Cool Careers in Money: Meet Staff Accountant Amaya Whitmore

By Arkansas Next on Friday, April 5, 2024


When Amaya Whitmore started college at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, she enrolled as a nursing major. She soon realized that career wasn’t for her and decided to explore a field she was familiar with—accounting. Amaya has always excelled in math courses and she’s had exposure to applying numbers in the real world through her mom, a chief fiscal officer. 

“I have worked since I was 14 years old,” Amaya said. “I learned from a very early age that money was important and how to budget it. I have always loved numbers and math, so all of the factors combined really led me to choose accounting as my career path.”

Amaya wants to break the stereotype that accountants just sit behind a desk and crunch numbers. Not only does she have to continue her education by keeping up with the latest auditor laws and regulations in Arkansas, but she also gets to travel for work. Her day-to-day responsibilities look different depending on the time of year, but she spends most of her time preparing work papers and readying Dillard’s tax returns. 

“One thing I want middle and high school students to understand about banking, finance, or accounting careers is that there are so many different routes you can take under those categories,” Amaya said. “Even within accounting, there is general accounting, tax, audit, forensic accounting, and so much more. With a degree in something like accounting … you will always have a job, there are going to be new opportunities constantly, and ways for you to grow.”

Outside her job, Amaya is pursuing a Master’s in Accountancy at the University of Central Arkansas and is studying for the Certified Public Accountant Exam so she can earn her CPA license. 

“Accounting has been around for many generations,” Amaya said. “I hope more students consider a job like mine to keep it interesting and allow the younger generation to become more involved and have important roles in this field.”

What to expect on payday:

 $62,260 - Median salary for accountants in Arkansas* reports Arkansas salaries as high as $121,142, with the majority of CPA salaries Ranging from $62,000 to $85,200.

Sources: *

"I think It's important for people going into this field to value money and learn how to take care of their own finances."- Amaya Whitmore

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business Administration
  • CPA Licensure (requires 30 hours in upper level accounting courses and 20 hours in business-related, non-accountancy courses)
  • Auditor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Bookkeeper
  • Treasurers and Controllers
  • you often help your friends with homework.
  • you're organized.
  • you like spreadsheets.
  • you'll keep looking until you find the answer.
  • your comfort zone is more low-key, not the center of attention.