Accounting for More

In class today, we explored the implications of different types of markets and how transactions concern both buyers and sellers. Specifically, we looked at what perfect competition would entail and how a business is always looking to escape that scenario. I found it interesting that two companies can actually be both rivals and allies, which is a case called coopetition. In this instance, we looked at examples like Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPad, or Ford and Mazda. Thinking from an entrepreneurial perspective, these are all things to consider before becoming a new entrant into a market.

I was particularly fascinated by the next topic we investigated: economic development. It is key to engaging with the community and generating income for an area. We even looked at Pittsburgh and the advantages and disadvantages of locating a business in the inner city. This discussion led to a debate about a hot current event. Where will Amazon locate its new headquarters? We considered the threats to Pittsburgh as a contender due to more congestion, the lack of openings in educational facilities for immigrating families, and a net increase in rent by about $200 more a month. The creation of a cluster is very likely with such a big firm, such as Amazon, moving to a city like Pittsburgh.

At the end of class, we had an opportunity to uncover what it really means to be a good leader and how to use it as a tool in the workforce by looking at different quotes that resonated with us. Personally, I related to a quote from John C. Maxwell that read, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In my own experience, I think that a leader should be responsible and have the strength of an achiever in order to work hard towards a goal or outcome. Yet, I also think it is incredibly important to mentor and have followers understand the same path to success to share the insight.

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Later in the day, all dressed up and eager to learn, we boarded a Port Authority Bus that took us downtown to Ernst and Young. The minute we walked through the doors of PPG, we were enthusiastically welcomed by EY. Over the course of just a few hours, I found a much deeper appreciation for accounting then I ever thought I would. They continually stressed the strength of their company culture, as a collaborative and team-driven environment that encourages disruptive conflict and problem solving with no consideration of failure, but rather how it will help them succeed as a firm moving forward. As learned in class, they mentioned the importance of team leaders as mentors who guide and support discussion, no matter the experience level, to gain different perspectives. Interestingly, even when an employee chooses to leave the firm– and they do motivate entrepreneurs to run with their own ideas after using EY as a jump start to their career– they stay connected in an alumni network, showing just how strong the relationships become within the firm. Furthermore, the relationship with their clients is taken seriously and the communication, which occurs on a global level, makes them relatable and reliable. Even while sitting in their conference room today I could read the words of their tagline, “building a better working world.” Their activity with technology and robotics was another unique feature to the firm that they feel is not threatening jobs at all, but rather allowing for redeployment to higher level work.

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Personally, one of my strengths according to my StrengthsFinder assessment is to empathize with others. I am already beginning to respect the employees not only at EY but at firms willing to take risks and pursue more innovative methods. By studying different tools and theories that businesses employ in combination with real-life interactions with firms, I am already gaining a strong insight into how to have a growth mindset that anticipates and responds to change in a positive way. Being able to “pivot,” as they say, or use creativity to overcome challenges is an important aspect of any business in order to succeed in the long run. At EY, their advice was to try and understand IT or data analytics because of how useful it will become in the future with rapidly evolving technology that applies to so many fields, even for my personal interest in the healthcare industry, as I learned from a staff member who is working with UPMC currently on a project. Overall, I was very intrigued by the goals and drive of the firm and will make sure to get involved with them further with a solidification of my interest in accounting and finance.