Bradley's Andrew Smith wins Ambassador Challenge

November 16, 2010

The number 86 now holds a special place in the heart of senior accounting major Andrew Smith. That total won him the Ambassador Challenge of 2009-2010.

The Ambassador Challenge is a competition hosted by the Illinois Certified Public Accountants (ICPA) Society. The goal of the contest is to see which ambassador can get the most people to sign up for or renew their ICPA memberships.

“I really had no idea that I’d win,” said Smith, Bradley University’s accountant ambassador.

The ICPA Society is a professional community of accountants that gives members the opportunity to participate in public service activities tailored to match the strengths of the profession. The society also provides ways for members to enhance their careers and urges them to get their certification as accountants by passing the CPA exam.

Smith prepared for the contest by sending emails, posting fliers, and visiting classrooms to talk about the value of being an ICPA member. 

“It’s important to get students aware of the Society and get them involved with other CPAs,” Smith said. “I thought that by promoting it, more students would become active members and get a leg up for their careers.”

Smith believes networking with other accountants is the most important benefit of ICPA Society membership.

“There are thousands of CPAs all across the state who are members of the society,” Smith said. “So by participating, you get to meet those different CPAs, who might actually lead you to a job.”

In fact, through networking with another ICPA member, Smith got an internship in Peoria with Clifton Gunderson, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and consulting firms, which he will be starting this spring.  

Smith said the Ambassador Challenge gave him experience outside his typical accounting curriculum.

“I learned how to plan different events,” Smith said. “Things never go as planned. You have to plan for the best and prepare for the worst.”