A Psychology Major’s Path to a Career in Audit
“Public accounting is a profession that really embraces training, teamwork, and holding every link in the chain accountable. The support I have received in my journey with public accounting has bolstered my confidence, preparation, and empathy in every aspect of my life.” – Matt Sickmiller
You’ve probably heard that the path that brings you to a career isn’t always a straight line.
This is definitely true for Matt Sickmiller. He started out as a psychology major in college before he discovered a career as an auditor. Today, he works for the Center for Audit Quality and is sharing his story to inspire others who may not realize they are only a few steps away from a path to audit.
Read our Q&A with Matt to see how a psychology major in Cincinnati, Ohio, ended up becoming an auditor in Washington, D.C.
Tell us about yourself.
I have two kids under the age of four, a puppy, a parrot, and my lovely wife. I was raised in Central Ohio and my biggest passions, besides my family, are University of Cincinnati basketball and Ohio State football.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA in Psychology right after high school. Seven years later, I studied at a branch campus of the University of Virginia (UVA) where I earned a certificate in accounting that provided me with the credits I needed in business and accounting courses to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. UVA has a strong accounting program which was challenging and prepared me well for my new career.
What led you to a career in audit?
I was on a break during an evening business course at UVA and complaining on the phone with my wife about the temp job I was working. A classmate overheard me and told me that the small audit firm she was working for was hiring and they would train me. I had a great interview, hit the ground running, and haven’t looked back since.
What was your first job?
My first post-college, long-term position was in sales for a concrete block manufacturing company. My sales career was a source of stress and was inherently unstable. Inconsistencies with commission checks also made it difficult to manage finances. Then, my first auditing job was with a small firm in Fairfax, Virginia that specialized in homeowners association and condo audits.
How has your career change impacted your life?
The impact has been immense. Public accounting is a profession that really embraces training, teamwork, and holding every link in the chain accountable. The support I have received in my journey with public accounting has bolstered my confidence, preparation, and empathy in every aspect of my life.
Who do you want to reach with your story?
Anyone thinking about a career change, whether it’s a stay-at-home parent re-entering the workforce, veterans looking for their post-military career, or someone who’s just not feeling happy about their place in life. The public accounting profession is in need of a diversity of thought and backgrounds as the playing field changes. Missing out on the “traditional” accounting major path shouldn’t preclude anyone from joining our ranks.
If you enjoyed Matt’s story and are interested in learning more about audit, ask an auditor your questions here.