Young accountant calculates futureWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashly Bower’s life is adding up nicely. The accounting student at BGSU is set to graduate with her master’s in the summer. Afterward, she is considering law school so she will be better able to advise small businesses, her passion.
“I can take my knowledge and help other people. There are so many opportunities to share what I know. By choosing the tax track, I can work with small businesses that have great ideas, but do not know how to run a business.”
Bower, 23, will become a fourth- generation CPA. Her mother, Janet Bower, is a CPA, following in the footsteps of father, William Frederick Schmeltz, and grandfather, William Herman Schmeltz, one of the first CPAs in Ohio. William Frederick was dean of the College of Business Administration at BGSU.
Although Bower intends to leave the area for law school, possibly heading to The Ohio State University, she eventually wants to return to Northwest Ohio.
“Ashly is one of the most motivated, articulate, intelligent and responsible students that I have ever seen,” said Ken Snead, chairman of the department of accounting and management information systems at BGSU. “She was a student of mine in my cost-accounting class. It is a very rigorous and demanding class. She finished first.”
Bower graduated from BGSU in May, earning a bachelor’s in business administration with a specialization in accounting. She started her master’s in the fall, opting to specialize in taxes because of its ever-changing and challenging nature, she said.
Bower attended UT for its pharmacy program after graduating from Bowling Green High School in 2004. But after one semester, she realized it wasn’t the right fit for her. She returned to her roots.
“She is really good at researching tax questions and will bring back what she finds, and we will review it,” said mother Janet Bower, a partner at Schmeltz/Bower CPAs. “I think Ashly and I will work together someday; she has been helping me since she was in sixth grade.”
The young Bower is a student ambassador for the Ohio Society of CPAs. She speaks with students about accounting, dispelling myths and explaining what it takes to become a CPA. It’s not as math-intensive as most people think.
“People think we are bean counters,” Bower said. “We just don’t add up numbers; there is room for critical thinking.”
Bower is working on an article about environmental tax credits for buying energy efficient appliances and solar panels. Snead said when Bower researches, she covers all bases.
“I would not like to come up against Ashly Bower in an adversarial way,” he said, laughing. “She thinks outside of the box.”
Bower said it is more common for women to become accountants these days, although they often don’t take on leadership roles. When her mom graduated from BGSU in 1979, she was one of a few accounting students.
“I think we have come a long way,” she said, crediting “growing up around my mom — a powerful female who was business-oriented,” as a reason for her success.
Bower said studying accounting these days is exciting because of the many economic ups and downs. She said she believes the economy is near bottom.
“I understand that there are business cycles, and although it is painful now, things will get better.”
Bower said a lot of people end up losing money without the help of an accountant. Although it will cost initially, the long-term payouts are worth it, she said.
“I would like to be able to work with people who cannot afford to hire someone to come in whether a lawyer or an accountant,” Bower said. “My mom puts an emphasis on volunteering.”