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The Penny Harvest: Accounting Skills Making a Difference

university of north carolina masters of accounting

Accounting skills are helping the kids in After-School All Stars in Columbus, Ohio, turn a profit for local charities…and helping the organization’s director of operations maximize resources.

Young students in Columbus, Ohio, are making a difference in their community, one penny at a time. By learning and applying basic business and accounting skills, the children in the After-School All-Stars program run a small venture — The Penny Harvest — selling lemonade near their school. They donate their profits to other local non-profit organizations.

At the same time, After-School All-Stars is making a difference in the lives of these kids, providing free daycare to families who could not otherwise afford it.

At the center of this organization is Allison Elia, the director of operations for the After-School All-Stars and a student at the University of North Carolina’s online Master of Accounting Program. Allison is putting her newly learned accounting skills and knowledge to work to help the nonprofit spend its grant funding efficiently to, in turn, maximize its impact for the children it serves.

Allison Elia explains how she put her new accounting skills and knowledge to work right away to help her organization make a bigger impact in the community.

Young students in Columbus, Ohio, are using accounting and business skills to make a difference in their community, one penny at a time.

Businesses thrive on the efficiency that accounting principles unlock and, as Elia notes, “At the end of the day, a non-profit is still a business.” Elia is a great example of a working-professional student who is making a difference in her community. She’s also using her accounting skills in a unique way to help her organization grow.

Accounting isn’t just for accountants

She’s not the only one. Many professionals who have earned Master’s degrees in accounting, or who hold CPA licenses, serve roles outside of the accounting field. While public accounting is a common early career choice, the options for those with deep accounting skills are vast.

Accounting is critical to any business, large and small. There are numerous career opportunities for accountants in an organization, from entry-level financial analysts and cost accountants to senior roles such as corporate treasurer, controller, chief accounting officer and chief financial officer.

Accountants are also represented in nearly every field. The No. 3 official at the FBI is a CPA who started his career in public accounting and then became an FBI agent. There are several CPAs serving in Congress. Accounting graduates serve critical roles at many companies, including entertainment businesses in Los Angeles, the biggest names in technology, and even small non-profit organizations.

More to the story

If you are interested in other ways where accountants make a difference, download our free whitepaper: “Four Unexpected Roles Where Accounting Counts“, which explores four scenarios that demonstrate how accounting expertise is applied in a unique way to make an extraordinary impact.

Want to make a difference?  Consider the #1-ranked online Master of Accounting degree from the University of North Carolina. With flexible schedules, evening courses delivered by world-class faculty, and a career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals, the program can give your career the boost it needs.