Mathematics Alumni in Accounting/Tax Services

Julie M. Brownell, CPA '02

julie brownell

I am currently the Assistant Controller for Newburg & Company, LLP, a CPA firm in Waltham, MA. We provide full accounting services; corporate and individual tax return prep, audits, and consulting. Basically, I run the accounting for a 25 person CPA firm. I take care of the books, prepare the financial statements, run payroll, and take care of a lot of the HR stuff (health insurance, etc.) I do some billable accounting work for clients, as we have several clients that we do work for in-house. I kind of get the best of both worlds of accounting, because while usually my position would be considered private accounting, I do work for a public CPA firm, so I still get to work with various clients, and do some consulting work with QuickBooks; and while I do have extended hours during tax season, I don’t have the stress of doing tax work.

I received my CPA in May 2010, and am now licensed in New York State. I took classes at SUNY Albany, Business Law at Hudson Valley Community College, and met my finance requirements online at Empire State College. I had to go to different places based on what was offered when. They require 120 semester hours with a certain number of credits for core accounting classes, business, and economics. A minimum of 150 semester hours are required to sit for the exam, and you may have to have a degree in an approved course in order to apply. This is all for NYS of course, but I think MA has the 150 hour rule as well.

My mathematics degree has helped me a lot, especially in the areas of problem solving and organization. Accounting is mostly plusses and minuses, and just like when solving an equation, everything has to balance. A minus/plus on one side has to have a minus/plus on the other. This knowledge has helped me a lot in understanding how a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows are related.

Patti Bodkin Martucci '04

pattie bodkinI'm working as the Accounting Supervisor at HarborOne Credit Union where I use my math analytical skills almost daily. I've found myself using them in problem-solving approaches to finding discrepancies or recognizing trends in expenses.

I have always had a "knack" for numbers. When I was younger my parents bought me a game called "Smath," which was essentially Scrabble with numerical equations instead of words. Friends will tease about how easily I remember phone numbers and birth dates and recognize license plates, but it all comes from my love for numbers.

After my first two semesters at Saint Michael's, I recognized that majoring in Math was the right decision for me. Around that same time I took an Intro to Business course and really liked the accounting portion of the class. The following summer I was fortunate to get a seasonal job in the accounting department of a local bank. Since I was only working for the summer, I covered for almost everyone in the department, which enabled me to understand how the department functioned. My experience there led me to minoring in Accounting at Saint Michael's, which, to this day, continues to complement the technical and analytical skills I learned in my advanced math classes at the college.

As part of my career growth, I have decided to further my education by pursuing a Master's in Science of Management focused in Accounting. My math skills have given me a solid base to build from and this degree will better equip me to handle day-to-day decisions and to develop a more thorough knowledge of the business world.

See Patti's profile on the Mathematics Association of America Web site.

Karen P. Robinson '99

karen robinsonI am a Senior Tax Manager for BISYS Hedge Fund Services. BHFS as a whole provides financial services, including accounting, record keeping, shareholder servicing and tax consulting, to Hedge Funds and Investment Partnerships. Within the tax department, my responsibilities include: assisting clients with tax issues and planning, calculation and review of all applicable tax adjustments, preparation of tax allocations and IRS Forms 1065 and K-1s, development and review of new tax software applications and functionality, and managing and training our group of 20 individuals.

My experience at Saint Michael’s as a math major taught me to think analytically and to visualize a project by its many parts rather than as a whole; both of these mindsets have been key to my success as a tax consultant. Having the ability to think analytically is crucial when working within the tax profession. The logic and reasoning skills learned through mathematical problem solving have certainly added to my success and ability to work with our IT department developing new tax applications and functionality. My ability to communicate and work well within a team was also valued at Saint Michael's and has proven to be an indispensable trait in life as well as my career.