George O. Short, Jr. Furman University Alumni

George O. Short, Jr. '54

Retired CPA

The CPA profession is the most trusted profession in the world.


Personal/Professional Journey

How did you find your way to where you are today? Share a little about your professional journey.

I found my way to where I am today by being fired from the first job I held after serving two years in the Army. I really do not recommend this method. However, for me, it worked. At high noon on March 8, 1958, having been employed less than a year by a CPA firm in Columbia, I was told my services were no longer needed. It may not have been that curt, but it sure sounded that way. It sent me back home, against my wishes, to a better future that awaited me there.

What motivations fueled your career path?

During my two years of active duty as a Counter Intelligence Agent, I was privileged to meet many wonderful people. One of these persons was the Placement Director of Auburn University. With his assistance,I had interviews and job offers with several companies. To my dismay, the economy had changed dramatically in just a few months. After what seemed to be an eternity (it was really only a month),I was offered a job. My first job after my stint in Columbia was a starting position with a small Greenville CPA firm where I had worked as a student at Furman. I grew up in Greenville. I went to Greenville High School. Mom and Dad lived in Greenville. I went to Furman in Greenville. I did not want to live in Greenville! I wanted my Masters and Juris Doctorate and I did not see that happening in my hometown.
Was there a catalyzing experience that shaped your career?

My plans to get additional degrees were not meant to be. My wife (also a Furman alum) and I had a one-year-old child to provide for, so we took the first job available. I passed the CPA exam in 1960 and reopened my own accounting practice I started while at Furman.

After many years and a successful career, my firm was merged with Cherry, Bekaert LLP CPAs in 1999. The firm is one of the largest certified public accounting firms in the nation then and now. God’s plan is always better!

Within the field

How have mentors impacted your professional development? How did you develop those relationships?

My decision to become a CPA was made in my tenth grade class in Greenville High School. The late William McMillan, CPA, spoke at one of a series of classes explaining different professions. His comment that resonated with me then and during my career was. “The CPA profession is the most trusted profession in the world.” While this statement may no longer hold true for the profession as a whole, it was a defining attribute for my practice and how we were able to find success.


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