Meet An Auditor: Mike Chelena

August 2018 Update

Mike Chelena - Young Auditing Professional

Name & Age: Michael Chelena

Current job and location: Supervisor, RSM US LLP, McLean VA

Number of years with the firm: 4 years

Hometown: Manassas, VA

College/Major: James Madison University / Accounting and Computer Information Systems

How long have you now been employed with your accounting firm?

I have been employed with RSM for about 4 years this October. RSM was my first job out of college. I had previously interned and completed an externship with the firm as well.

Briefly describe your current role, and how it’s different than when we last connected.

I currently serve as a supervisor on the commercial audit team. I primarily serve the technology and financial services industries. My day to day role involves communicating and managing the work of my associates, performing audit procedures over high-risk areas and helping manage the audit team for a particular engagement. This role has expanded since I first started with YAPP, moving from more of “preparer” role into a manager and reviewer role.

What are you most excited about in your current position?

I really enjoy the people aspect of public accounting and enjoy helping mentor and train new staff. I also enjoy the contestant change in my roles and responsibilities, which helps me grow as a professional and a person.

Now that you have advanced in your career, is there any new advice that you would offer to undergraduate students who are considering a career in audit?

In public accounting, you will always be presented with new challenges and opportunities to advance. Your job looks a lot different from day 1 to a few years in, which I have experienced firsthand. This growth continues all the way through your career as you progress to manager and partner.

Finally, what do you most look forward to in your professional future?

I look forward to the opportunities ahead and moving into a manager role full time.

Original 2016 Post

Name & Age: Michael Chelena, 26

Current job and location: Senior Assurance Associate, RSM US LLP, McLean VA

Number of years with the firm: 2 years

Hometown: Manassas, VA

College/Major: James Madison University / Accounting and Computer Information Systems


Briefly describe what is your current role at the firm?

I currently serve as a Senior Associate on the DC metro area’s audit team. I work primarily in the financial services industry on several SEC audit engagements. I manage the day-to-day progression of the audit and work with our managers to issue audited financial statements on time. I also mentor and educate new staff on my engagement teams where I play the “in-charge” role, in order to help them learn and grow.

What one personal quality helps you most in your auditing career and why?

I am very organized and proficient at managing conflict. This enables me to complete my own work in an efficient manner and assist other members on the team as well as to effectively communicate with my team and company executives.

What experience as an undergraduate student provided you with the best preparation for your job and why? 

I believe my second major, computer information systems, helps me every day in my career as an auditor. The major had several technical coding classes that each student was required to take. While I do not use my coding abilities in my day-to-day responsibilities, the problem-solving skills obtained from these activities helps me every day.

What advice, personal or professional, do you have for students considering a career in auditing?

Work hard, have a good attitude, and show up on time. Whether or not you decide to go into public accounting or another profession these three things are always noticed and go a long way in the eyes of your superiors. None of them require any knowledge or skill, only effort.

What has been the best part of your job and why?

I love the people I work with. Every member of our team is extremely intelligent and pleasant. I serve on anywhere from 10-20 engagements a year, so I get to work with a variety of people. It is really interesting to see the different skills and management styles of my many team members and I think it helps me in forming my own style of management and interpersonal communications.