Pushed Over the Edge: How I Made the Decision to Work for the Systems Group

William Elliott

Systems Staff

January 22, 2017

During the recruitment process, a lot of stress gets placed on the decision of what you plan on specializing in while working in the accounting field. A common question I was asked by recruiters was “tax or audit?” There is nothing wrong with entering either of these departments out of school, but my personality doesn’t always enjoy following the norm or doing as I’m told kind of situations. Therefore, when a third option was presented to me it piqued my interest. I was introduced to PKM’s Systems group at a Beta Alpha Psi etiquette dinner while attending Georgia Southern. A few other firms had similar risk assurance or similarly named departments but I could tell the field hadn’t gained a whole lot of popularity yet, at least with accounting students. While following up and attending PKM outings to network, I further learned what sort of work the Systems group performs and if it would be a good fit for me. At a high level, the Systems group audits internal controls while financial auditors audit financial statements. Bear in mind, I did not have an information systems background from school. I only received my accounting degree so going into a field that was significantly different than what I had been studying for was a substantial risk at the time. I still knew very little about what I was getting myself into but I believed the payoff would be worth it. There was still a lot of fear of the unknown which is why I also recruited for a financial audit position. Luckily, I had the opportunity to intern in both departments at PKM. When my internships were wrapping up I received full-time offers for both departments which left me with a difficult decision.

Weighing the pros and cons led me to making the best decision for myself and my career, even if it required a push over the edge from my logical brain. When determining what I enjoyed about both internship experiences and the work environment, I found the Systems group was able to expand on the characteristics I enjoyed when working as a financial auditor. Client interaction, travel, and working in teams were some of the major characteristics weighed in my decision. Now when I speak to students during the recruitment process, some of the most fun I have is when I get to tell them and relive the places I’ve gotten to travel. As an intern, I was put on jobs to work on some of our larger clients located throughout the US and was able to work in Los Angeles, Houston, and Charlotte. Since returning as a full time staff, I have been able to add Boston, Napa Valley, and Phoenix to the list to name a few. Regardless of if you are doing work at these destinations, these are still some pretty cool places to visit on a company’s dime. So I would say traveling to more “luxurious” places had an impact on my decision. Next, I valued working in a team. Personally, it assists in feeling I am part of something more and am contributing to the firm’s success. However, as the Systems group is quite a bit smaller than the audit group, I had the opportunity to develop closer relationships with my fellow staff, managers, and partners as I was working directly with them continuously.

The most important factor that helped me finalize my decision to become an information systems auditor was my beliefs about the field. I believe information systems auditing is the future of accounting. If we as auditors are able to recommend and implement such strong internal controls for clients, there wouldn’t be a need to determine if the financial statements are accurate or not. Our profession and businesses in general are a long way away from this, but ultimately that is how I see the end game. Being a contributing factor to that movement, no matter how small, was my push over the edge into the Systems group and made it something I wanted to learn more than financial auditing.