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Oxford Stories: UM Student Dedicated to Accounting Studies and Her Horse

 Photos by Sydney Nutt.
Photos by Sydney Nutt.

Accounting is known around campus as one of the hardest majors a student can choose. Students must be motivated, dedicated and committed to this area of study. They must have a love for accounting to become successful in this field, and Julie Roher is one of those people.

Roher feeds her horse, Sassy, a treat.
Roher feeds her horse, Sassy, a treat.

Roher, a senior accounting and finance minor, has dedicated countless hours to studying for tests and assignments to make sure she succeeds. She is currently in the last semester of her undergraduate career at Ole Miss and spent the beginning weeks of her semester interning in Dallas, Texas as an audit intern for Deloitte.

To obtain this highly sought-after position in a “Big Four” firm, she had to go through recruitment, where she attended countless meet-and-greets, socials and firm-sponsored events. Essentially, she had to sell herself to the firms, and they would choose who they wanted to invite for interviews and eventually hire.

Roher’s client’s office in Dallas, Texas.
Roher’s client’s office in Dallas, Texas.

Roher’s position at Deloitte was an audit intern, and in the audit department, employees usually work in the client’s office space. She worked with other interns in what is called the “audit room.”

“It’s a small space that can fit about six people, four people comfortably,” Roher said. “I would say it’s a little more traditional. Probably, (it’s) what you would expect an accountant’s workspace to look like.”

Roher’s time as an audit intern was challenging. She worked many hours, especially during the busy season, but she was paid time-and-a-half for overtime.

“During the busy season, I was working from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night,” Roher said. “I can’t say it was terrible, but it was not exactly ideal.”

Roher at work at her client’s office in Dallas, Texas.
Roher at work at her client’s office in Dallas, Texas.

Roher is no stranger to hard work as she has spent countless all-nighters and many hours studying for her accounting classes throughout her time at Ole Miss. One person that can attest to Roher’s dedication to her studies is Kelsey Sanders, Roher’s roommate for the past three years.

“While getting to know Julie over the past few years, I can tell that she is a naturally driven person who gives 110 percent effort in everything she does,” Sanders said. “Her GPA and academic honors prove her dedication to school, which is far above the average college student.”

The work of an audit intern is varied throughout the day and depends on whatever the boss has assigned. Roher’s work included anything from “busy work to testing of very simple balance sheet/income statement accounts.”

There are many reasons Roher wants to be an accountant, but one of the main reasons is because this industry has job stability. There will always be a need for accountants, and few people actually have the necessary training for the job. Auditors also know everything there is about a company by looking at the financial statements.

Stables in Germantown, Tennessee.
Stables in Germantown, Tennessee.

“For example, if I were to work in an industry, I may only deal with cash or accounts receivable, but as an auditor, I am looking at all of the financial statement accounts,” Roher said. “I will know as much about that company as their CFO does, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

As for the long-term future, Roher is taking things day by day to see where she ends up. She has enjoyed working at Deloitte and can see herself working for them again in the future.

Short-term, Roher is set to attend grad school at Ole Miss in the fall and will work for her master’s of accountancy for the next year. “I enjoyed my internship, so I can see myself pursuing audit or public accounting in general,” she said. “As for the three-to-five-year projection that I typically get asked, that’s just something I’ll worry about when that time comes.”

Now that Roher is back at Ole Miss, when she is not busy studying for the accounting classes she is currently enrolled in, she can be found at Autumn Chase Farm in Memphis, Tennessee riding and training her horse, Sassy.

Roher’s passion for horses is recognized by everyone who knows her. It began at age four when her mom bought her a pony, and she has been hooked on horses ever since.

“Growing up, my best friend’s entire family were big horse people, owning six or seven horses, so I’d ride with her on the weekends,” Roher said. “When I was about seven years old, my mom suggested I start taking lessons of my own, and ever since then, I’ve been riding.”

Roher on her horse, Sassy, after her first round of jumps in Germantown, Tennessee.
Roher on her horse, Sassy, after her first round of jumps in Germantown, Tennessee.

Roher kept up with her riding throughout childhood and into high school, training and competing in horse shows as often as she could. Her barn was located 50 minutes from her home in Celina, Texas, which required devotion to travel there and back, while also balancing her school work and social life.

“Julie and I have been friends for a long time, and I know that she loves her horse and loves riding,” said Ashton Hose, one of Roher’s childhood friends. “She travels so far to the barn, and that just shows her dedication to the sport.”

While Roher decided to leave her beloved horse at home for the first three years of college to get acclimated to her new environment, her mom suggested that she bring her horse to Memphis for her senior year, and Roher was thrilled at the idea.

“A girl was leasing her from me, which means she was riding my horse and paying all the bills, so we didn’t have to pay anything,” Roher said. “But she stopped leasing my horse sometime around junior year, and we were just trying to figure out what to do with her. So my mom suggested I bring her. I found a barn, and now she’s here.”

Roher’s trunk contains all of her riding equipment
Roher’s trunk contains all of her riding equipment

Like in high school, trying to find a balance between school work and riding is tough, but Roher manages to make it work. Her horse needs a certain amount of training, so Roher must make sure she goes to the barn a few times a week.

“I just do whatever it takes to make it work,” Roher said. “Sometimes, I’ll stay up extra late one night if it means I get to go to the barn in the afternoon. Or if I’m too busy one day, I may skip the barn that day so I can get some schoolwork done. It’s about finding a good balance between the two.”

Like in her school work, Sanders can account for Julie’s dedication to her horse riding. It takes about an hour and a half for Roher to travel to her barn in Memphis, so taking the time in her day to travel that far shows how important horses are in her life.

“To Julie, riding horses is part of her identity,” Sanders said. “The activity gives her a genuine joy and allows her to forget about the stress of everything else going on in her life.”

Now that her internship with Deloitte is over, and she is back in Oxford, Roher is looking forward to graduation and knowing that she will have another year with her horse in Memphis, as she is attending grad school at Ole Miss in the fall. She will work to earn her master’s of accountancy and then move back to Texas, with her horse in tow.

Roher guides her horse, Sassy, to her stable after her jumps.
Roher guides her horse, Sassy, to her stable after her jumps.

sydney nutt

Sydney Nutt can be reached at sgnutt@go.olemiss.edu. Read her stories on OxfordStoriesLongform.Wordpress.org.
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