Featured ACAT Spotlight: Nicholas Scorzafava

 My name is Nicholas A. Scorzafava. I am an ABA and I live in Norcross, GA. I currently am employed at the NCR Corporation.

I firmly believe that having my credential has not only kept me employed during recessions, but has also made me a more trusted employee within [my] company. As an example, if I compete with another individual who only has a 4 year degree, then my credential makes me stand out because I can say that I am accredited.

ACAT credential holder since 2007

Why did you initially decide to earn an ACAT credential?
I was 30 years old before I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life, and it took me an additional 4 years to act on it.  I knew that a college education was what I wanted and I knew it would take me a long time to get it, so I began my academic career at Gwinnett Technical College.  It was here that the accounting department heads introduced me to ACAT.  I realized at this time that I was working for a company that valued 4 year degrees and if I were going to compete with these individuals then I would have to give myself something that most of them did not have: a credential.

How did you promote your ACAT credentials?
Once I started using my credential, the question that was repeatedly asked was “What does ABA stand for?”  This was my opportunity to have a discussion about the credential and what it means to be accredited.  I would explain that it would take a formal education as well as testing in the field of accountancy and taxation to achieve the credential, but it order to keep using it I would have to continue my education and stay up to date on all U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.  Once I explained the specifics of having and keeping a credential, then it became a discussion point of how I could assist someone with a query.

What was your biggest challenge in overcoming their preconceived ideas on what an accountant is?
I guess the biggest misconception is the stereotype of what an accountant is.  More often than not, the image is of a miserly person hunched over a desk with scrawny fingers counting money.  I can honestly tell you that I am the antithesis of that figure.  I still laugh at a comment provided by a co-worker many years ago when I first stated that I was going back to school to become an accountant – she said, “You’re too funny to be an accountant!”

What's one piece of advice you'd give someone just starting out:
This is such a generic question in terms that it suggests accounting is a small occupation.  It’s actually quite large and intricate.  From general accounting to taxation to cost accounting to non-profit, etc…  If anyone is starting out and really wants to be an accountant I would tell them to find their niche, but be prepared to change.  Accounting is not a static profession, it changes often and so will you.  

Describe your most interesting accounting or tax moment in 10 words or less:
In regards to a merger, but before the systems are combined:  “How am I going to transfer this inventory over there?” 

After the numbers are crunched what do you do to unwind?
More often than not, you can find me tinkering around in the yard.  After sitting behind a desk all day, the only thing I want to do is be outside.  

Favorite IRS Publication:
For me personally, it is Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts.  Every time I turn on the news there is some disaster that befalls an individual and they lose their home.  It’s nice to know that there are provisions in the tax code that can help people after such an event.