College of Business
College of Business Graduate Finds Niche in Accounting on Global Level
Coming to the U.S. from his hometown of Alta Gracia, located in Argentina’s State of Cordoba, Ramiro Urreta initially enrolled at another institution in the Southeast to play tennis and pursue his education, but was dissatisfied with the athletics and academics there. He knew a few Trojan tennis players and they encouraged him to look into Anderson University. It was there he found excellence on the court and in the classroom, where he was well-prepared to take on a rigorous graduate program at an institution in a neighboring state where he was recognized with their Outstanding Graduate award. He then landed a job at a major international accounting firm.
How did you come to Anderson?
I originally arrived at Anderson in 2015. I did my first year at a different institution, but I transferred into Anderson because the academics were better and the tennis scene was better. I was in Anderson thanks to a tennis scholarship.
I knew some of the guys who were on the team already. They were from Argentina and told me great things about Anderson… Actually one of the guys reached out to me and said “we have a spot open if you want to join us.” I said, “of course!”
Tell me about your current work
I have passed all sections and requirements to be a licensed CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in Georgia. I work in tax for a company named Deloitte, which is the biggest commercial service firm in the world. I work in the international tax department in Atlanta, Georgia. I specialize in private equity firms that are based in the U.S. but have investments abroad. Often they have U.S. investments, but they have investors that are foreign, so they need to do some special reporting for that. That’s what I work on on a daily basis.
What were some ways your Anderson University education has helped you in your career and in other ways?
I always said that academics were way stronger than I thought I was going to encounter. After going to Anderson, I went to (another university) for my master’s in accounting. In the beginning I was a little scared, but after leaving Anderson I was more than ready to take on that challenge.
Also being part of a team helped a lot. My coach was basically my first boss. Having to meet a schedule, show up for practice... It’s kind of like meeting deadlines and it sets you up for a working routine, especially being part of a sports team.
Any particular projects or assignments that stood out?
Something that helped me a lot was that I was actually the accounting tutor in Anderson for two years. I believe I was a good student at Anderson because I was a tutor and had to teach what I was learning. I would take a class a semester and the next semester become a tutor for it. That helped me a lot. That really helps solidify a lot of the concepts I was learning in the classroom. Honestly I really enjoyed helping other people.
Was the Center for Global Engagement helpful?
A hundred percent yes! I remember also for instance I didn’t know when I arrived we have a paper that authorizes us to be in the U.S. We’re supposed to sign it every single time we go home or you can get into trouble. Ann (Themistocleous) was sending emails towards the end of the semester that you have to get this signed. I was like I had no idea. I may still have been at the airport if it wasn’t for her. She was really hands-on. She was sending emails to keep us on track in terms of paperwork and visa status, keep us engaged on campus with different events, pizza parties, we’d watch the Super Bowl together—you name it.
She really helped get us into the community. International Students tend to stick together on campus because we’re afraid to relate with the rest of the students. Ann really emphasized that we should meet with everybody and she guided us through that, especially in the early days.
Do you still play tennis?
I do. Atlanta’s one of the biggest cities in the U.S. when it comes to tennis. I’m in a tennis league in Atlanta where actually my team managed to reach the playoffs in the highest division. In fact, there are three former Trojans in our team. We play some good tennis.
How did you become interested in accounting?
I knew I wanted to do something with business, either business administration or management. I liked marketing but never thought of myself as the creative kind of guy. I was more detail oriented. My first semester I took Accounting 101 with Terry Taylor. I had taken accounting classes in my high school in Argentina. We had three classes in accounting. So when I showed up in Mrs. Taylor’s class I said “okay, this sounds familiar.” It just clicked. I remember I aced the class. I did so well that I knew I wanted to do this. This is fun and I’m also good at it.
Describe your work with international accounting. How do you help your clients?
The biggest thing we do is their tax returns. A lot of times the clients come with their existing structure and they say, “these are our U.S. entities, these are our foreign entities, and these are our investors” Then we have to figure out which entities are going to file this form in the U.S. and what type of file requirements they have. We also have to advise on specific tax attributes each investor is probably going to be concerned about. This can vary a lot depending on whether they are an individual, corporation, trust, etc. That’s how we start with each client. Year over year, we developed relationships with them by helping them with their filings so when they have a new investment to set up, they come to us first.
At the end of the day, what brings you a sense of accomplishment?
I honestly think—and this is more general and not just for work—that people get satisfied when they’re good at something. When they do a good job, they get recognized for it, whether it’s accounting, teaching or playing tennis. That goes back to how I got into accounting because I knew I was good at it. I knew I was doing well in the tests. That made me feel good about myself. The same translates to work. When you do a good job and your client and your bosses recognize you for it, that brings you satisfaction, more than the money you get paid. You feel better at what you do.
What’s some advice you would give someone who is considering working in accounting or a related field?
To any student in general going through their degree, make the most out of it. Don’t skip classes because you’re a little tired. You’re paying for those classes, go to them. You’re paying for the library, go to the library. Just make the most out of it. Don’t hesitate to go to your teacher’s office and make an appointment. Ask them questions. There are no stupid questions. If you ask something when you are a sophomore, it is easier than asking when you’re a senior and they say, “well, we told you this two years ago.”
What advice would you give someone about studying in the United States and why they might consider Anderson University?
I would say, definitely go with Anderson because first of all, academics are great, the experience I had there was great, playing a sport was great. If you have a chance and the ability, definitely give it a shot. Also being part of a team is nice, kind of like being part of a small family, especially when you’re away from home and you might feel a bit lonely. Ann’s office (AU Center for Global Engagement) is part of a team. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel like you’re not that far away from home.