MBS alumni and students connect at Accounting Firm Night

More than 20 representatives from eight accounting firms across the state joined the Maine Business School’s 2022 Accounting Firm Night in September. Seven of those representatives are graduates of the Maine Business School: Spencer Hathaway, ’13; Connor Smart, ’16; and Ian Lichtenberg, ’18 from Baker Newman Noyes; Ryan King, ’14 and Katherine Orne, ’20 from BerryDunn; Ryan Dawson, ’10 from Dawson and Souter, LLC; and Gage Palmer, ’21 from One River CPAs.

The event was held at the Buchanan Alumni House. David Barrett, CPA, Lecturer in Accounting, led a panel discussion with four representatives to kick off the event. “While we instructors talk about our own experiences in professional accounting, nothing beats giving the students the opportunity to meet with those currently working as CPAs,” Barrett says.

Students and firm representatives spent the second part of the event networking. The event is a casual introduction to the interview phase of the fall accounting recruitment sessions. Firms are currently gearing up for tax season. “This event is the first step for students to find a firm where they think they will fit in from a culture standpoint,” Barrett says.

The next step for these students is to get their application materials ready for October interviews. Firm representatives will be on campus from September 29 to October 6 to interview candidates for internships and jobs. This is all coordinated by UMaine’s Career Center.

Ryan Dawson, ’10, partner at Dawson and Souter, attended Accounting Firm Night for the first time this year. “From our perspective, we got to meet a lot of different students and tell them about our firm and what we specialize in,” Dawson says. “I was also very impressed by the students’ professionalism and all the good questions they were asking.”

Like many other MBS Accounting students, Dawson completed a fifth year of study to earn the 150 credit hours required to become a CPA. He started his career with Dawson, Smith, Purvis & Bassett, where his father was one of the founding partners. Dawson quickly learned that tax was his preference. He opened Dawson and Souter, LLC in the fall of 2020 with his colleague Bill Souter. “Tax season internships are so valuable for students because they get to see what public accounting is like before actually entering the workforce,” Dawson says. “Some may realize public accounting is not for them. Others may find they don’t like the size of the firm they interned with. But I guarantee everyone will feel better prepared when starting their first full-time accounting job.”