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E138: Public Accounting vs. Industry Accounting with Kaiser Permanente’s Okorie Ramsey

by Sean Boyce

VP of Sarbanes/Oxley at Kaiser Permanente and the VC of the American Institute of Certified Accountants Okorie Ramsey joins me to discuss the difference between public accounting and industry accounting, how public accounting and industry accounting build different skillsets and why it is so important to invest in networking and building relationships.

Okorie Ramsey has been a CPA for almost 15 years and is currently the Vice President of Sarbanes/Oxley at Kaiser Permanente and the Vice Chairman of the American Institute of Certified Accountants.
Okorie is a California Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from San Francisco State University (SFSU) and a Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Program Certificate from Harvard Business School.
Okorie serves on the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), as well as serving as Vice Chairman of the AICPA.
Okorie also represents the State of California as a council member of the AICPA, and is a Past President of the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) Board of Trustees for the Education Foundation, Past Chairman of the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) San Francisco Bay Area and a former adjunct professor for SFSU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Accounting Automation:
  • The difference between public accounting and industry accounting.
  • Characteristics that make people more suited to public or industry accounting.
  • What public accounting can do for you.
  • The six principles of leadership and how they apply to accounting.
  • Why you should invest in networking and building relationships.
  • How to build a network.
  • How to educate yourself on the benefits of tech within accounting.
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  • 5:38 – “In the beginning it’s really about learning, getting the fundamentals of becoming an expert in your trade.”
  • 8:33 – “If you and another person started at the exact same level you’re both coming out of college, the person who did a couple of years of public accounting may very well be the boss of the person who directly went into industry because of the types of experience that you get. Not always but that way you get a very broad range of experiences that help you to develop faster and grow. Now in industry, I think you do become much more of a subject matter expert and the value that you provide happens faster because of what you know and from working in that environment, so that’s why I’d say there’s some wins on both sides but clearly some pretty broad differences as well.”
  • 10:05 – “The person who likes a variety of projects, is someone who’s a fast learner, likes to work in dynamic environments that is someone who maybe starting in public accounting is a good environment, where you want to grow, where you don’t have a whole lot of experience but you have a good attitude, willing to grow and learn, keen to stretch yourself, looking for an opportunity to really advance with a clear path those are all things that I think public accounting can do for you.”


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