Student Spotlight - Jim Shear

Jim Shear - Learn and Earn SpotlightI came to BHCC in 2013 after 30 years in the printing industry. My goal was to transition to taxation, preferably with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

My first Learn and Earn internship was with BJ’s in Westborough where I gathered information for sales tax audits. This gave me a chance to experience the ground level of auditing from a corporate point of view. Up until now, I had only known about it through textbooks and classroom lectures. I also had the chance to actually do the searching and sorting of invoices for various state sales tax auditors.

I then interned at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in Chelsea and Boston. There I got exposure to all facets of taxation from personal taxes, sales taxes, business taxes, auditing and more. I discovered that taxation includes a vast array of issues and points of view. Not only must taxation include tax compliance, but practitioners, including the Dept. of Revenue, must be fair and reasonable. I made lots of contacts and really learned a lot.

At BHCC, I took courses in intermediate financial accounting, forensic accounting and excel, among others. When I have time, I enjoy reading mystery novels. I like to follow the detective work. Taxation allows me to do the same thing. Finding egregious misstatements and omissions is one aspect of taxation. It allows me to do detective work, utilizing my knowledge of accounting, taxation and business processes.

Learn and Earn gave me the opportunity to see if the career path I had chosen was all that I thought it would be in practice. I got to actually see what it was like to do the job and see if I liked doing it. I discovered that there are parts of taxation that I will eschew and others that I found fascinating and will pursue. I got lots of experience and exposure that I will continue to build on for the rest of my career.

If you’re wondering what it would be like to work in your chosen career, Learn and Earn is a great way to try it out and meet some great people along the way. Remember, they know you’re a student. They’re not looking for CEO’s.