ShopTalk: Jessenia Heredia

Job title: Staff accountant

Company: Haskell & White LLP in Irvine

Telephone: (949) 450-6200

Residence: Anaheim

Age: 28

Salary range: $48,000 – $55,000

Describe your job: My primary role is to work closely with and assist senior accountants and management in the tax and audit departments. I am responsible for learning and implementing internal programs and tools. I prepare tax returns for different types of organizations.

Your background? Prior to launching a career in public accounting I worked for a Fortune 500 company for five years. I started as a warehouse clerk and was promoted to the administration/finance department where I got my first taste of accounting work. I was a natural at it, but knew I needed to arm myself with a solid education in accounting to advance my career. I earned a degree in business administration with emphasis in accounting from Cal State Fullerton. While at CSUF, I joined the Accounting Society, which allowed me to participate in activities with local Certified Public Accounting firms. Shortly after graduation I joined Haskell & White LLP.

Your typical day? My days are busy at the firm, so being organized and having a proactive attitude is important. Much of my time is focused on preparing tax returns and performing audits.

Best thing about the job? There are three things I love about my job: 1. My associates and managers. 2. The benefits at Haskell & White are outstanding, including flexible hours, paid gym membership and meal service for busy days, to name just a few. 3. Challenging assignments: I learn something new every day and am pushed to be the best accountant I can be, which is very rewarding.
Biggest challenge? Mastering the technical aspects of tax law for multiple industries.

How many hours a week do you work? 40 hours during slow season; 55-plus hours during tax season.

Advice for someone interested in a job like yours? Get involved in the industry as soon as you can. For students, join an on-campus accounting club and take internships whenever possible. For new accounting professionals, network with others in the industry.

What motivates you to do your best? Teamwork is a big motivator for me. I want to help the senior staff, management and partners to do the best job possible for every client.