WNDE Counts Three Professors Among Firm Staff

Three WNDE staff members, in addition to their full time duties at the firm, also serve as professors at local colleges. Two teach at Irvine Valley College, one at Chapman. KnowledgeApplied recently sat with the three, who discussed their work in the classroom.

Candace Huie is a tax partner with WNDE. She has a focus on closely held businesses and their owners. She is a graduate of Cal State University Fullerton, and began as an intern with the firm in 1990.

Since 2010, she has taught Business Income Tax and currently teaches Individual Income Tax at Irvine Valley College. Her two combined classes award students a CTEC certificate which allows them to prepare and sign returns in the State of California. Most in her classes are graduate students returning to school to get the additional units they need to take the CPA exam; some are professionals taking Continuing Professional Education (CPE) or people transitioning into accounting as a new career.

Candy loves teaching, and once considered becoming a teacher. Teaching at IVC gives her the chance to combine both accounting and teaching. She has also found her interaction with students rewarding.

She recalled the story of a young wife whose husband was serving in the military in Iraq. She had not been a good student, and taking Candy’s class was the first time she enjoyed school. She was earning a B, but opted to take a voluntary final to see if she could raise her grade to an A. She spoke to her husband on the phone, who offered encouragement. She got an A on her test, and became an accounting major. Candy said, “It is nice to make a difference, even just once.”

Candy draws material from her professional career at WNDE to keep her class interesting. She makes use of both current events and real-life examples. She observed, “It keeps the students engaged.”

Candy is grateful for the opportunity to teach, and plans to continue doing so, even after she retires from public accounting. She said, “Teaching has enhanced my life personally and professionally in many ways. I would recommend it!”

Lacy Willis is an audit & assurance department manager for WNDE. She has a wide variety of duties and serves clients of varying types and industries. She also obtained her Certified Fraud Examiner’s designation recently. She was introduced to WNDE by a professor in 2004, and was hired as an intern. She became a regular employee in 2005.

In 2008, she began teaching Introduction to Financial Accounting at Chapman University in Orange.

Most of the students she teaches are college freshman and sophomores. She said, “They are very driven, but also very green. Most dread my class. Accounting is not exactly the most popular subject!”

Lacy herself is a graduate of Chapman. In fact, taking the class as a student which she now teaches prompted her to switch her major to accounting. She enjoys being a part of the Chapman faculty, and the positive impact she has on her students. She remarked, “I really enjoy having the ability to open the students’ eyes to the world of accounting that they would likely never see otherwise. It is really rewarding to see them learning and taking an interest.”

And, she added, some, like her, opt to switch their major to accounting after taking her class. When she first began teaching, she had to spend time not only brushing up on concepts, but on how to most effectively communicate them to students. She explained, “It is difficult when you have done something for so long to remember how to explain it to someone who has no idea what you are talking about. The material itself is kind of second nature, so I constantly have to remind myself to slow down and really explain it.”

Deana Bowden is a senior audit manager at WNDE. She has worked for the firm for more than 10 years. She has also taught QuickBooks, an accounting software program, at Irvine Valley College since 2010. Her students include those studying for the CPA exam, preparing to transfer to a 4-year college or working on earning a certificate in accounting. She also has a few business professionals.

She said, “I wasn’t sure if teaching was for me, but [after taking the job teaching] I really ended up enjoying it.”

She continued, “Teaching QuickBooks is a lot like teaching a basic accounting class since you are going through all of the accounting cycles involved in running a business. It’s a nice feeling to be able to take a student through that process.”

She has enjoyed helping her students learn the material. She remarked, “I enjoy when the students come up and say they have a better understanding of how accounting applies to a business – and they have learned something.”

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