The problem solving and data analyzation skills I learned in my STEM classes have helped me the most in my career. I work with large data sets (sometimes millions of rows) and being able to analyze, manipulate and summarize the data is an invaluable skill. I’m currently working on improving the way companies report tax depreciation on their fixed assets using a database designed by our internal development team.
Many clients hire our team because they do not have a reliable data management system or they are incorrectly depreciating their fixed assets. We clean up data issues and automate the data transfer so that that tax deprecation is being calculated and reported correctly on our clients’ tax return.
We are analyzing fixed asset data (cars, trucks, buildings, office equipment, etc.) that come from a variety of sources. Some clients track their fixed asset activity in MS Excel but most companies have some type of data management system such as SAP, FAS, or PeopleSoft.
A large portion of my work involves analyzing large data sets that would not be possible to do without the technical skills I learned in my STEM courses. Being able to digest big data quickly makes me more efficient and valuable to my team and to my clients.
A typical day for me consists of analyzing data and working with the client to resolve data issues. I also spend a significant amount of time configuring our database for new clients and writing or inspecting code to process data correctly.
My MIS degree gives me the knowledge and skills to work in our Oracle database analyzing, troubleshooting, and manipulating data. My Accounting degree allows me to understand and interpret the data. It helps me understand the work I'm doing and gives meaning to the data. Without it, I am just looking at a bunch of numbers. I use them both to work on unique problems for the client and provide a quality product in an efficient manner which adds a lot of value. My job would be much more difficult had I not decided on an Accounting/MIS double major in college.
Technology is the future. Every company is using technology to create a better product, a more efficient process, or provide a better service. If you can support your business or accounting acumen with a solid set of technical skills, it will help you in whatever career you choose.
I find the soft skills are often the most valuable. Specifically, problem solving and critical thinking skills are two of the most important skills you can develop. Technical skills are important but knowing how to use those skills to solve a difficult problem adds tremendous value!
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