Every so often, it is our pleasure to be able to work with great individuals in the accounting space whose background and experience help us provide valuable resources to our students. Today, we’re excited to welcome Bennet Tchaikovsky, JD, CPA, as a new guest author who will be sharing his knowledge regarding accounting career advice in the weeks to come. Learn more about him below.
Hello. My name is Bennet Tchaikovsky and I’m an Associate Professor of Accounting at Irvine Valley College where I’ve taught courses including financial accounting, managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, and accounting ethics.
I graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”) with a degree in Business Economics, and began my career in public accounting at Los Angeles office of Coopers & Lybrand (Now PricewaterhouseCoopers). After becoming a licensed CPA, I attended Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, CA, and earned my Juris Doctor degree and passed the California Bar Exam. While attending UCSB, I was a summer intern at Coopers & Lybrand.
I wanted to become a CPA because of the employment opportunities.
As a Business Economics major (at the time), the accounting firms made up the majority of firms interviewing on campus. Also, I loved accounting as an undergraduate since I had great instructors at UCSB.
I took the CPA Exam in May 1991 and passed all four parts on the first sitting.
I took the Mark Dauberman CPA Review course, which was an earlier iteration of Roger CPA Review. Roger Philipp was one of my instructors for this course that was live and in-person (there were no online delivery methods in 1991). The fact that Roger and the other instructors could have me come into a classroom at 8am on a Saturday for 16 straight weeks for 8 hours of instruction was nothing short of amazing (especially living in Isla Vista).
Since working at Coopers & Lybrand, I served in senior financial positions as a Chief Financial Officer for publicly traded and privately held companies for the last 15 years including China Jo-Jo Drugstores, Inc. (NASDAQ: CJJD).
As CFO, I assisted companies with raising over $55 million collectively through public offerings, obtained three NASDAQ up-listings, and led a company through the direct listing process. I have consulted for publicly traded companies providing guidance as to reporting responsibilities, investor relations, and cost reduction strategies.
In addition to my CFO roles...
I have also served as a board member and audit committee chairperson (as the “designated financial expert”) including Ever-Glory International Group (NYSE MKT: EVK). Presently, I serve as a director and audit committee chair of Ener-Core, Inc. (OTCBB: ENCR). I serve on the advisory boards of the Arthritis National Research Foundation (www.curearthritis.org), and the audit committees of Pretend City Children's Museum (www.pretendcity.org), the Long Beach Day Nursery (www.lbdn.org), and Huntington Valley Little League (www.hvll.org).
However, it wasn’t until 21 years after I graduated from college and coaching Little League Baseball that I realized I wanted to teach again.
As an undergraduate student at UCSB, I was given the opportunity to be a teaching assistant, which was by far the best experience of my undergrad career. When I coached Little League Baseball, I realized how much I actually missed and enjoyed teaching. With my supportive wife and family, I was able to teach accounting on a part time basis and eventually decided to make it my full time job. I love teaching and find that I am incredibly lucky as teaching (to me) doesn’t feel like work.
I love to teach accounting.
A great thing about my job is that I am able to assist students with discovering accounting as a career and that becoming a licensed CPA can be one of the best possible bases for a future in business. Seeing my former students obtain internships and ultimately full time positions at the Big 4 and local accounting firms continues to be one of the most satisfying aspects of teaching accounting. I enjoy taking an active role in assisting my students prepare for the interview process.
As a guest author here at Roger CPA Review, I’d like to share my own experiences and as well as those of my students.
In doing so, I hope that accounting students and CPA Exam candidates will get to know: the structure of accounting firms, what to expect during the interview process, and making yourself the best possible candidate for hire. I look forward to sharing my articles in the weeks to come and wish you all the best of luck as you prepare for licensure and obtaining a position in the accounting profession.
--Bennet Tchaikovsky, JD, CPA