www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Diomaris, please give us some background about yourself, your education and your work.
Diomaris Martinez: I’m from the New York City area and went to SUNY Albany where I received an undergraduate degree in accounting and a masters of accounting with a specialization in taxation. When I was at SUNY I was a tutor for a number of math and science-related classes, including accounting & statistics and was a member of the Beta Alpha Psi honorary society. I currently work in the Deloitte tax group focusing on real estate.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Why did you choose to major in accounting at SUNY Albany?
Diomaris Martinez: Going into college, I wanted to move away from home to have the responsibility to drive my own academic development. I decided to go to upstate NY where I could meet new people and experience life in the state capital. I chose SUNY Albany because of its strong reputation and rigorous accounting and business programs at both the undergrad and masters levels.
My high school experiences with Advanced Placement classes guided my choice to major in accounting. I enjoyed how in math, science and accounting courses you use technology and systems to answer questions by created spreadsheets and calculating formulas. In college, the accounting courses were more intensive and interesting. I ultimately chose to specialize in taxation after taking two courses (individual and corporate taxation). I found them really useful and interesting for my own life: Everyone needs to do their taxes!
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What parts of your education program were most and least helpful in preparing for your work?
Diomaris Martinez: One thing about working for a Big 4 accounting firm is that, early in your career, you get assigned to client teams depending on what’s available. For example, you might have focused on personal taxation in school but end up working on a real estate client when you graduate because that is what is available in your location at that specific time. Getting a broad experience in accounting systems, tax (personal and corporate), statistics, research and analytics at SUNY helped me adapt to the roles I found myself in at Deloitte. Performing research in my masters-level accounting courses was especially valuable for learning how to approach new and interesting projects at work.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working in tax at Deloitte?
Diomaris Martinez: I primarily work on one large international client. It is very complicated applying tax laws to major organizations with international perspectives, dynamic tax environments, changing structures of differing types of legal entities (i.e. partnerships, corporations). It’s rewarding to apply the technical and analytic skills I developed in school to complex work environments. I like performing research to find the applicable tax code for a relevant business action and using information systems to process data to find solutions for business problems.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding work project?
Diomaris Martinez: I ran a project from scratch to gather five years of historic data on individuals’ income contributions. Using this information, the international tax team was able to perform analysis that they couldn’t do before. It was great to know that my work was being actively used to make corrections to the process and improve ongoing operations. In an accounting role you provide input to setting practice and affect the way business is done.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Are there any educational services that you took advantage of and would recommend (i.e. school’s career placement office, study abroad program, internships, job training program, etc.)?
Diomaris Martinez: Participating in SUNY’s networking clubs, business/accounting honor society (Beta Alpha Psi) and tutoring/teaching program was a great way to make contacts and develop skills. It also helped that I took advantage on-campus recruiting and internships that were available through the school before I graduated. These types of resources are especially helpful when the economy is struggling.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Have you pursued any accounting or finance related certifications (CPA, CMA, CFA, etc.)? How did your education program and work fit into this pursuit?
Diomaris Martinez: I’m in the process of getting my CPA. Not only is getting certified required to be eligible for promotion in large accounting firms, for me, it has been rewarding from a learning perspective. Studying for the CPA exam can be a stressful process but it helps refresh topics and rules which you might otherwise forget. These topics will come up in your professional life; your clients will have questions outside of your specialty so it helps to have enough of an understanding to know how to find the answer. In that regard, the CPA exam isn’t something that you take and never see again and the certificate is not just a piece of paper.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What advice do you have for people who are in the process of choosing an accounting education program or job?
Diomaris Martinez: Take time early in your undergraduate years to plan out your professional development. Since getting an internship and certification makes such a big difference in your career, figure out how you can fulfill the requirements early: For example, use a masters degree to get the 150 credits required for the CPA (then you only need to get one year of experience to complete the requirements) and try to take parts of the CPA exam when you’re still in school. While it is possible to fulfill the CPA requirements once you are working, it becomes more difficult as your professional and personal responsibilities start growing. By finishing the requirements for the CPA early you can have more time & flexibility to focus on your career progression and development when you start working.