CPA Dish featuring Lauren Duncan

Serving up advice for those working towards a career as a CPA.

August 2023

Lauren Duncan

Lauren Duncan, CPA 
Tax Accountant

KyCPA member 

Why did you decide to become a CPA? If there was a defining moment, tell us about it.

In high school, I thought I wanted to become a high school math teacher because I enjoyed working with numbers and the challenge of advanced math. During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended the Kentucky Governor’s Scholar Program and my focus area for those six weeks was Accounting. We toured well-known Kentucky businesses and spoke to their accounting teams and also toured some Big Four public accounting offices. After seeing the real life application and what my career as an accountant could look like, I knew I wanted to study it in college and become a CPA. I also come from a family of accountants. My grandmother was a tax preparer and my mom is an internal auditor at a bank, so I knew that a degree in accounting could take me anywhere!

What is your favorite thing about your job?

In my current position as a Tax Accountant for Oxford Industries, I enjoy focusing on one business that I feel truly invested in. Our brands evoke happiness and I can feel that working with my team every day! My favorite time of year is tax compliance, because there’s just something fun about putting everything from the year on the final forms. I have also learned an immense amount about tax provision. It is exciting to be an integral part of the 10-K we release to investors each quarter!

What is your job like on a day-to-day basis?

Although I work remotely, I am not isolated at home with no communication. My team starts our day with a quick meeting to talk about our goals for the day and any questions we may have. I work on different projects depending on the time of year, which Is why I really enjoy my work, it’s not always the same! Since my focus is on income tax, I work on tax compliance, calculating estimated payments, tax research, tax provision, and many other things related to tax.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a CPA?

Work hard in college to truly learn as much as you can! There are many things you think you will not use again in the future, but you will! Also, start the CPA exam as soon as you can. All the things you studied in college is a great foundation for starting to study deeper for the exam. I was thankful I started taking the exam while I was in graduate school because I used those classes to boost me! I also highly recommend pursuing an internship in an area you think you will enjoy working in for your career. An internship can give you an idea of what work you enjoy, but can also often give you a jumpstart into a career!

What was your educational path?

I attended WKU and obtained both my Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Accounting. WKU has a great program called “JUMP” where you can work on your undergraduate and graduate degrees at the same time. The JUMP Program was a huge benefit to me and I will always be thankful for it. The MAcc Program was one of the biggest things that prepared me for the CPA exam. I would HIGHLY recommend WKU to any student interested in Accounting!

Where do you think the accounting industry is headed in the future?

Young professionals in the accounting industry have a unique opportunity ahead because we have the world at our fingertips! The COVID-19 pandemic allowed for many jobs that historically were only available in large cities, to be done remotely. There are not many jobs like mine at a corporate level in Bowling Green, but since I can work remotely I can apply for any job in the country! I work remotely for a company based in Atlanta, GA and I feel incredibly blessed with the opportunity to do so. I found my current job on LinkedIn, not knowing much about a full-time remote position, but I have since realized that this job is a perfect fit for me. I enjoy the compliance side of tax without a traditional busy season, but also get to see many other sides of the business. If it wasn’t for the opportunity to work remotely, I would likely not have found a career that incorporates the parts of tax that I love, while allowing for more of a work-life balance while I start my family.

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