LLP
  • Hutchinson and Bloodgood, LLP
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Mary Akpovi Consulting
  • Moss Adams, LLP
  • Neumeister & Associates, LLP

In addition, several Woodbury accounting alumni, such as Alex Dadashev and Ruxandra Badilas, shared valuable insights about the profession.

After a brief introduction from School of Business Dean, Dr. Joan Marques, Accounting Co-Coordinator, Dr. Alice Shiotsugu, welcomed the participating firms, students, and faculty, and invited Berenice Hernandez to say a few words on behalf of the Accounting Society. Jeff Neumeister, who fulfilled the dual role of Accounting Co-Coordinator and representative of Neumeister & Associates, served as the event moderator, and gave the participating firm members an opportunity to introduce themselves, followed by an invitation to share a typical day at their work.

Throughout the conversations, some important insights emerged:

The audience learned from IRS representatives Vince Capobianco and Sam Gomez, that the IRS has received a major budget to hire and is now massively recruiting. Students from a wide array of expertise areas, freshly graduated individuals, and mid-career individuals, will be attracted.

Gerard Mekhsian and Jordan Young shared some background information on Hutchinson and Bloodgood, a firm that recently celebrated its first centennial, and now operates from five locations, offering a range of services such as tax preparation, auditing, business planning consulting, cost segregation, estate planning, and consulting services.

Ruxandra Badilas shared her experiences at Ernst & Young, having first been attracted as a Woodbury student in an internship position, and subsequently being offered a full-time position.

Mary Akpovi, who retired from public accounting after a career spanning four decades, shared her experience, which mainly focused on mergers and acquisitions, and currently entails consulting.

Johanna Flores, who represented Moss Adams, shared her history, having started at EY, and subsequently shifting to her current employer, which is one of the 15 largest accounting/consulting firms in the nation, headquartered in Seattle. Moss Adams operates from 30 locations and provides a full range of services from accounting services, including tax and audits, to consulting and wealth management.

Alex Dadashev, also a Woodbury University accounting alumnus, shared his rich experience, first working for a very small firm while still being a student, then moving on to EY – one of the Big Four – and now serving in yet a different accounting related environment with a completely different set of tasks and responsibilities, in which he has managed to develop different skills.

Jeff Neumeister highlighted the areas of service in which Neumeister & Associates engage, not limited to tax services, but also including CFO outsourcing, crypto currency, expert witnessing, and forensic accounting. He underscored his company is interested in interns, but also attracts individuals who are in mid-career.

Several of the firm participants explained the “new normal” in their firms, which entails a hybrid approach with some days of the week at the office and other days working from home. The number of days on either side is often influenced by the season, with tax season demanding more in-office hours. The members explained that their companies are very mindful of work-life balance, and that, while full-time working in the field and attending school full-time, might be challenging, it is not impossible. They all underscored that obtaining the CPA license shortly after earning your accounting degree might be the best way to go since the requirements for the exam regularly change.

Another interesting aspect that emerged was the fact that the representatives from smaller firms saw more direct contact with clients than those from larger firms. The IRS representatives underscored that being hired by this large organization mainly entails training in the first few years, resulting in audit projects that entailed direct working with clients.

Some great pieces of advice the firm representatives shared with the students:
  • Diligently work on your soft skills. These are not the ones you learn from others. You have to develop them yourself. Work on your communication skills, be professional, be prepared to present, and don’t underestimate the importance of that. Be flexible, polite, respectful, and honest. Ask questions when something is unclear. Learn from your mistakes.
  • Pay attention to how things are being handled in a particular firm. Cultures within firms differ. Make sure you observe how people work and interact. If you have the opportunity, find out who did the job before you and see if you can learn from that person.
  • Your social media footprint is critical. Regardless of how smart and brilliant you are, every company conducts background checks and if there are questionable images and postings related to you, you may miss some great opportunities. Be cautious and mindful of that!
  • When sending emails, be courteous and keep in mind the proper way to address the other party. Also, make sure your grammar is correct. And don’t shy away from picking up the phone after several emails. The world is still run through human interaction. Keep yourself open to that.
  • Be prepared that work will bring different characters and cultures together. There will be conflict at times. Remain courteous and stay away from negative language. It will reflect poorly on you and affect your progress.
  • Keep an open mind to try new things. Change is real, and you may never learn what really interests you if you don’t expose yourself to it. Trial and error teach you much about your passion.
  • When submitting your resume, make sure you keep it as concise and functional as possible. Highlight your strengths, and know that the average reviewer of resumes only takes seven seconds to review a resume. Most resumes for students could be kept to one page. Include your cumulative and major-based GPA, and be mindful of your grades, as they are your ticket to success!
  • Finally, when applying to the IRS, do make sure you respond completely to all questions so that you don’t get eliminated.


Last Updated on October 3, 2022. 

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