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Meet Angela Taylor - BA Accounting ‘13
Meet Angela Taylor - BA Accounting ‘13

Company: Reach CDC
Position: Accountant 

Going back to school at age 27, graduating from Portland State’s rigorous accounting program, and thriving in a profession she is passionate about: Angela Taylor, BA ‘13, has accomplished all of the above by tapping into her motivation. 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your experience as a transfer student? 

It was a challenge. The accounting program at Portland State is very rigorous, and I also had to navigate the culture shock of coming from a community college, where I was used to more handholding. 

I didn’t do great in the first accounting course I took, so I went to the professor, Elizabeth Almer, for advice. She recommended that I reduce my hours, take it slower, and try again the following year. I did exactly that, and it worked out. Succeeding in this course made me feel very optimistic and confident about the rest of the program. 

How did you first become interested in accounting? 

I decided to go back to school at age 27, after having dropped out of high school. As part of the process, I took a personality test to see what career path might be a fit for me. The results showed that I had strengths related to finance, and I thought I’d be good at accounting. 

How did you make the transition back to being a student? 

I started out at PCC for the prerequisites, then transferred to Portland State’s School of Business. I am the first in my immediate family to go to a university to earn a bachelor's degree. 

What do you think helped you be successful here? 

My motivation to succeed and to work smarter not harder. I have a real passion for accounting, and I wanted to set an example for my kids and show them what’s possible. And not just for them! I also think of people who may fear that it’s too late for them to get their college education and prove to them that you can absolutely go back to school in your late twenties and be successful. My son, who is now 13, tells me he wants to study engineering at PSU and that warms my heart. My daughter is 20 and is attending the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute and graduating in the summer.

How did your career evolve after graduation? 

I started as a payroll accountant for a couple of years. Then a friend at Reach CDC called me to let me know they had a job opening and thought that I would be perfect for the position. I made my pro and con list and decided that taking the position was an opportunity for me to grow in my career. 

What do your days look like now? 

Currently, I am the point of contact for payroll in the organization as well as implementing a new payroll system, and I also work on subsidiary accounting for the properties in our portfolio, which is a great element for me to add to my expertise. 

What skills that you learned in the accounting program do you find yourself applying in your job now? 

I  found that the most important skill I took away from my studies is critical thinking. I dissect, I ask questions, and I read between the lines which definitely helps me in my career now.

Do you have any advice for students considering the program? 

Yes, I’d recommend you learn to network and to build strong connections. I was part of Beta Alpha Psi, which was a great experience not only in my studies but networking with accounting firms with professional resumes and mock interviewing. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with some auditors who I met through that organization. I also stay in contact with other alumni, and they are all doing well in their careers, too. I am really proud to see them thrive. 

Click here to learn more about PSU's Accounting Program.