Calera High students go global

Published 3:46 pm Sunday, November 9, 2008

Students in Carol Chomicz’s accounting class at Calera High School got a lesson in the ever-changing global economy Nov. 7.

Misti Rasmussen, a certified public accountant with Kassouf and Company in Birmingham, discussed the impact of America’s global economy as part of the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants’ new statewide youth initiative. Thompson High School also participated in the initiative, which sought to reach 41 high schools in one day.

Rasmussen’s presentation, titled “Going Global,” was based on New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat.” The book analyzes the progress of globalization, especially in the early 21st century.

In her presentation, Rasmussen reviewed Friedman’s top ten “flatteners,” factors that have evened the global playing field. These flatteners include computing and communications technologies that are accessible to everyone at practically no cost.

Historic events also shaped globalization. According to Friedman’s book, the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 allowed people to join the economic mainstream for the first time.

“There’s been an enormous amount of progression that took place in a crazy short amount of time,” Rasmussen said. “We’re all connected now.”

Rasmussen cited Internet phenomenons such as Google and Facebook to make the presentation more relatable to students, who all raised their hands when asked if they visited those Web sites daily.

Rasmussen urged to students to acquire competitive skills due to the recent technology surge.

“Instead of competing with fellow Alabamians for jobs, you now have to compete with people around the world,” she said.

Rasmussen said today’s job seekers must be analytical, creative, self-disciplined and most importantly, flexible.

When asked about the dicey job climate, Rasmussen encouraged students to explore a career in accounting.

“Being a CPA is rock steady. It’s recession-proof,” she said. “I still got a job, I still got a raise and I still got two bonuses this year so I’m very grateful for that.”

The students were curious about a CPA’s average salary. While Rasmussen didn’t divulge her annual income, she did give a ballpark figure for accounting interns.

“We are paying our interns $24 per hour, which comes out to about $50,000 a year,” she said.

Rasmussen’s answer sparked chatter among the students. Following the presentation, some sought Rasmussen’s advice about a lucrative future as a CPA.