The 2017 Beta Alpha Psi Annual (BAP) Meeting, August 3rd through 5th in Anaheim, California, opens around the theme of, “The Best is Yet to Be.” With so much discussion about the future of the accounting profession, we wanted to sit down with Samantha Simunyu, Marketing Manager - BAP, to find out how Beta Alpha Psi is a playing a larger role in helping to shape the future of accounting for students.
What topics do you think are most important for accounting students to know about Beta Alpha Psi regarding their career, the accounting profession, or the industry at large?
Earlier this year when we were working on our summer email series, we sent out a survey to our Beta Alpha Psi members asking what topics they would like for us to cover in emails and webinars. We received great feedback from our members requesting more information about financial and technical topics. Most members wanted us to focus our content on assets, bond and equity market, and investment management. We also saw a great deal of interest in the Information System side of accounting where technology merges into the financial information portion.
A few weeks ago, at the AICPA’s Engage conference, many conversations focused on how technology is impacting the financial industry. We think this is an important conversation to have with our accounting student members. We want our students to understand the importance of not being siloed in the workforce because they’ll be working with new technologies and other areas of their companies, such as Finance and Information Systems.
We also must consider topics that are important to the merging generation now entering the workforce - Generation Z (Gen Z). Gen Z is committed to professional development and distinguishing themselves from their peers. They are interested in strategic career planning and more long-term thinking. Beta Alpha Psi will need to consider how to engage and support them as they begin their accounting careers.
How do you see Beta Alpha Psi evolving in the next 10 years?
Our 100-year anniversary is approaching and Beta Alpha Psi is evaluating our mission and defining principals. The purpose of Beta Alpha Psi is to create promising careers for financial professionals and enable them to rise above all economic activity. This includes moving successfully through the ebbs and flows of the economic and environmental factors that continually affect the business world.
In the next 10 years, I see Beta Alpha Psi evolving with the changing landscape of our students. For example, Gen Z is completely different than the Millennial generation. We are going to have multiple generations coming through the organization, but we will always be looking for new ways to prepare our students for the future and provide them with tools to excel in the financial world.
What should new members expect at this year’s Annual Meeting in Anaheim?
Our Annual Meeting is an exciting and monumental experience. The meeting provides members the opportunity to see how they are part of a greater and larger community. The chapter level is important but the Annual Meeting allows our members to see the larger organization at work and the opportunities available to them through networking and building career relationships.
It’s important for our members to understand that Beta Alpha Psi is not just a resource for their first job. I think many of our students come into the organization thinking solely about internships or seeking their first job opportunity, but it’s vital for them to leverage the resources Beta Alpha Psi provides as an overall accounting organization. We want our members to be set up for success in their career paths well beyond their internship or first job.
When you attend the Annual Meeting, you meet people from around the world who could possibly influence your career further down the road and that type of networking is invaluable.