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Career Spotlight: Mike Uong

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Career Spotlight: Mike Uong

Mike is an audit manager at CBM and has 13 years of public accounting experience with general audits, pension audits and tax preparation. He specializes in not-for-profit work. Currently, Mike is working for his Certified Fraud Examiner credential and conducts Certified Nonprofit Accounting Program training for the CBM staff.

What do you enjoy most about working at CBM?

If I can only choose one I would say I enjoy the variety of work. Believe it or not accounting doesn’t get boring, especially with the nature of where we work in the DC area. It’s a hub for not-for-profits. But if I get to choose a second reason why I enjoy working at CBM, it’s the people. The older I get the more I stay in touch with former employees. Do you like the people? Do you like the environment? Those are important questions to think about when joining a company.

What led you to CBM?

I came to CBM straight out of college. I grew up in a pretty cynical family with immigrant parents who didn’t believe much in charities. I was always taught to help others, but my parents would close the door on charities asking for donations saying the money would just go toward fancy parties and high salaries. When I found CBM I liked the focus on not-for-profits, and it was a great opportunity to use my accounting experience to figure out the truth about these organizations. I have been happy to find that there are a lot of not-for-profits that do good, honest work.

What advice would you give to aspiring CPAs?

See as much as you can and then figure it out from there. While in college, make sure your coursework hits a variety of different topics so you can get comfortable and expand your knowledge. Try different aspects of accounting not only tax or audit but also not-for-profit work, for-profit work, consulting and reviews. On the CPA exam there were questions about topics I never thought I would experience first-hand such as government entities and federal regulations, not just tax. There are a range of opportunities here though, so it’s important to have background in different areas.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Most of my free time is dedicated to my 11 month old daughter, but aside from that I enjoy travelling and playing ice hockey. I’m a big Caps fan. I’ve also been to two Star Wars conventions and toured the Harry Potter studio in London.

What is something your coworkers would be surprised to learn about you?

When I was in college, I took enough courses to minor in religion, philosophy and classical myth. It was nice to get away from business and numbers, see the world from another point of view and expand my horizons.

If you could retire now, and money wasn’t a concern, what would you do with your free time?

It’s a toss up between travelling and teaching. I grew up wanting to be a teacher but was told they don’t make enough money. I instruct knowledge sharing courses and CNAP training. I just want to spread knowledge.

What is your favorite quote or motto?

Always try to do better. No one expects you to be perfect the first time, it’s just important to grow and always try to improve.

One word to describe yourself?

Thoughtful.

Who is or has been a mentor to you?

Easy. Dan Weaver has been a great mentor to me. When I started as a staff accountant he took me under his wing. He’s been working with me the whole time I’ve been here.

What is something on your bucket list?

It was to see the Stanley Cup, but I just crossed that off when I went to see it in Toronto.