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Darla Moore School of Business

Master of Accountancy alumna advances to staff accountant role

Moore School alumna Coker Hall (’19 MACC) has used the skills and knowledge that she gained from the Master of Accountancy program to attain a new role as staff accountant at Smith Sapp CPAs in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Before beginning her current position at Smith Sapp CPAs, Hall was a tax staffer at Elliott Davis. Hall interned with Smith Sapp CPAs as an undergraduate at Wofford College in 2017 and with Elliott Davis in 2018 while in the MACC program.

She said that through the internship program with both organizations, she was able to immerse herself into the companies’ culture and see if they were the right fit for her professionally.

“An internship is a great way to figure out what you may want to do or specialize in, because there is only so much you can learn sitting in a classroom, and real-world experience isn't one of them,” she said.

With her hiring in December 2020 by Smith Sapp CPAs, Hall made the transition into a staff accountant and now works on a variety of different tax engagements.

“I have prepared tax notice responses to taxing authorities and done research projects for managers on certain issues for clients,” Hall said. “I also work on month- and year-end accounting for clients and work to suit their needs.”

Hall credits not only her internships for preparing her for success after graduation but also the faculty at the Moore School. She said her professors always encouraged her to ask questions and equipped her with real-world problem solving and research skills that she utilizes on a daily basis in her new role.

“The accounting faculty did a remarkable job preparing me for my career,” she said. “I felt like I was ‘drinking from a fire hydrant,’ as [adjunct professor David Johnson] would say, the entire year with all of the information I was taught. But looking back, I was prepared for what was ahead. I felt more prepared for the Certified Public Accountant exams, which I was able to pass before starting my career, and I feel as though I know how to approach client situations that are given to me to research. The classes I took focused on real-world situations that may be extremely complicated, but I realized that I like solving problems, and tax is a great way to experience that every day.”

Since graduating from the MACC program in 2019, Hall said her degree has helped her excel in her accounting career. She said attending the Moore School helped her build an expansive network she will continue to develop.

“Not only do I have the degree from the Moore School, but I have the contacts of the students I worked alongside and the faculty I got a chance to get to know,” she said. “Those are the people that will help me in the future whether it be looking for a position at a different place or an opportunity to serve on a board. It's not just the place where you study and have class but also the people in the program.”

Hall said she is grateful for all of the challenges and opportunities that she experienced during her time in the Master of Accountancy program because they helped her grow into the professional that she is today.

“When I mention that I received my master’s degree from the Moore School, I feel like the people I am talking to know what to expect from me,” she said. “Their expectations are higher. My classes challenged me and helped me build a stronger work ethic that I know my employers will respect.”

As Hall begins her career at Smith Sapp CPAs, she said she looks forward to further applying her MACC skills in her new role.

“I know that wherever my career path leads, my degree will carry an additional sense of certainty, and I will always be proud of that,” she said.

-Claire McGrath

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