July 28, 2011
Many think the profession of accounting is about numbers—long rows of numbers on pages and pages of spreadsheets.
But that's not the case, according to Adrienne Crutch, senior manager with Dixon Hughes Goodman in Morgantown, W.Va.
Crutch earned dual bachelor's degrees in accounting and animal and veterinary sciences in 1997 and a master's degree in professional accounting in 2002. She thinks her profession is all about people.
"Public accounting is different from corporate work," she said. "In public accounting, there is a varying range of clients and different personalities, and they are always entertaining. I immensely enjoy interactions with clients and finding out about their wants and needs and how our company can serve those needs. Public accounting is about building relationships with clients so they can come to you and ask questions. It is definitely the people that keep my job interesting."
A graduate of Lincoln High School in Lumberport, W.Va., Crutch was active in 4-H there and participated in the dairy program and dairy judging. She was convinced by a WVU agriculture professor to major in veterinary sciences but hedged her bets on getting a job in that field with her business degree.
She said public accounting never slows down and accounting standards are constantly changing, presenting a challenge. "There is always something new and exciting going on. My favorite thing about my job is being able to work in one of the nation's top 25 public accounting firms right in Morgantown – this would not have been possible until the last couple of years when the company relocated its office to Morgantown."
The company employs more than 1,700 in 30 cities in 11 states and the District of Columbia. In April, Dixon Hughes PLLC and Goodman & Company LLP merged to become Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP. It is the largest certified public accounting firm based in the southern United States and the 13th largest in the nation.
Crutch has 10 years of experience in accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services within both the public accounting and private sectors. Her public accounting career has focused in the area of healthcare providers with an emphasis on auditing and tax services to hospice and home health organizations.
She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is registered as a certified public accountant in West Virginia. She also is a member of the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. She has served as an adjunct professor at Fairmont State University.
Crutch recalls Dr. Adolph Neidermeyer, professor of accounting, whose classes she found to be "quite interesting."
"He's dynamic and constantly involves students," she said. "You have to be on your toes in his class because he will call on you to answer questions." Neidermeyer specializes in taxation and personal financial planning.
She advises today's students to work hard to get high grades but to take time for extracurricular activities. "Be prepared for job interviews and understand the company that is interviewing you," she advises. "Accounting students specifically should focus on passing the CPA exam as quickly as possible instead of waiting until they start to work and become too busy to study for it.