Activities of the First-Year Staff Accountant in Public Accounting
by BILL S. RICHARDS Principal, Tulsa Office
Presented before the Accounting Club of the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa—May 1964
WHEN Mr. Chapline invited me to speak to the members of the O.U.
Accounting Club, he suggested that my talk bring out some of the activities a junior accountant would be engaged in during the first year on the staff of a public accounting firm. So, that is my assignment for tonight. Your assignment is to listen to my talk. I hope that you do not finish your assignment before I finish mine.
It is a pleasure to return to the O.U. campus and to have this opportunity
to let you know what may be expected of a new man coming onto the staff of a CPA firm. My remarks will apply primarily to the situation as it exists in a national firm. However, before going into details, I thought that perhaps you might like to have some general idea of what is required of a CPA other than sound technical competence which, of course, is a must.
THE CPA'S GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS
I suppose the most important single qualification required of a CPA is that he have integrity. This is not only desirable, it is essential for success in this field. The accounting profession actually is in a unique position. Although a CPA is engaged by a client to render his opinion on the fairness of the client's financial statements, third parties also rely on this opinion and they have a right to expect that the CPA does have uprightness of character and honesty. In other words, he must have integrity.
Another qualification essential for a CPA is that he must be independent.
He is an independent contractor, not an employee. In taking an engagement he reserves the right to make an examination in the manner and to the extent he sees fit since he is responsible not only to his client but to third parties who also read his report and rely upon it when making their own financial plans.
A CPA must not only like people, he must enjoy dealing with them. It is surprising how much of an auditor's time during an examination is taken up in talking with various people. He works with his co-workers, the client's employees in the accounting department, production department,
inventory department, engineering department—in fact, all depart-