What is Accounting?

Accounting provides the means for organizing, summarizing and interpreting information about economic activities that is used by managers, leaders, analysts, and investors. Accountants play a critical and ever-changing role in this process by serving as providers of relevant information to decision makers and acting as advisors in its interpretation. Accountants are needed within business organizations to provide information to business managers and to control business operations. Accountants also work independently of businesses as public accountants providing management services, taxation advice and independent audit services that lend credibility to financial and other information.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting

The accounting major provides students with the education to prepare them for careers in industrial, managerial, or governmental accounting. The undergraduate degree also provides the foundation for further study necessary to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Accounting, by its nature, operates across the whole spectrum of the business world. Therefore, great emphasis is placed on conceptual knowledge. Students must not only know the tools of accounting and communication of information, but also understand why the information is needed and in what form. Accountants need to be computer literate and also know how to communicate information to a broad range of users in an understandable manner. Computer skills and communication skills are an important part of the accounting degree.

In addition to the major in accounting, an option exists for students to obtain a degree in accounting with a related information system (IS) emphasis as well. As businesses increasingly rely on information systems technology for their information needs, this blending of accounting and computer information systems knowledge is a highly desirable combination.

Master of Accountancy Degree

Students completing the College of Business’ Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program develop strong technical and accounting skills and are exposed to state-of-the-art tools and techniques in auditing, financial reporting, and taxation. The MAcc program emphasizes the skills needed to succeed in the business community, including teamwork, leadership, and the ability to communicate effectively. The MAcc program is flexible, and accommodates students with bachelor degrees in any field.

MAcc students may specialize in Financial Reporting/Auditing or Taxation. Students may also design their own areas of specialization to meet their specific academic goals. Students wishing to become Certified Public Accountants are attracted to the MAcc program since they can study for the degree while satisfying the 150 Hour requirements to sit for the professional certification examination.

Career opportunities in Accounting

An accounting education opens up an extremely diverse range of careers for students. Typical professions that our students embark on with their undergraduate degree as a basis are:

  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Tax attorney
  • Management accountant
  • Financial analyst
  • Internal auditor
  • Controller
  • Systems designer and analyst
  • FBI agent
  • Government financial officer
  • IRS agent
  • Tax accountant
  • Fraud investigator

Many senior executives progress through an accounting route to become leaders in industry, finance and government.

Public Accounting

Are you interested in pursuing your CPA license? Public accounting is the way the get there. The current CPA certification requirements have changed to include an experiential component. Each candidate must have 150 credit hours of education with 30 credits in accounting. They must also have 1000 hours of audit experience and have passed all four sections of the CPA exam. The 150 hour requirement must be completed to sit for the exam while the audit hours can be earned after. Most corporations do not have programs that will allow you to satisfy the audit component of the licensing process. That is why obtaining employment with a public accounting firm is essential. Public accounting firms work for a variety of companies ranging from the local convenience store to large corporations to government entities. There are four services that public firms offer: audit, tax, management, and financial. Depending on the size of the firm, not all of these services are offered. Firms also range in size from one employee with a CPA license to the large, national firms employing thousands of CPA’s. Below is a list of salaries and job positions. The salary data was provided by Robert Half International Inc. for 2006.

Corporate Accounting

Have you ever dreamed of running the financial operations of a multi-million dollar, publicly-traded company? Corporate accounting can be a challenging yet rewarding environment in which to work. Typically, accountants in corporate America earn more than there counterparts in public accounting. There are four different tracks you can travel on your way to the top accounting position: cost, general, tax, and internal audit. The salary range can vary substantially depending on the size of the corporation. Below is a list of salaries and job positions. The salary data was provided by Robert Half International Inc. for 2006.

A CPA certification and an advanced degree, such as, an MBA is generally required for positions above the Senior Accountant level.