Laura Lowe

Laura graduated from Alma College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Accounting and began sitting for the CPA exam right after graduation.

Week 1

After studying by myself all summer for the CPA exam, being with the people at C&M has been so refreshing. I love being surrounded by people who love helping people, and C&M is filled with those kinds of people. I was amazed in my first week how I automatically felt like part of the FDI family. We all laugh and tell stories together throughout the day which makes work fun. I am very much looking forward to spending the days working with my team. I was surprised that I got the opportunity to become certified in QuickBooks and in my first week of training. I also got to work on real clients in my first week which was very exciting. I loved that I was able to set my own pace and conquer as many tasks as I could handle during the day. I was very eager to learn and C&M gave me the opportunity to do that.

Month 1

I can’t believe it has been one month already. I have learned so much and the time has flown by. I love that my managers are flexible with my schedule and allow me to leave early a couple days a week to go teach dance at a studio nearby. It is very nice working at a place where hours per day are flexible and you can leave early one day and stay later another. You just have to make sure you are getting your work done. My favorite part about C&M are the people that I get to work with. One of my favorite moments so far was decorating my desk with Holiday decorations and everyone stopping by to compliment me on my beautiful Christmas tree and snow globe collection. Overall, I am so glad that I chose C&M to start my accounting career, and I am excited for the months to come.

Month 6

6 months already?! No way! It feels like I’ve worked here for about 4 weeks and 4 years at the same time. I am still continuing to learn new elements of my job every day which makes it feel like I still just started. Just when I think I have mastered one topic, I get introduced to a whole other level of topics.  On the other hand my “coworkers” feel more like friends that I have known forever. We hang out outside of work which makes the workday filled with jokes and laughter. We also enjoy going on walks during lunch (when it’s not busy season) and climbing the stairs for exercise.

If I had to choose one word to describe the last 6 months it would be enjoyable. During busy season, I never felt overworked or overwhelmed with tasks that I couldn’t handle. My manager always took the time to go through the tax returns with me so I could understand how to fix the error and not just go through the motions. I feel they are really investing in my future and care about me as a person and not just an employee.

The most valuable skill I have learned and am still learning is patience. I am learning how to “slow down” and check my work over a few times to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It’s a constant battle to go against my natural instincts of just get the job done and really work to understand.

My greatest piece of advice for someone starting out with an accounting career and trying to pass the CPA exam would be to go at your own pace. DO NOT compare yourself to your peers, coworkers, or friends. And certainly DO NOT feel pressured by work, friends, or family to get the exam done by a certain time. If that pressure is off, then you will be living a much happier and enjoyable life. It’s a tough exam! So put in the work, and then take a well-deserved break.