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Life Doesn’t Always Go By the Numbers

Erin and Katie

Katie Ewton
Accounting
Expected Spring 2013 Graduate

Erin Nesheim
Accounting and Business Administration,
With an emphasis in Finance
Expected Spring 2013 Graduate

Serving people, honoring God, investing in the community — Katie Ewton and Erin Nesheim know what they want. And these two new SPU accounting graduates challenge the stereotype often associated with number crunchers. In fact, their people-centered perspectives on life may surprise you.

Ewton encourages a different way of looking at her work. “Yes, I enjoy the numbers side of accounting and the very analytical process of number crunching,” she says. “But for me, accounting is more people-focused than most would realize. I have a strong desire, a calling, to serve people. I feel I can do that working in the accounting field by helping people understand the regulations around tax accounting, and by helping them with their need for tax planning and with their tax preparations.”

Ewton put her beliefs to work last tax season by volunteering with United Way of King County’s free tax preparation. She said she found it both rewarding and eye-opening, giving her a glimpse into the economic challenges facing many families in our community.

But tax accounting was not her first chosen path. The rigorous challenge of the accounting recruiting process in her junior year helped her discover her real accounting passion.

“I had been applying for all audit positions,” she says, “and I thought I did all the right things leading up to the interviews. I had a good résumé. However, I did not receive a single offer. I admit I was pretty discouraged.”

Halfway through the recruitment process, however, she realized how much she was enjoying her taxation class. Her professors, her tax course, guest speakers she met at Beta Alpha Psi events, her mentor, an opportunity to network with a partner at Moss Adams, and so much support within the School of Business influenced her decision to make the change. After another round of interviews, she landed a tax internship position.

Meanwhile, graduation brings the excitement of knowing she has successfully completed her degree. Yet it also comes with the bittersweet feeling of leaving friends, faculty, and connections she has made at SPU. Even so, Katie is confident about being a positive force in the business community.

“I won’t ever get to a place in my life where I will be done learning,” she says, “but I leave SBGE knowing another way of doing business. I can make a difference in whatever role I find myself.”

One other thing: Ewton had always dreamed of working in one of Seattle’s skyscrapers. Her dream comes true next January when she starts her career with Moss Adams on the 28th floor of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Seattle. Way to go, Katie!

***

Class of 2013 graduate Erin Nesheim also knows about changing direction. She had originally majored in business administration, with concentrations in management and finance. So why did she drop the management concentration and take on the challenge of the second major of accounting?

“Once I got into the program and into the initial required accounting courses,” she explains, “I realized that accounting was definitely a better fit for me. One of my strengths is attention to detail. I liked the technical and detail-oriented aspects of accounting.”

Throughout the process, Ross Stewart provided a major influence. “He was so encouraging and supportive in my choice to be an accounting major,” she says. “He is welcoming, hilarious, genuine, and very intelligent. I am so thankful to have gotten to be one of his accounting students.”

Among Nesheim’s greatest challenges: accounting recruiting, which pushed her to learn more in areas of time management, professionalism, and networking. She says SBGE staff and professors helped her with resources, along with mentors from Moss Adams, the Center for Career and Calling, Beta Alpha Psi, networking events, and much more.

“I learned that when I really put my mind to something, my hard work can pay off,” she says. “I ended up having a very successful internship experience.”

In the end. Nesheim says her time at SPU has helped her put things into perspective. Community service is a top priority. “And the biggest take-away message,” she says, “is to seek God and to honor him in all that I do. Additionally, I will always carry within me the call of leading by example, holding ethics in high regard, pursuing my passions in life, and developing in character and as a professional. One chapter of my life is almost over, and the next one just beginning. I can’t wait to see what life has in store.”

Her top choice on her list of desired employers? Moss Adams in Everett. She must have been their top choice, as well, because she begins her next chapter of life at Moss Adams in January 2014. Congratulations, Erin!

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