Date of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Economics and Finance


Usually the big question among accounting students is whether to work in tax or audit. However, there is a third option. Accounting students may find a career in private accounting a better fit for them. This thesis is designed to discuss the aspects of both private and public accounting, and the opportunities available in each field. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine which field of accounting will provide a student's desired lifestyle and will lead the student to his or her ultimate career goal. It was easier for me to decide which field I wanted to pursue after experiencing public and private accounting through internships. The fields of private and public accounting are vastly different. These fields have different education requirements, certifications, working environments, day-to-day schedules, and future career opportunities. In addition to these factors, recruiting for a public accounting firm requires extra involvement, including networking events, summer leadership programs, and internships. Looking back on my experiences through the recruiting process, I hope to provide useful tips for meeting professionals, as well as provide guidance on what to expect during a summer leadership experience and internship. As I was searching for private accounting opportunities, I noticed most positions required previous work experience. I found several opportunities while finishing school to gain the experience employers require once students graduate. I hope that sharing these potential opportunities will encourage students to take advantage of the work experiences available to them while they are still in school. I also hope to clarify, for future students, the requirements for the CMA and CPA certifications, and the value these certifications provide.

I enjoyed both my internship experiences and the opportunities they provided for me to learn about public and private accounting. I hope that by comparing the differences I noticed in these two fields, I can help future accounting students determine which field of accounting they want to pursue and identify the steps necessary for them to reach their ultimate career goals.

Included in

Business Commons



Faculty Mentor

Chad Simon

Departmental Honors Advisor

Shannon Peterson