Posted: 04 Apr. 2024 6 min. read

Why accounting can be a rewarding career path

By Thalia Smith, Audit & Assurance Partner and MADE Partner Sponsor, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Talking points
  • Many students are unaware of the potential value of an accounting degree and career path. 
  • Deloitte is committed to helping students understand “why accounting” and supporting their academic and professional journey in the profession.
  • Sharing my journey as I engaged with students across the country prompted me to share my experiences more broadly, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.

Over the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with students across the country—from high school to graduate students—and listening to their perceptions of the accounting profession. When I hear them discuss what has either motivated them or deterred them in their pursuit of accounting, one thing is clear: Many students are still unaware of the potential value of an accounting degree.  

Fortunately, I get to help change those perceptions. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my role as partner sponsor of Deloitte’s MADE (Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable) commitment. What better place to start these conversations than with my own experiences? My initial reasons for selecting accounting as my major were as simple as having an interest in math and access to strong math training. But over the years, many other factors have contributed to my decision to continue to pursue an accounting career path and stick with it for the long term. 

The power of financial storytelling

As a kid, I loved storytelling, and the more I learned about accounting, the more I realized it’s just another form of storytelling—one that paints a picture with numbers rather than words. When I read the financial information provided by a company, I understand its story. The financial statements can provide a clear and compelling narrative about what happened during specific periods and insights into what could happen in future periods. Company management uses this information to make decisions about strategy, and investors rely on it to make decisions about whether and how much to invest. For me, reading and writing these financial narratives has been incredibly exciting. 

Knowing the universal language of business can unlock career opportunities

Before starting my junior year of college, I considered changing my major from accounting to finance. I heard it was important to specialize rather than choose a general business or management major, and I believed finance might be more specialized than accounting. In the end, I decided to stay with accounting because I discovered that it’s really the universal language of business. I wanted to understand business and how it worked—and becoming fluent in accounting gave me that opportunity. 

Just as I had hoped, both my accounting degree and career experiences have given me a broad understanding of business. This wider lens has presented a host of career opportunities to me and many of my peers. While I chose to be an Audit & Assurance partner, I knew I had other options. For many of my colleagues, accounting has opened doors to different roles and career paths in a variety of industries. In short, accounting can offer more career opportunities than many people may realize. 

The ability to give back to family and community

During my college years, I was also unaware of how important my accounting degree could be to helping my community. Over the years, nonprofit organizations, family members, and friends with businesses have reached out for guidance with financial matters. My degree, knowledge, and career experience have made me uniquely valuable to them in those moments.

The potential for financial security and a fulfilling life

Accountants are in demand. There is a shortage of people entering the profession and a decline in professionals sitting for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.1 It’s no secret that Black and Hispanic/Latinx students are underrepresented in college majors associated with the fastest-growing, highest-paying STEM occupations, including accounting jobs.2

I grew up in a home with two parents who did not go to college and an older sister who decided college was not her thing. I saw the jobs they had, knew their salaries, watched their struggles, and felt their financial insecurity. Today, as an Audit & Assurance partner in the largest professional services firm in the world, I am able to support my family and community in ways I never could have imagined. Ultimately, the financial security I’ve been able to gain with an accounting career has given me the resources and freedom to live the life I envisioned for myself.

Deloitte is committed to supporting your accounting journey

I invite you to visit Deloitte’s MADE website and see how our $75 million commitment is supporting racially and ethnically diverse individuals in their understanding and pursuit of an accounting career. This includes opportunities and resources for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and extends to professionals, with support for becoming a CPA and training programs for mid-level accounting professionals to C-suite and executive-level roles.

Today, as a partner in the largest professional services firm in the world, I am able to support my family and community in ways I never could have imagined. Ultimately, the financial security I’ve been able to gain with an accounting career has given me the resources and freedom to live the life I envisioned for myself. 


1 Jason Bramwell, “Number of CPA Exam takers continues to dwindle,“ CPA Practice Advisor, May 30, 2023.
2 Melba Newsome, “Even as colleges pledge to improve, share of engineering and math graduates who are Black declines,” The Hechinger Report, April 12, 2021.

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Thalia Smith

Thalia Smith

Audit & Assurance Partner and InsurTech Leader

Thalia, an Audit & Assurance partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, is the Audit & Assurance InsurTech leader in the United States for the Emerging Growth Company practice. Thalia has more than 15 years of experience serving financial services industry clients, primarily in the insurance industry. She serves as a lead client service partner for New York-based InsurTech startups, with overall responsibility for client service coordination and delivery, including advisory support related to market entry/business strategy, accounting, tax, risk and compliance, audit, initial public offering readiness support, and sell-side advisory services. Thalia has extensive experience providing accounting and financial reporting advice and transaction support to multinational and multilocation engagements of securities and exchange commission registrants and privately held companies.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

The services described herein are illustrative in nature and are intended to demonstrate our experience and capabilities in these areas; however, due to independence restrictions that may apply to audit clients (including affiliates) of Deloitte & Touche LLP, we may be unable to provide certain services based on individual facts and circumstances.