#PointParkWorks: Accounting, IT Double Major Lands Co-Op With Audit Firm in Philadelphia Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Meet Darnita Holmes
Co-op: Lead Tax Co-Op Intern for RSM US LLP
Majors: Accounting and Information Technology
Expected graduation: Spring 2018
College activities: Student Accounting Association and National Association of Black Accountants, Pittsburgh Chapter
Scholarships from Point Park: Transfer Presidential and Phi Theta Kappa Transfer scholarships
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
High school: Roy C. Start High School
Now living in: Philadelphia, Pa. (temporarily for the co-op)
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, meditation and music
How did you land your co-op position in Philadelphia?
I applied for the co-op position while I was attending the National Association of Black Accountants National Conference in Hollywood, Fla., in June 2016. A recruiter from RSM US LLP helped me find locations nearest to Pittsburgh to go for my interview, and Philadelphia was one of the closest offices.
Why did you decide to transfer to Point Park University and then double major?
I decided to transfer to Point Park for the newly revised information technology program as well as for the working relationship the University has with the Community College of Allegheny County. I also heard great things about Point Park from previous co-workers who graduated from the University.
During my first IT co-op at U.S. Steel, I realized how important accounting was in regards to the tech field. My supervisor at the time handled much of the accounting-related tasks for the department so I learned how much of an asset I would be to a firm with both an IT and accounting degree. My initial thought process was to work in billing and forecasting, but after majoring in both fields, I see there is so much more that can be done with the combination.
How have your accounting and IT classes helped you in your co-op?
The semester before I began this co-op, I completed Intermediate Accounting II and Tax Accounting. These courses were a tremendous help since pretty much everything I learned in the classroom directly applies to what I'm doing in this co-op. We dealt with MACRS Depreciation, Straight Line Depreciation and various schedules. I use this information every day.
Also, knowing the equations from Cost of Goods Sold from Intermediate Accounting helped during my training for the co-op. The greatest asset of Intermediate Accounting regarding my co-op was learning the differences between book income and taxable income and permanent and timing differences.
It's surprising that an IT background can help with taxes, but it does. You need a "troubleshooting mind" in order to solve tax problems. Being comfortable and familiar with a variety of software and databases from course work makes learning new tax systems less intimidating. The Business Analytics and Microcomputing courses at Point Park have helped me reduce the time I spend in Microsoft Excel transferring and manipulating data.
What do you enjoy most about being a Point Park student?
I enjoy feeling like I belong and being encouraged to succeed. I have incredible professors who I can depend on and everyone from faculty to the student body have helped to push me toward my goals. I've never been to a school like Point Park and I am glad to have the privilege. As a student here, you encounter diversity on so many levels. It's refreshing to be a part of an institution that intentionally encourages this type of environment.
What advice do you have for individuals who are considering college as a non-traditional student?
My advice is:
- Return to school and be defiantly optimistic about your educational goals.
- Create a plan, and then another if needed.
- Allocate time to study and then protect that time.
- Don't just network. Create your own network and join organizations.
My membership with the Pittsburgh NABA Student Chapter gave me the opportunity to meet recruiters from RSM. While working in Philadelphia, I study long distance over the phone and via the internet with a Point Park study group initiated last semester.
What are your career goals after graduation?
Right after graduation I plan to study for the CPA exam. I am pretty sure I will use Becker resources to get myself prepared and hope to take the regulation portion of the exam first during the fall. I am also looking into Point Park's online master's degree programs since there is a possibility the full-time position I would be offered might involve relocation and travel.