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March 23, 2021

Life by the Numbers

The drive, discipline, and determination of Juan Vigoya-Astroz ’20 is off the charts. A native of Colombia, Juan moved to Greensboro with his family at age 4 and has been here ever since.

“Accounting is so versatile, and there are many options. I truly believe accounting is the language of business. Even if you don’t want to be a tax accountant, auditor, or general accountant for a company, even a minor in Accounting would be useful."

Juan Vigoya-Astroz ’20
Guilford College Accounting Major, CTIS Minor

Juan has long been attracted to numbers and finances thanks to his parents’ business-owner mindsets. However, he didn’t realize what accounting really was until he took his first course as a high-school senior. “Accounting came easy to me, and the numbers always meant something,” he says. 

His excellent grades, hard work, and ambition, earned him a variety of scholarships, including a prestigious one from the N.C. Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCAPA). It’s designed to attract and support future Certified Public Accountants. Juan won it in 2018 and 2019. In addition, he was invited to attend the N.C. State University/NCAPA Student Leadership Conference in 2019.

With these and the scholarships that Guilford awarded him, he was destined to attend the college, which he appreciates for a number of reasons. “I came to Guilford predominately because of financial reasons. However, I was quickly loving the small class sizes. I believe having smaller class sizes allowed me to build better relationships with my professors and ask more questions than I would have in larger universities.” 

Ultimately, Juan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with a minor in Computing Technology and Information Systems and graduated in December 2020. He credits Professor Beth Parks with influencing his choice to major in Accounting at Guilford College instead of Business during a class he took with her in the spring semester of his first year.

Expanding His Resume

During his time at Guilford, Juan also participated in the Market Minds, Food Justice, and Outdoors clubs. He was also a site coordinator for the monthlong TaxHELP! Clinic, which is through the VITA program sponsored by the IRS. 

At the clinic, taxpayers with incomes lower than $56,000 can register with the program and have their tax return prepared for free. All volunteers are IRS-certified to prepare tax returns for the qualified taxpayers. Juan’s personable and detail-oriented nature served him well during the project.

“I was responsible for supervising student preparers as they interviewed clients about their incomes, deductions, and credits. I mentored the student preparers by guiding them toward the proper research materials and explaining intricate tax laws,” he says. “Once a return was finished I was responsible for reviewing returns and helping correct any errors. In addition, I, too, interviewed and prepared tax returns for clients.”

Juan currently has an internship with BDO, US LLP, where he works within the tax department. He’s working on tax compliance for inpatriates and expatriates who have to report U.S. and worldwide income. This summer, he’ll intern at RSM, US LLP within its tax department where he’ll likely work with corporations and partnerships. 

Extending His Education

This fall, Juan will attend N.C. State University’s Master’s of Accounting program with a full-ride scholarship as an academic fellow. During this time, he plans to take the CPA exam and become licensed. His goal is to work in a top public accounting firm helping major companies navigate intricate tax laws.

His advice to those interested in a similar career is, “I highly recommend students in Accounting to create a strong relationship with your professors. Research and ask questions about possible careers with your major. Learn about steps to become a CPA and ask an adviser.”

Juan also shared why accounting skills are so valuable. “Accounting is so versatile, and there are many options. I truly believe accounting is the language of business. Even if you don’t want to be a tax accountant, auditor, or general accountant for a company, even a minor in Accounting would be useful,” he said. “All companies care about finances. Understanding how a company makes money is extremely useful to seeing the big picture, regardless of your position!”

Are you interested in learning more about the Guilford College Accounting major? Schedule a chat or a visit with the Admission Team to learn more.